The Differences Between Iraq and Vietnam
Alan Dowd of FrontPageMagazine.com posted an excellent article entitled “The Truth About Iraq and Vietnam”. In it, he questions whether Americans have the stomach or the stamina to attack at the roots of terrorism.
I think it’s safe to say for the most part, no, they can’t.
Nothing is perfect, and neither is the President. However, the President did try to prepare the American populace for a long war. He stated that “Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign unlike any other we have seen.” Additionally, he stated that “it is not possible to predict the scope and duration of these deployments [or] the actions necessary to counter the terrorist threat to the United States.”
If folks would have listened, it’s pretty clear this was not going to be a short conflict. Alas, the ‘feel good, I want it now’ folks, see the ghost of Vietnam in the Global War on Terror. The bad guys see it as the chance for victory.
So for those of you who can’t see the difference between Iraq and Vietnam, here’s some points to consider:
- Vietnam was an undeclared war. Iraq is not. Congress authorized the conflict, whether they’re flip flopping or not.
- Iraq is the US’ unfinished business. Vietnam was France’s.
- The loss of American life is considerably smaller.
- The US in not alone in Iraq.
- The military is all-volunteer. They knew what they were getting into when they signed on the dotted line. Military families are sacrificing in this war, but the American people are not. There is no draft. The American people have not been asked to sacrifice, and by some accounts that I have read and seen for myself, they don’t want to hear about it.
- Both Iraq and Vietnam represent local fronts in global wars – the War on Terror and the Cold War. As you may recall, Communism was the real threat that was “seeking it impose its absolute authority over the rest of the world.” Today’s War on Terror is a direct result of the hole that still exists in my skyline, but give credence to the many acts of terrorism that went unanswered for decades.
- US intervention in Iraq and Vietnam was the right thing to do. In Vietnam we know because of the carnage and bloodshed that occurred when we left, in Iraq because of what preceded America’s intervention.
Dowd’s final words, quoted from Robert Kaplan’s essay entitled “The American Interest”, are the most compelling;
“An inward looking America is prone to act passively or avert its gaze from dangers. Simply to never get involved anywhere, except in the smallest deployments or in the bigger ones without the absolute certainty of a clean victory, invites defeat by an abdication from the responsibility that comes with power.”