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Why Iraq is not like Vietnam: A Primer for the Geopolitically Challenged
Human Events Online ^ | September 26, 2005 | Mac Johnson

Posted on 09/26/2005 7:05:15 AM PDT by bigsky

One of the many negative consequences of America’s defeat in The Vietnam War has been the uncontrolled proliferation of Vietnams since then.

Nicaragua threatened to become another Vietnam. Lebanon nearly became another Vietnam. Had Grenada been only slightly larger than a manhole cover and lasted one more hour, it would have become a Caribbean-Style Vietnam. The invasion of Panama was rapidly degenerating into a Narco-Vietnam, right up until we won. Likewise, the First Gulf War was certainly developing into another Vietnam, but then sadly, it ended quickly and with few casualties.

For people of a certain age or political stripe, Vietnam is like Elvis: it’s everywhere. For example, during a long wait at a Chinese Buffet in Georgetown in 1987, Ted Kennedy was reported to have exclaimed “QUAGMIRE!” and attempted to surrender to a Spanish-speaking busboy.

And that was probably the smart thing to do, because the lesson of Vietnam is: it is best to lose quickly, so as to avoid a quagmire. It could be argued that the real lesson of Vietnam is that it badly damages . . .

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Politics/Elections; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: arab; democrats; hagel; iraq; kurd; left; liberals; macjohnson; military; shiite; sunni; terror; terrorists; vietnam

1 posted on 09/26/2005 7:05:17 AM PDT by bigsky
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To: SLB; Squantos; Cannoneer No. 4; Darksheare

This is pretty good writing. Funny, but with a serious sharp edge.

2 posted on 09/26/2005 7:14:59 AM PDT by FreedomPoster (Guns themselves are fairly robust; their chief enemies are rust and politicians) (NRA)
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To: bigsky
I don't concede that we lost the war. It was a battle in the cold war, and without it, I don't know that we would be where we are today.
3 posted on 09/26/2005 7:45:30 AM PDT by IL Republican
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To: bigsky

There's one other difference: The American soldiers are mostly white and well educated volunteers: "The demographic study involved 1,841 service personnel who were killed and 12,658 who were wounded, as of May 28. Whites, who constitute 67 percent of the active-duty and reserve forces, accounted for 71 percent of the fatalities. Blacks are 17 percent of the overall force and were 9 percent of the fatalities. Hispanics are 9 percent of the force and were 10 percent of the fatalities."

Well as I can remember, I saw this today at the Worldnet site.

4 posted on 09/26/2005 7:48:31 AM PDT by RoadTest (Everone wants to talk; nobody wants to listen.)
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To: IL Republican

Exactly correct. In my view it was a tactical defeat but a strategic victory. It gave the developing democracies in the area time to flourish and it sapped enough energy from the Communists in Asia that their activities in most other countries were strongly diminished.</p>

Vietnam was painful, and wasn't a good place to pick a fight, but it was a victory - for us. Pity the Hmong and many others we left behind.

5 posted on 09/26/2005 8:07:30 AM PDT by bluetone006 (Peace - or I guess war if given no other option)
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To: bigsky

Viet Nam became "Viet Nam" when we allowed the enemy its safe havens, and then finally abandoned it to its fate. Iraq will become "Viet Nam" when we do the same. Syria and Iran have become safe havens for the enemy. If we refuse to deal with that fact, and if we walk away from it, we have created "Viet Nam" in the middle east where it didn't have to be.

Vietnamization of a conflict stems from a lack of political will. Don't give in to doubt; make the enemy give in to doubt. Make the enemy worry about its "exit plan". Make the enemy lose hope in any possibility of victory.

6 posted on 09/26/2005 8:32:16 AM PDT by marron
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To: marron

I agree. But I also submit that "VietNam" the noble undertaking became "VietNam" the "quagmire" because of Walter Cronkite. It was he who went to the US Embassy in Saigon in 1968 during Tet, showed dead VC sappers inside the compound to American TV viewers, and told us VietNam is "lost". Walter Cronkite - America's "Most Trusted" figure - undermined the military and set the stage for the loss of support and ultimately our "failure" there. Walter Cronkite "lost" that conflict for us.

7 posted on 09/26/2005 8:39:17 AM PDT by astounded (We don't need no stinkin' rules of engagement...)
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To: bigsky

There's is one big similarity between Vietnam and Iraq though: Both are utilizing a one-hand-tied-behind-the-back approach for political reasons.

That was wrong then, and its wrong now.

