Just and Unjust Peace, by Daniel Philpott

Almost a decade after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, many Americans have become numb to the reports of continued violence in Iraq that are buried in the back pages of newspapers and are barely mentioned on the nightly news. But acts of sectarian violence in Iraq are still frequent and are increasingly large in scale.

On June 13, 2012, car bombings killed 93 Iraqis and wounded 300 others. On July 23, 2012, a series of coordinated attacks on Iraqi security forces and Shi‘ite Muslim communities killed 116 and wounded 299. Three weeks later, on August 12, 128 people were killed and 400 people were wounded in a single day of shootings and bombings in major cities in Iraq. Meanwhile, according to Amnesty International, more captured insurgents were executed by the Iraqi government in the first six months of 2012 than in all of 2011. In July alone, the Court of Cassation upheld the death sentences of 196 Iraqi citizens. The war in Iraq may be over, but one thing is clear: there is no peace.

The challenge of building a lasting peace in the aftermath of war and political violence is an age-old problem that continues to trouble us today. Across the globe—not only in Iraq but also in Bosnia, Rwanda, Kosovo, Ireland, Afghanistan, the West Bank, Somalia, Haiti, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Sudan, South Africa and dozens of other settings—people struggle daily to forge a peace that can overcome decades of politically and at times religiously motivated hatred and killing.