Bush is wrong: Iraq is not Vietnam

#1
Bush is wrong: Iraq is not Vietnam
By John Keegan
Telegraph Online
Link
President Bush has for the first time conceded a similarity between events in Iraq and those in Vietnam 40 years ago. Asked in a television interview on Wednesday if he now saw a similarity between the recent escalation of American losses in Iraq and those suffered in the Tet offensive of 1968, he admitted that the rise of casualties in the past weeks had given ground for making a comparison. The President's admission will probably trigger a feeding frenzy in the American media, which has been seeking to equate Iraq with Vietnam ever since the insurgency started to inflict significant casualties.

It has to be said, however, that the President's admission will come as a surprise to those with long historical memories. Indeed, it is a surprise that the President allowed himself to be drawn. I recently had the opportunity to discuss Iraq with the President in the Oval Office at an intimate meeting with a small group of historians.

Mr Bush then — early September — did not want to discuss Iraq, but larger issues of the culture clash between radical Islam and the Christian West. Indeed, he has been ill-advised to rise to the bait. Many of those who took sides over Vietnam are still alive and active, still animated by the passions that transfixed the American people in the 1960s. His admission can do nothing but harm, certainly to him and to his administration, but also to the US forces in general and to the servicemen in Iraq in particular.

A large part of the reason for that is the lack of comparability between Iraq and Vietnam. Anyone familiar with both situations will be struck by the dissimilarities, particularly of scale and in the nature of the enemy.
 
#3
Asked in a television interview on Wednesday if he now saw a similarity between the recent escalation of American losses in Iraq and those suffered in the Tet offensive of 1968,

If this is correct then it's excellent news.

The V.C was wiped out and was no longer a threat to the Americans after the Tet offensive.It's the journos that reported the complete opposite of actual events.
The Vietnamese admit this themselves.
And they rarely admit anything.
 
#5
expat_71 said:
Asked in a television interview on Wednesday if he now saw a similarity between the recent escalation of American losses in Iraq and those suffered in the Tet offensive of 1968,

If this is correct then it's excellent news.

The V.C was wiped out and was no longer a threat to the Americans after the Tet offensive.It's the journos that reported the complete opposite of actual events.
The Vietnamese admit this themselves.
And they rarely admit anything.
been to Hanoi of HCMC recently ??
The yanks lost. The Vietnamese are more than happy to tell anyone who will listen how they kicked the US arrse. One Vietnamese guy told me that 'they are no good in Iraq. In Vietnam we killed 50 ameicans a day. In Iraq its only 3 a day'
By the way I'm well aware of the fact the Vietnamese casualties were far higher than the US.Could be something to do wit the fact the US bombed and killed an awful lot of innocent non combatants.
 
#6
jonwilly said:
Oh I don't know Rumsfeld seems to have screwed both.
john
-Um, Not a fan of Rumsfeld but he wasnt the SecDef during Vietnam, It was

Robert S. Mcnamara(who looks eerily similar)-Jan 21st, 1961-Feb 29th, 1968

Clark Clifford-Mar. 1st, 1968 till Jan. 20th, 1969

Melvin Laird- Jan.22nd, 1969 till Jan. 29th 1973

Elliot Richardson- Jan. 30th, 1973 till May 24th, 1973

James Schlesinger- Jul. 2nd, 1973 till Nov. 19th, 1975

( note that S. Vietnam was overrun in April 1975)

On Nov. 20th, 1975 Rummy took over as SecDef. under Ford.

Much as I dont like him, I find it hard to blame him for Vietnam when he took over as SecDef almost 7 Months after it fell.
 
#8
There are vast dissimilarities between the two wars in terms of actual operations, that much is certain. Having said that, there is a certain parallel to be made about being stuck in a quagmire, where "victory" is nigh on impossible (and I am still waiting for someone to give us a meaningful definition of vicotry) and where there is apparently no realistic exit strategy that would not result in a major loss of face. Furthermore, the duplicitous behaviour of the US & British Administrationa during the march to war, the failure of those who should know better to speak truth to power and the manner in which the administrationa have tried to supress news of successive failures will seem strangely familiar to anyone who has read The Pentagon Papers.
 
#9
logical_log wrote

been to Hanoi of HCMC recently ??



That makes no sense at all! What are you going on about?

The V.C were insurgents.

The N.V.A North Vietnamese Army.

The V.C lost most their men, arms and Armour/push bikes and were not able to launch an offensive on a large scale again.

A few of you have got the wrong end of the stick.

It's Iraq/Tet offensive not Iraq/Vietnam war.
 
#10
logical_ log wrote something that tells me he`s probably never had a day`s time under fire.(I apologise if I`m misreading you) Same old shite that is occasionallly posted , Yanks are cowards , VC kicked their arse,. I was in VN, go to any website concerning POWs, virtually all were officers,airmen, shot down over the north, practicallly zero enlisted men or army or marines. Surrender was not an option, neither was running away, where you going to run to when you are in a wilderness like the central highlands (where`s the rear). The north and the NVA couldn`t take the time to pack enlisted men several hundred miles up the HO Chi Minh trail to POW camps, not worth the trouble that a Colonel parachuting down not too far from your prison camp would get you for trading material.What the Vietnamese might tell you about kicking arse the fact remains that for the US soldier in VN it was win or die, and I can remember seeing a lot more of them leaving this world than us useless septics.
 
