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Rep. Coffman Heartbroken Over Recent Violence In Iraq

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DENVER (CBS4) – Two more Iraqi cities were taken over Friday by Islamic extremists. This week they have quickly pushed the Iraqi army out of key areas the U.S. had fought to create democratic government.

What Americans fought 8 years to secure for the Iraqi government has been lost in a matter of days. The Sunni extremists have swept in from Syria, and are now are within 60 miles of the capital Baghdad.

Rep. Mike Coffman talks with CBS4's Rick Sallinger (credit: CBS)

Rep. Mike Coffman talks with CBS4’s Rick Sallinger (credit: CBS)

It was a familiar sight in Iraq — American Humvees — but now burning in the hands of Sunni extremists. They showed off their newly acquired U.S. weapons left behind by fleeing Iraqi troops. Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman served twice as a Marine in Iraq wars.

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger has made five trips to Iraq as a journalist and spoke to some who served who can’t help but feel bitterness about the recent developments.

“There’s no glue to hold the country together,” Coffman said.

Sallinger asked Coffman if the war was all for nothing.

“I hope not, we don’t know that yet, I think it’s too early to tell,” he responded.

Coffman resigned as Colorado state treasurer in 2005 to serve in Iraq. He says a lot of American lives were lost for gains now gone.

“To see them slip away so rapidly breaks my heart,” Coffman said.

In Washington President Barack Obama noted the enormous sacrifices made by Americans and is keeping options open.

“This poses a danger to Iraq and its people, and given nature of these terrorists, it could pose a threat to American interests as well,” Obama said.

A full-blown civil war now threatens to erupt as Shiite Muslims in the south get ready to take on the Sunni of what’s called Isis.

Arapahoe District Attorney George Brauchler served as chief of military justice in Sunni areas.

“Three years ago this Father’s Day i deployed to Tikrit, Iraq. We held it. Today it belongs to militants. #waste #GWO,” Brauchler said on his Twitter account.

“It’s heartbreaking. You know we had 64 Coloradans die in Iraq, many in the cities we just saw fall,” Brauchler told Sallinger.

What is happening now in Iraq brings back echoes of Vietnam and fears for the future of Afghanistan.

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