8 posted on 09/26/2005 8:46:13 AM PDT by Pessimist
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To: RoadTest
I spent one year in the central highlands of Afghanistan. Granted most of the people I was with on my security team were white. I think the only reason there are more white deaths is because white people hold the majority of the combat MOS's (jobs). I am a college student, and was before the war, I volunteered to go overseas. I lost and fiance and brother while I was gone. I returned home for neither funeral, it will engulf your life. I couldn't stand the thought of leaving my comrades. I could care less if Cindy Sheehan wants to protest the war, the war is definitely bad. For me its not about the war, its about the men, and she needs to respect those young men who give it all they got, every day. Then they have to come home to this. Gives me half a mind to go back.
9 posted on 09/26/2005 8:51:57 AM PDT by Outlaw6Delta (POW/MIA-Bring them home, Or send us back)
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To: bigsky
There was no oil in Vietnam.

Yeah, but there was all that "tungsten and tin" we were after, as Jane Fonda was telling us at the time!

"No blood for tungsten and tin!"

10 posted on 09/26/2005 10:08:31 AM PDT by SirJohnBarleycorn
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To: Outlaw6Delta

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your service to our country, and I look forward to further insightful posts here.


11 posted on 09/26/2005 3:16:46 PM PDT by reagandemocrat
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To: Outlaw6Delta

welcome to F.R. thanks for your service and a way killer tag line.

12 posted on 09/26/2005 3:56:31 PM PDT by 537cant be wrong (vampires stole my lunch money !)
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To: bigsky
For people of a certain age or political stripe, Vietnam is like Elvis: it’s everywhere.

And like Elvis,Vietnam has left the building.

13 posted on 09/26/2005 6:29:10 PM PDT by afnamvet
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To: bigsky; Lando Lincoln; quidnunc; .cnI redruM; Valin; King Prout; SJackson; dennisw; monkeyshine; ...
Mac Johnson in a Steyn-esque brilliance:

... [for the Left] the lesson of Vietnam is: it is best to lose quickly, so as to avoid a quagmire.  It could be argued that the real lesson of Vietnam is that it badly damages a country’s reputation and character to lose at all.  But that is not at all supported by the evidence.  Nope, Vietnam taught us that winners know when to lose immediately.  Entire wars have been fought by countries that have failed to realize this.

No country was therefore more prepared to fight a long unconventional war against grimy little terrorists in strange distant places than America, who learned how to lose in Vietnam.

Thus, it is with considerable joy that those who are ready to teach the lesson of Vietnam (LOSE NOW BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!), find that they finally have another war that has lasted longer than John Kerry’s first position on it.  Obviously, they crow, we have stepped into some deep Vietnam in Iraq. 

Mac Johnson:  ...I present a few tiny little differences between Iraq and Vietnam: [just a list, read the complete article]

1. The Iraqi insurgency has no universal philosophy capable of attracting Iraq’s entire populace. 
2. The Iraqi insurgency has no inviolable state in which to openly organize the population; and we are not fighting for a tie with that inviolable state. 
3. The Sunni insurgents have no Soviet or Chinese support. 
4. North and South Vietnam had a combined population 22% of that of the United States in 1970. 
5. The Communist forces of Vietnam had 20 years of experience
6. There were no polling places in Hanoi during the war. 
7. There was no oil in Vietnam. 
8. There is no military draft in today’s US army. 
9. The Communists had never ruled South Vietnam. 
10. Who is Iraq’s Ho Chi Minh? 
11.  In Vietnam, it was obvious that American withdrawal would probably lead to South Vietnamese defeat. 
12.  The Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army were not killing one another. 
13.  Ho Chi Minh was not, at any point during the Vietnam War, sitting in a box with a French Lawyer

But other than all that, Iraq is just Vietnam all over again --and in High Definition on Cable.  Now consider one last reason why the two wars are not alike, one that goes to the heart of the issue and should be more than enough to shore up even Chuck Hagel: A loss in Vietnam was not going to bring newly energized Viet Cong recruits into New York or San Francisco with truck-bombs or a suitcase nuke to finish us off.  A loss in Iraq--regardless of why the war was begun, or how bad we want to go home, or how little most Americans care about giving foreigners democracy or toiletries--will energize our enemies, as only a historic victory on the world stage can. 

Nailed It!
Moral Clarity BUMP !

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14 posted on 09/27/2005 8:56:31 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: Tolik

Iraq would be like Vietnam in only this sense -- if the American people lost the political will to finish the job, then Iraq would become like Vietnam.

15 posted on 09/27/2005 9:46:33 AM PDT by My2Cents (The political battles of our day are battles over morality, between the haves and the have nots.)
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