So the outrage is new, but policies claiming to prioritize Christians – and other minorities – are not.
What is deeply troubling is how often U.S. government aid overlooked the needs of these minority groups since 2014.
Last year, our government – for only the second time in history – formally declared an ongoing situation was a genocide. Secretary of State John Kerry explained that this genocide was one of religious persecution, saying: "The fact is that Daesh kills Christians because they are Christians; Yezidis because they are Yezidis; Shia because they are Shia." Those words should have triggered America's duty to help these targeted groups.
Instead, Christians – and other small communities targeted by ISIS' genocidal campaign – have often been last in line, not first, to get U.S. government assistance.
While the U.S. government and the United Nations have spent heavily on humanitarian relief in the wake of ISIS, the largest community of displaced Christians – in Erbil – has received no money from our government or from the UN, according to Archbishop Bashar Warda, who is caring for tens of thousands of those displaced there.
It is the same story for many Yazidis.
In Iraq last spring, I met Yazidi families living next to an open sewer in Ozal City. Except for "two kilograms of lamb" in 2014, they had received nothing from the U.S. government, and nothing from the UN. Only Iraqi Christians – themselves overlooked by these entities – had helped them.
Far from receiving priority, communities most at risk of disappearing have received nothing at all from our government.
The reason U.S. and UN officials gave in Iraq this past May for overlooking these groups was that their aid prioritized only individual needs. If someone was hungry, they got aid, but the fact that a group could disappear entirely was never even considered.
"Helping everyone" typically means aid is sent to major refugee camps, resulting in the de facto exclusion of minority communities, since they have been targeted by extremists within these camps, and thus avoid them. It effectively means many religious minorities receive no help.
That American government aid to these groups is long overdue has – until now – been a subject of bipartisan agreement, not controversy.
(Column continues below)
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The fact is that America's lack of response to religious minorities has allowed ISIS' program of eliminating these people from the region to continue.
While ISIS may applaud American inaction toward these communities over the past two years, neither the religious minorities in the Middle East, nor the judgment of history will do the same.
Giving preference does not mean helping only genocide survivors. But not giving them preference likely means they will soon be beyond help.
They could soon be completely eradicated.
Will anyone be outraged then?
This article was first posted February 17, 2017 on Morning Consultant.