Iraq vs. Vietnam

August 11, 2007

Lately I have heard the left socialist liberals comparing the war in Iraq to the war in Vietnam. I pondered this for a while and, being a history major, realized that it is simply not true. In NO significant way is the military effort in Iraq related to the war in Vietnam.

Before I explain the reasons why, we need to have a small history lesson. After World War II, the United States inherited a new responsibility to fight for democracy and capitalism and against communism. It did take a while for the U.S. government to realize this and they found themselves unprepared for the fight in Korea…but I digress. During the Eisenhower administration in the 1950s he sent advisors to Vietnam, as did many other European nations, to see what was going on in French Indochina (Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam). After years of fighting between North Vietnam and France, the French decided that it was not worth the effort to try and contain Vietnam. After careful analysis of the situation, Britain decided that it wasn’t worth the effort either. Unfortunately, the U.S. had the Policy of Containment and wanted to try to stop the spread of communism and so felt that it was important to continue having advisors in Vietnam. When Kennedy took office, he sent more advisors to Vietnam despite having NO allies to help support them. Some people believe that Kennedy had plans to withdraw the advisors, but no one will ever know for sure because Kennedy was assassinated. When Johnson preceded Kennedy, he sent a marine brigade to South Vietnam to help guard an air base and hence the start of American forces in Vietnam. That’s the chronological events leading to the war in Vietnam in a simplified version.

The important thing to note about the brief history is that the U.S. had no allies to help support the war effort in Vietnam. Was Vietnam a mistake? Maybe, but that’s beside the point. The point is that while there was no support for the U.S. military effort in Vietnam there is overwhelming support from U.S. allies for the front in Iraq. Supporters include Australia, Britain, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, and Spain. Although not every supporter physically has troops in Iraq, they still support the movement.

Then the arguments come: “Well if the United States has so much support, then why did the UN deny authorization to invade Iraq?”

Here’s the answer: In the UN there are five permanent members of the Security Council (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and United States). No matter what the UN votes on, any one of these five members can veto the proposal. Since one or more of the members of the Security Council vetoed the idea of invading Iraq, naturally the United States took matters into its own hands without the approval of the UN.

Next, during the time of the Vietnam War, there was an active selective service (draft) to fill the military. I do believe a draft would definitely help win the war in Iraq, but at this point in time we have a VOLUNTEER MILITARY! We always hear Speaker Pelosi talk about how “we are sending our boys into harms way” but she NEVER mentions that they are all volunteers. So until the draft is active again, Liberals should stop acting like they are sticking up for our troops in Iraq and saying that they had no choice to be in the military.

Most importantly, the political objectives between the wars in Vietnam and Iraq are vast and relate to the outcome of the two wars. The political objective in Vietnam was simply to defend South Vietnam and stop the spread of communism. It was strictly defensive strategy. The best thing a country can do on the defense is not lose the war. In order to win a war a country must go on the offense, which the U.S. did not. On a side note, the reason the Vietnam War was “lost” was because the North Vietnamese would enter South Vietnam through the Ho Chi Minh trail in Laos and Cambodia. Once the U.S. troops attacked the invading North Vietnamese they would escape back to Laos and Cambodia where the U.S. military was ordered NOT to follow. Another contributor to the “loss” in Vietnam is the will of the American people. I would argue that one of the reasons the U.S. has problems in any war is because the American people (mostly the liberals) are too impatient thereby destroying the morale of the troops fighting. In Iraq, the U.S. is fighting a defensive and offensive war. It’s defensive strategy in the sense of maintaining a stable society within Iraq, it’s offensive in finding terrorists and searching for insurgency. Vietnam did have insurgents (Viet Cong) but U.S. forces were also defending against the attacks of the North Vietnamese. In Iraq, the U.S. is not defending one nation from the attacks of another. Also, despite Liberal efforts, the morale of the troops in Iraq is NOT destroyed. They know what they are fighting for, and generally agree with why they are doing it. While some soldiers may or may not agree with certain strategies set forth by officials, they do agree with the overall stances and efforts given.

By and large, In contrast to the war in Vietnam, the war in Iraq CAN be won. Despite the efforts and comments of top Democratic officials, the war is not lost. Hell, if liberal journalists for the New York Times can admit that the war can be won, it must be true. Frankly, I hope and pray that in September General Patraeus is able to give positive reports regarding the troop surge. Maybe then, the American people will see that it can be done.

David Cooper


One comment

  1. Excellent post.

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