#11
As per the Indian media, the parallel reads as:

" Bush acknowledged the parallel, saying that the terrorists were trying to 'infict enough damage that we'd leave'. "

It was after the Tet offensive that the US public opinion mounted which forced the US to quit VN.
 
#12
Rayc wrote
It was after the Tet offensive that the US public opinion mounted which forced the US to quit VN.

Thanks to incompetent journalism on an obscene scale.
 
#13
So the introduction of the Draft lottery in 1969, which promised to turn selective service into something of a crapshoot for everybody from all parts of American society, had nothing to do with the tide of public opinion turning against the war?

Tet as the cause for the tide of support turning is often overstated. The polling from immediately prior to, and following Tet, only showed a small upswing in the proportion of American who considered the Vietnam war to be a mistake (From 45% to 49%- scarcely beyond the margin of error of the sample). In the interests of full disclosure, Johnson's personal ratings, and assessment on the war's progress, tanked.

By the way, Walter Kronkite's precise words on 27 Feb 68 were:

"For it seems now more certain than ever, that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate."

LBJ's private response was "That's it. If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America."

So, it would appear that the democratic process worked. Americans decided that Vietnam wasn't a cause worth their lives, or those of their sons. Accordingly Nixon was elected on a platform of withdrawal from Vietnam and despite cranking things up a notch or two with the invasions of Cambodia and Laos, had to eventually try and figure a way out.
 
#14
Sir John Keegan is absolutely right. Iraq is not Vietnam. It is much worse.

What happened then the Vietnam war was lost by USA? Nothing special. Vietnamese war was a part of global struggle between superpowers. This round was won by one side but other rounds by another side.

But now the status of USA as superpower is questioned. 'Almighty' USA are losing a was to whom? To a few tens thousands poor armed civilians. Consequences of inevitable defeat would be very painfull.

In Vietnam the Americans feared domino effect but it hadn't happened. Now, row of domino tiles is ready to fall: Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia... Regimes in these key states are not stable enough, they are ready to fall, fall in what direction? Apparently not in pro-American.

The Vietnam war was not lost on the battlefield, but in the American media's treatment of news from the front line.
It is an obvious simplification. So what if media's trreatment would be different then the Vietnam war would not be lost?

The war was lost because its cost was too high and the media only only reported about it.
 
#15
In exposing the fact that the USA's utter global military dominance does not necessarily mean that it can achieve its foreign policy aims, there are certainly parallels between Iraq and Vietnam. Both, to an extent, exposed the weak underbelly of a (fairly) liberal, democracy undertaking bloody operations - aversion to casualties/influence of public opinion & media/over-reliance on technology etc.

These factors were all prevalent throughout the 90's (Somalia debacle etc) but 11/9 was supposed to change all of that. It did for a while, but I suspect the 'war footing' mentality is hard to sustain.
 
#16
Feels like there might be a few similarities:

Both Iraq and Vietnam were founded on lies
Both wars quickly became guerilla wars
Both wars used the moral mandate of “democracy” to assuage the American people
Positioning of puppet rulers
Both wars were against nations dogged by colonial strategies
Both wars were fought in as the leading edge of grand U.S. strategy.
Both wars used the “we’re not soft on *" card
“We’ll bomb them back into the stone age” juxtapose “Shock and awe”
Nixon then, and now Bush is trying to salvage “peace with honour”

Dissimilarites:
The voice of moderation against Vietnam has been muzzled for Iraq
 
#17
logical_log said:
expat_71 said:
Asked in a television interview on Wednesday if he now saw a similarity between the recent escalation of American losses in Iraq and those suffered in the Tet offensive of 1968,

If this is correct then it's excellent news.

The V.C was wiped out and was no longer a threat to the Americans after the Tet offensive.It's the journos that reported the complete opposite of actual events.
The Vietnamese admit this themselves.
And they rarely admit anything.
been to Hanoi of HCMC recently ??
The yanks lost. The Vietnamese are more than happy to tell anyone who will listen how they kicked the US arrse. One Vietnamese guy told me that 'they are no good in Iraq. In Vietnam we killed 50 ameicans a day. In Iraq its only 3 a day'
By the way I'm well aware of the fact the Vietnamese casualties were far higher than the US.Could be something to do wit the fact the US bombed and killed an awful lot of innocent non combatants.

unfortuantely that could be said about any conflict the Spams have been involved in. Which is another similarity between Vietnam and Iraq.
 
#18
Matt Frei adds his view on the Vietnam comparison



So here's my conclusion: Yes, this war is unpopular. A solid majority of Americans have lost faith in it and doubt it can be won. And yet there are only a handful of anti-war protesters outside the White House. Jane Fonda is nowhere to be seen and millions have not poured into the Mall to demand that the troops come home. From Hollywood to the Democratic Party to the prevailing opinion in the streets, we are all caught in the headlights: loath to stay in Iraq and afraid to leave.
 

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