Iraq & Vietnam

In: Social Issues

Submitted By blaine
Words 3524
Pages 15
Events in Iraq have prompted some people on the left to make comparisons to the American experience in the Vietnam War. These people argue that the United States has put itself into an in-extractable “quagmire” from which there is no feasible withdrawal.
This type of reasoning by historical comparison is not wise because no two historical events are completely alike. In the case of Iraq and Vietnam, extreme caution should be exercised in comparing two wars so far apart in historical circumstances, geography, and time. It becomes pretty obvious that the differences between the two conflicts greatly outnumber the similarities. This is especially true in the strategic and military dimensions of the two wars. There is simply no comparison between the environment, the scale of military presence, losses incurred over time, the quality of enemy resistance, the role and scope of enemy allies, and the duration of open warfare style combat.
There are, however, two political parts of the Iraq and Vietnam wars that are similar in nature: our attempts at nation-building in a foreign culture, and our trying to sustaining domestic popular support in a long and drawn out war against insurgents. Policymakers should have an understanding of the reasons for U.S. political failure in South Vietnam, as well as for the Johnson and Nixon administrations’ failure to sustain popular support for the accomplishment of U.S. military objectives in Vietnam. A repeat of those failures in Iraq could have uncalculated consequences for U.S. foreign policy.
Many people on the far left who have questioned the U.S. invasion of Iraq now doubt the chances of creating a stable democracy in that country and have pulled the Vietnam card as a comparison. In their opinions, the United States has again fallen into a foreign quagmire, a drawn out, abstract, indecisive political and military struggle which…...

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