While our country has problems with illegal immigration, Iraq has the exact opposite worry: legal emigration.

According to the New York Times, officials in Baghdad say during the last 10 months, some 1.85 million Iraqis have obtained passports. It is estimated that is a quarter of the total middle class of Iraq.

Our borders are porous because folks see the pot of gold at the bottom of America’s rainbow. Whereas Iraqi would like to escape the bombs, street wars, and utter chaos that has enveloped their country the last three years.

Last week’s issue of The Week reported that the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, when completed, will be the largest U.S. embassy in the world. Made up of 21 buildings with office space for 3,000 people, this $592 million, 104-acre edifice, makes it pretty clear the U.S. is not leaving Iraqi anytime soon.

Add it to the total cost and waste of the unnecessary war. I don’t think the average American is interested in the military bases and embassy their tax dollars build.

What people want to see is their sons and daughters, husbands, wives and fathers come home from the war. To hang around any longer will not honor those who have died and are crippled for life. To stay longer proves nothing but the whole thing has been one tragic mistake that all of Washington’s politicians and all the munitions factory CEOs should be called to account for.

For all those folks complaining about no good news being reported about Iraq, read this: Baghdad’s neighborhoods are sprouting up all kinds of ice cream shops. Rick Jervis reported in last weekend’s USA TODAY. Jervis writes a weekly status report for the paper called “Life in Iraq.”

Al-Mahdawi, who opened the Hassan ice cream shops last winter, says his best seller is a concoction of chocolate, pistachio and strawberry ice cream, with apple and banana slices, swirled with natural honey and topped with diced pistachio nuts served on a crispy waffle. All that priced at just over an American dollar.

I can’t help wondering what the first Abraham had for a treat as he trudged across those sands we now call Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia. No mention of ice cream in the Bible, but with all those nuts and fruits I am assured Sarah concocted him some luscious deserts.

Three of the world’s greatest religious expressions sprang from the simple faith of the one they call “Father Abraham.” I take what the Bible says about Abraham as fact. He was a man of great faith, but also a simple man with fears also. Remember the time he met up with the Egyptians and out of fear of them he told them the lovely Sarah was his sister, not his wife. I bet he got fewer fruity concoctions after that.

I can’t help wondering over these last 4,000 years how much blood has been spilt on the land between ancient Egypt and the shores of the Black and CaspianSeas. Much of it simply because the peoples were different. Being different frightens some or most of us humans.

Might be if ice cream could have been mixed in a little earlier the fears of folks might have made it a friendlier place. Or possibly my faith is too simple for the times.

Britt Towery is a retired Baptist missionary, who writes a weekly column for the Brownwood Bulletin in Brownwood, Texas.

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