January 29, 2005


Flashback to the 60's: A Sinking Sensation of Parallels Between Iraq and Vietnam: Nearly two years after the American invasion of Iraq, comparisons to the conflict in Vietnam are bubbling to the fore. (TODD S. PURDUM, 1/29/05, NY Times)

Bubbling? The Left and the far Right have been flogging the Vietnam analogy since around 9-12.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 29, 2005 10:17 AM

There are two great differences between Vietnam and Afghanistan-Iraq-Iran-Syria, one external, one domestic.

Most obviously, Communism has fallen, and there is no powerful Axis of Evil to stay our hand. Domestically, there is no need for a draft: cowardice is no longer is service of treason.

Posted by: Lou Gots at January 29, 2005 11:03 AM

Most MSM writers who make the comparison know nothing of the Vietnam War. Actually, they don't know a Hell of a lot about the Iraqi War either.

Posted by: Tom Wall at January 29, 2005 11:22 AM

Tom: Couldn't we just condense your insight to: Actually, they don't know much of anything.

Posted by: jd watson at January 29, 2005 11:50 AM

I am reminded of the rich irony that one of the most prominent Dem/Left/Anti-Bush organizations is named, of all things.... Move On.

If they keep Movin' On, they might just make it to 1970 one of these days.

Posted by: Andrew X at January 29, 2005 12:32 PM

We've lost. Get over it. All the right-wing keyboard bravery in the world isn't going to turn this disaster around.

The question is how much more blood Dubya will allow to flow before he faces facts. My guess - based on his callousness to the suffering of others and his complete detachment from reality - is "quite a lot." At the end of this thing, we'll have bled ourselves white for no reason, and certainly no gain. Our enemies are rejoicing.

Posted by: Ralph Dosser at January 29, 2005 4:11 PM

Ralph: I'm going to keep typing for freedom till the Islamofascists' have lost. Don't worry, though, I'll probably post next week, too.

Posted by: David Cohen at January 29, 2005 4:19 PM

Another big difference; In Iraq, we are on the side of the majority, and when we leave, they will forcefully convert the minority to a democratic way of thinking. Our betrayal of the South Vietnamese led to the murder of 300,000 US supporters. Leaving Iraq will result in the murder of 30,000 Sunni/Jihadi terrorists. I like it this way better.

Posted by: Pat H at January 29, 2005 5:21 PM

We've lots more blood and two billion more people to free.

Posted by: oj at January 29, 2005 5:56 PM

If Iraq ends well, we have a template for those 2 billion. By showing in Iraq that resistance is futile and assimilation inevitable, it should only get easier, and hopefully less bloody, for our forces.

Posted by: Pat H at January 29, 2005 6:26 PM

I'm curious about the techniques and dynamic of anti-Soviets in Afghanistan -- is it similar to anti-Americans in Iraq?

Posted by: LarryH at January 30, 2005 7:44 AM

Differences between Iraq and Vietnam:

1. There is no 'great power' serving as a supplier and ally for the Iraqi terrorists. The Soviets and the PRC both gave massive aid to the NVA and the Vietcong.

2. There is no 'George Washington' of Iraq that we are fighting against. Ho had legitimate claims of being the face of Vietnamese nationalism, having toiled in those vineyards for 60 years, even petitioning Woodrow Wilson to help his nation get free. Do the Kurds and Shia who are 85% of Iraqis want Saddam back? Does anyone, outside of American universities and the Conseil d'Europe, want a mass-murdering psychotic like Zarqawi in power? Revolutions need a head guy, a Washington, a Mao, a Lenin, a Khomeini to succeed. This one has none.

3. The overwhelming majority of Iraqis have opted for the electoral process. The Vietnamese never had that chance, having to settle for the gangster of the week club with losers like Ky, Diem and Thieu shoved into power.

4. The US did not enter the region as the replacement for a failed colonial empire. We took over for the failures of the French in Indochina. In Iraq, we are relieving them of a truly evil dictator. It is impossible for serious people on the Left to praise the Saddam regime, however much they may dislike America.

5. The enemies of America in Iraq are not unified. There are Sunni terrorists sponsored by Bin Laden and Saudi Arabia, there are Shia terrorists financed by Iran and there are Ba'athists who want Saddam back. All these groups hate each other with the same ferocity they hate us. The Vietnamese resistance to the Americans was unified.

Similarities between Iraq and Vietnam:

1. They're both Third World countries in Asia.

Posted by: Bart at January 30, 2005 5:00 PM


Techniques? No, they don't have uis to provide Stingers.

Dynamics? No. The mujahadeen were popular and were going to govern once the Soviets were driven out. The Baathists/al Qaedists are unpopular and can't show their faces to take over.

Posted by: oj at January 30, 2005 6:28 PM

The NYT article was just garbage. It stated with quotes from Teddy Kennedy and then cited a bunch of other opinions: "It is very much like a whale."

Not a fact or bit of strategic analysis in sight.

Bart add to your list that there is no jungle cover for a supply route like the Ho Chi Mihn trail.

And then we get people like Ralph who know it all. Hey Ralph, When did the first US Casualties occur in VietNam and when the last. where are we on that time scale.

Honestly. Folks have the attention span of water bugs.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at February 1, 2005 4:12 AM