Iraq could be Obama’s Vietnam but it will never happen. The war mongers, including the same Senator McCain we hear from everyday and many others, pressured President Lyndon Johnson into escalating a war JFK started by supplying military advisors to Vietnam to defeat the evils of communism. There mantra was just a few more dollars, just a few more troops, just a few more bombings, and we will win, which meant we would keep evil communist out of power. I quote McCain, “We had it won”. The military was the prime drivers; they kept saying we could win if “they had more and more tanks, planes, and guns”. Meanwhile, the South Vietnam government officials had an interest in keeping the war going because they were scooping up hands full of American money but refused to cooperate in fighting communism. This is exactly where we are in today’s Afghanistan and Iraq, which President Obama has already proven he understands by stop listening to the warmongers and military advisor—remember, he fired Gen. McChrystal in 2009 and replace him with Gen Petraeus after the failed escalation. Remember the red line in Syria; the President chose peace over bombing. He will do the same again; peace over killing.
In Iraq, he has to contend with a sectarian leader installed by the ill-advised Bush administration, which for predictable religious reasons became a Shiite dictator over Kurds and Sunnis; thus, creating an impossible situation. The Bush advisors set up and election; therefore, believed they were installing a democracy—remember the proud depiction of purple fingers on every TV station is the US. It was a rigged election. It was the equivalent to the “mission accomplished” speech from the deck of an aircraft carrier after a fake landing. What could be a more “tough martial message” than the landing of a fighter plane piloted by a “war time” President of the United States against a background of a brass band and was all cheap theater? Now, Obama has to put up with the mess they created in the Middle East.
My prediction is that Obama recognizes that there a situation in Iraq where an acceptable long lasting solution is possible—it is not simple. First, Obama knows the Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the failed president of Iraq is a polarizing figure. He is an elected sectarian politician, who has lost the confidence of the Kurdish and Sunni Iraqi people. No matter how many guns, ships, and planes Obama send to him, he cannot heal the wounds Malaki has caused unless he opens his government to all religious groups—religious freedom. Remember Egypt. They elected a president, who did the same thing and the military overthrew him—the people wanted democracy; it is what is sweeping across the region that we call it the “Arab Spring”. That expression has a real and special meaning to our President, who is skillfully maneuvering, by diplomatic means, toward democracy for multiple countries at the same time—not just one country but many countries. It is the wholesale shift in government form in the entire Muslim world from Caliphates to democracies. He will pursue the same course in Iraq, which is my prediction.
He will force—with persuasion and not bombs—Maliki to establish religious freedom in Iraq, which Maliki will do because he is a politician without an army, thus vulnerable to losing power. He will have to set aside his sectarianism.
Yes, religious freedom matters even in an Islamic state, freedom must extend to all religions but especially warring minority sects. This is not easy to accomplish even in the United States where a large segment of our population wants Biblical law (See: Freedom of Religion and the Iraq War. Firetreepub.blogspot.com). The fever for American style democracy is strong in the Middle East among the people as shown by the Arab Spring movements; however, there are groups of radical Islamists one of which the current headline grabbing militants belonging; however, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are only a small faction. They are not even the well know al Queda of 9/11 fame. The estimates are that there are only about 7,000 ISIS but they are executing ex-soldiers and poliltians, robbing banks, imposing unwanted Islamic laws as exemplified by declaring that there is no longer religious freedom as if there was religious freedom under al-Maliki.
Remember Obama clearly stated that he would not help the Iraqi people unless they help themselves, which is exactly what the South Vietnamese did not want to do. Obama is a student of history. He knows and understands what the Vietnam trap that Lyndon Johnson fell into and he is not going there. He hears McCain and Lindsey Graham crying to bomb somebody. Apparently, they want to fall into the same old trap. He knows the American people are tired of war. He hears all of his critics calling him feckless and a coward and crying for him to do something—of course they never say what they want him to do—the only thing they know is American muscle. Obama is a real man; he does not need an AK47 to show he is tough nor does he have to fake-land a plane on a deck of an aircraft carrier or wear a flight suit to prove it.
The same thing will happen in Iraq that happened in the Ukraine; the problem will just fade out of the news; he will solve the problem to the benefit of “all the people” without war and without fanfare. No great and glorious declaration of “mission accomplished” will fill the airwaves. He is not forcing countries around the world to respect us out of fear as Reagan and George W. did. Without question, Obama is a man of peace and the greatest president we have ever had, which is why Republicans hate him. He is making their drum beating, martial music, un-ending drain on our economy by the Pentagon, and a call for the “dogs of war” look as foolish as they really are. Still, the GOP hate machine grinds on and on.
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