Destruction of ancient Christian monestary a tragedy

The last time I was in Mosul, Iraq, I visited an ancient Christian monastery. At first glance it was not much to look at, a group of stone and mortar buildings and what was left of a wall, along with a plaque telling of the history of the ruins. After all it was 1,400 years old and preceded Islam. The monks who lived there in simple ascetic contemplation of God in the best of times had a hard life. At one point, their entire population was executed when they refused to convert to Islam at the order of the Sultan of Turkey. Yet the monastery lived on as other monks returned once the threat of death passed. This week I watched on Al-Jazeera news video of bulldozers, once paid for by US taxpayers as part of our aid program, level the site to the ground at the hands of the self-described Islamic Caliphate. We are all diminished by this act.

Vincent Foulk


Foulk has served as Deputy commander of 308th Civil Affairs Brigade in Iraq 2003; Senior Military Advisor to the Judicial System and Ministry of Justice in Iraq 2004; State Department Senior Consultant on Corruption in Iraq 2005-11; Senior Advisor on Corruption in Iraq for the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction 2011-12; Senior Advisor for the Department of Defense to the Afghan National Police Inspector General’s Office 2013-14