Saturday, August 25, 2007

Staying in Iraq Is right thing to do

It is good practice to be wary of comparisons between present military conflicts with those from the past, although there are lessons to be gleaned from studying past wars.
This lesson was illustrated by recent comments made by U.S. President George W. Bush about the war in Iraq. In addressing a crowd of veterans, Bush compared the Iraq situation with the Vietnam War.
While no conflicts are ever exactly the same, Bush's general observation was correct -- although there are big differences.
Predictably, critics jumped all over Bush for the analogy. This is ironic given that for years pundits have incorrectly identified Iraq as a "Vietnam quagmire." Bush is right in saying that as in Vietnam, if the American public loses faith and their politicians abandon the mission, this will set the stage for a humanitarian catastrophe for the country and the region.
But in the case of Iraq, there is no strong nationalist figure like Ho Chi Minh or a nationalist struggle to oppose American forces. The communist forces on both sides of the Vietnamese border were successful in portraying their battle as a war for historic independence and were able to galvanize support on both sides. In the case of Iraq, Americans are dealing with a weak central government opposed by domestic opposition and foreign fighters.
The challenges are different.
He also compared Iraq to the Second World War occupations of Japan and Germany. Historians have pointed out those two societies were more homogenous and did not present the armed struggle to American presence as is happening in Iraq, although Bush was right in his point about perseverance.
While America's loss in Vietnam did not bring about the continental domino effect policy makers envisioned at the time, it allowed communist forces to tyrannize Vietnam and Cambodia. The Vietnamese loss also emboldened later authoritarian left-wing regimes in the Third World.
Without hindsight, one can predict Iranian Shiite forces -- as well as foreign fighters from Islamic countries and secular Arab countries -- will lay siege to an Iraq abandoned by American and coalition troops. It is sad to imagine Iraq becoming a failed state under al-Qaida.


The Misanthrope said...

First allow me to comment on this post, Bush’s comments regarding Vietnam show he remains oblivious to history:

In unconventional wars, body counts don't really count. In the Vietnam War, superior American firepower enabled U.S. forces to prevail in most tactical engagements. We killed plenty of North Vietnamese and Viet Cong. But killing didn't produce victory -- the exertions of U.S. troops all too frequently proved to be counterproductive.

So too in Iraq -- although Bush insists on pretending otherwise. His speech had him sounding like President Lyndon Johnson, bragging that, in each month since January, U.S. troops in Iraq have "killed or captured an average of more than 1,500 Al Qaeda terrorists and other extremists." If Bush thinks that by racking up big body counts the so-called surge will reverse the course of the war, he is deceiving himself. The real question is not how many bad guys we are killing, but how many our continued presence in Iraq is creating.

Second, I’ll comment on your comment you left: It don’t take too much smarts to be a blogger does it?

And, even less to leave an ignorant comment as you did, right Sarge? I won’t even address your truly stupid statement about un-American. Nonetheless, thanks for stopping by.

My Files said...

I will not even dignify “The Misanthrope by answering his comment.
I think it speaks for itself.
But I wll say that hi/her screen name speaks for itself. A Misanthrope is a person that only expects the worst in a person.