The U.S. Congress appears to want to keep U.S. forces in Iraq till the job is done, until "victory" is won. Of course, they have not defined what will constitute victory, except in shifting terms. The latest definition of victory might be the establishment of an elected government under the new Iraqi constitution. But how meaningful will the establishment of such a government actually be in historic terms? Will the entire process established by the U.S. in its administration of a government of Iraq by the U.S., for the U.S. and of the U.S. stand the test of time?
The former U.S.-installed government of the Republic of Vietnam certainly did not stand the test of time. Yes, the U.S. sent hundreds of thousands of soldiers to Vietnam once upon a time. And the U.S. helped institute a democracy in Vietnam with elected president who depended upon the U.S. for security much as the current elected Iraqi government does now. And the Vietnamese insurgency took hold and eventually ran the U.S. and its formidable military out of Vietnam, just as the Iraqi insurgents are in the process of doing.
The day will come when the entire sham of a democracy in Iraq favoring American interests will be done away with. The lives of the thousands of American soldiers that were lost in the process will have been shed in vain, just as the lives of the U.S. soldiers who died in Vietnam were shed in vain. The constitution will eventually be discarded. The day the American troops pull out is the day Iraq will begin to gain its sovereignty. Eventually, the military bases built by Americans for Americans will be empty of Americans. The Green Zone will be purged of the current pro-American Iraqi "leadership" and an exodus of Iraqi immigrants will head to the U.S. in exile as surely as the Vietnamese sent their exiles to the U.S.
If an Iraqi democracy is to exist and stand the test of time, it will not be because it was installed by America. An American-installed Iraqi democracy will continue to be a target of Iraqi insurgents until it is removed, and until America and its military vacates the Iraqi homeland.
The U.S. Congress has yet to figure this out. The U.S. Congress still seems to believe that America was on a moral quest in its invasion of Iraq, not in a strategic War of Aggression designed to control Iraq’s strategic resources and location in the Persian Gulf region. Congress is as myopic today as it was in the 1960’s and 1970’s when it funded the Vietnam tragedy. Congress hasn’t learned and probably cannot learn. There is too much money involved in the calculations of what to do next, and Congress is the tool of moneyed interests, not of moral interests.
America did not leave Vietnam until it had to. The cost of not leaving became greater than the cost of leaving. The cost of staying in Iraq keeps getting higher in terms of manpower, strategic military might, and in financial terms as well. The U.S. military/industrial/commercial complex is doing quite well financial from the Iraq misadventure, just as they did in Vietnam, but the American Republic is staggering under an unprecedented debt load and the lies of the U.S. government regarding Iraq are becoming better understood by the American public, as also eventually happened in the Vietnam era with the work of the Ellsberg et al. Ellsberg is still at work, and so is Cynthia McKinney and a few other true patriots.
The U.S. invasion of Iraq makes Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait look like a family spat of little international significance. Saddam Hussein himself will no doubt be killed at the behest of the Americans before they vacate Iraq. But Iraq will one day be free, and that means free from American intervention, not free because of it. The Vietnam experience teaches us this lesson very clearly.