It is incorrect for Mr. Coyner to cast our military withdrawal from Iraq as “Obama’s Vietnam” and blame President Obama for the loss of “hard fought gains” or for vulnerabilities to foreign influences.
Iraq is a sovereign nation with the right to tell us to remove our military forces from their country and has done so under previously agreed terms. Our bribes of money, arms, training and infrastructure did not buy us the right to decide Iraq’s present or future. Our sacrifices did not motivate Iraqis to treat one another with the tolerance required for democracy to work. American values did not replace the tribal and religious loyalties that have prevailed in Iraq for centuries.
Our invasion of Iraq unleashed the sectarian strife that was held in check by its previous government resulting in 100,000 Iraqis dead and 3 million in exile. For this we expect the Iraqis to be grateful and protect our interests? Obama is not responsible for this situation, and those who are responsible will never accept it.
There are some common characteristics and lessons to learn from our wars in Iraq and Vietnam. Both were fought against people who were no threat to us. Each conflict was sold to the American public with deceitful information from our government and prolonged by false claims that continuing sacrifices were needed to justify previous ones. The bigger the mistake, the more our government offered deception in lieu of candor.
Yes, democracy could take hold in Iraq someday, and there is hope. America invaded Cuba in 1898, liberated it from Spanish colonial rule, built infrastructure and negotiated a naval base at Guantanamo Bay. Democracy may come to Cuba or Iraq but not on our terms.