The Shia, Sunnis and Kurds of Iraq are at each other’s throats again. Perhaps the wisest move would be to facilitate breaking Iraq up into three separate countries. The way it is today, we may have wasted the lives of 4,500 of our service men and women along with some trillions of dollars. Just look at the history of the place.

The Shiite Muslim majority in Iraq had long been subjugated by the minority Sunni Muslims. For the three decades Sunni rule was personified by that wonderful humanitarian Saddam Hussein. The Sunnis got the best jobs, got the spoils of the oil trade and virtually owned the army and the Iraqi government. Lots of Sunnis and Kurds too were murdered if they did not capitulate to Sunni dominance. We helped set up, we forced a “unity government” in Iraq, but the Shiites want to see justice done, murders solved and want their share of the economy. Sunnis for a couple of generations were brought up to believe that Iraq was theirs. To make things worse, Kurds are the largest ethnic group in the world without a country to call their own. They are Muslims but with their own customs, language and traditions. Saddam forced these groups to live together, albeit he did it through murder and torture.

What makes us think that we can resolve these long term vendettas? Our philosophy is that all people yearn to be free but do they really want to live with people responsible for killing their friends and family? Can hate taught all their lives just disappear in a flash in an election booth? Perhaps our best strategy would be to just split Iraq into three nations: Sunni, Shiite and Kurd. Split the land pro rated to population and split the oil profits pro rata for the next hundred years. Set up three democracies. Build two big and tall fences separating the three nascent nations and wait for a new generation to forgive and forget. Then, when the last fence has been completed, we send out troops home.

Would this work? Remember Czechoslovakia? Korea? They were split up peacefully. Terrorists still need to be eliminated and freedom encouraged but putting folks in their own nations will help the cause. As of today’s news, they are killing each other again.

Mark Neckameyer

retired finance executive