To the witches' brew of Muslim sectarian hatred and violence in Iraq, some US Marines are stirring the pot with a little evangelism of their own.
Guarding the entrance to Fallujah, they are handing out coins that ask "Where will you spend eternity?" on one side and provide the answer on the other, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16."
Complaints by local citizens have stirred a response from an American military spokesman: "Iraq is investigating a report that US military personnel in Fallujah handed out material that is religious and evangelical in nature. Local commanders are investigating since the military prohibits proselytizing any religion, faith or practices."
The coin controversy follows the uproar over a US sniper who used Islam's holy book for target practice earlier this month and was removed from the country after tribal leaders found a Quran with 14 bullet holes and graffiti on the pages.
All this is not helping allay fears in the Arab world that we are trying to bring something more than democracy to Iraq.