Iraq is the oldest civilization on earth. It has been blessed and cursed by the presence of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers and their tributaries. Regularly, these rivers would overflow their banks and leave behind a rich mud for successful agriculture. It attracted people who were nomadic tribes and now found a place to settle down.
Life was not easy for the settlers. With the spring came floods. For refuge, the settlers learned to make towers out of brick and mortar where they could survive until the waters settled.
The priesthood was annoyed. Once they offered solace to the inhabitants by appeals to the gods. So, the authors of Genesis explained that God came to Sumeria, where the Tigris and Euphrates came together to pour into the present Persian Gulf. He saw these towers and was enraged. Soon, these earth creatures would build ever higher and higher until they would enter His territory in the heavens. So, He put a curse on them. He created a babble of tongues so that nobody could understand what another spoke. The land they inhabited came to be called Babylon.
When after World War I, the British were granted a protectorate over Iraq, they discovered that the land was ungovernable, and they withdrew. In the next four years, there were seven new governments, each attained by a military coup. It was not until Saddam Hussein took power that a measure of order prevailed. His regime was secular with a complete separation of church and state.
With our removal of Hussein, Iraq returned to its tribal terrorism and chaos. We were not satisfied with the removal of Hussein. He was hanged in the public square. Why? He did not bring the chaos to Iraq. We did.
The great American philosopher George Santayana explained why all this madness has prevailed when he said, “Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.”