The human tragedy of Iraq continues every day. I see the headlines telling of bombs exploded, soldiers and civilians dead, but I only give them passing notice. I know that every story, while horrific for the loved ones of those killed, will be the same to me, so far removed from the events as I am.
But sometimes a story or an image breaks through. Above is the before and after picture of the al-Askari mosque, destroyed today in an attack that the American military is blaming on Al Qaeda. I won’t turn this into a political comment about what should be done in Iraq. But sometimes we need to be reminded: war doesn’t destroy only lives, though that is bad enough. It devours our culture, our history, our beauty. It tears apart friendships, breaks trust between neighbors, pervades with fear and anger every moment, big and small, that makes up our lives.
It may seem petty compared to the 3,000+ coalition soldiers and the tens of thousands of Iraqis who have already died in this war. But the al-Askari mosque was a symbol, of a religion, of a people, of a city. Now it represents only destruction and hate.