Fewer than half of all veterans of the post-9/11 military say America’s intervention in Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein was worth the cost, according to a new poll from the nonpartisan Pew Research Center.

In Iraq, Christians are suffering terrible persecution as al-Qaida has returned with a vengence, retaking key parts of the country.

The Pew survey shows 44 percent of U.S. veterans believe the Iraq War was worth the cost. On the other hand, 50 percent believe American sacrifices in Afghanistan were worthwhile.

A burned-out U.S. tank (photo courtesy U.S. Army)

A burned-out U.S. tank (photo courtesy U.S. Army)

Was the purpose of the Iraqi war to drive out al-Qaida? The Obama administration is being criticized after al-Qaida has overrun parts of Iraq, including the city of Fallujah, in which the United States secured major casualties before the president removed all U.S. forces. U.S. forces took Fallujah in 2004 after some of the bloodiest battles of the war. Fallujah became notorious when insurgents murdered four U.S. contractors and hung their mutilated bodies from an overpass.

Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham called al-Qaida’s victories “as tragic as they were predictable” and suggested Obama misled Americans into believing that Iraqi leaders wanted U.S. forces out of their country.

“While many Iraqis are responsible for this strategic disaster, the administration cannot escape its share of the blame,” the senators said in a joint statement. “When President Obama withdrew all U.S. forces … over the objections of our military leaders and commanders on the ground, many of us predicted that the vacuum would be filled by America’s enemies and would emerge as a threat to U.S. national security interests. Sadly, that reality is now clearer than ever.”

Was the intention of the war to secure oil for the United States? That accusation has been repeated frequently, but Iraq recently signed its first oil deal in 35 years with a foreign company.

“And – quite surprisingly to many observers – the company wasn’t one of ours,” reports Keith Fitz-Gerald, investment director for Money Morning. “Not surprisingly, the U.S. news media barely acknowledged the deal – even though the agreement was major news throughout the rest of the world. According to reports from Baghdad, the 22-year deal between the Iraqi government and the China National Petroleum Co. involves $55 billion, or 87 percent of Iraq’s current total revenue.

What is ahead for this Iraqi Christian child? (photo courtesy Open Doors International)

What is ahead for this Iraqi Christian child? (photo courtesy Open Doors International)

Iraq has held free elections and Iraqi’s mad tyrant Saddam Hussein was replaced with elected leaders, but can the Iraqi army hold onto the country? The al-Qaida fighters took over Fallujah after a bloody three-day battle, raising their flag over government buildings as a sign of victory, according to the Washington Post.

But if the purpose of the war was to establish religious freedom, it has been a terrible failure, writes Colin Freeman in the British daily The Telegraph. He reports that after a decade of war, Iraq’s Christians have dwindled from more than a million to as little as 200,000.

“As the last remaining Christian priest in the Baghdad suburb of Doura, Archdeacon Temathius Esha no longer just puts his trust in God’s all-seeing eye,” writes Freeman.

“Built into the wall of his vestry, amid pictures of Catholic saints, is a 16-screen closed-circuit TV monitor,

keeping watch on every corner of his church in case of possible attack.