For the last time, Iraq is not Vietnam.
But critics of the Iraq war who draw on a few common factors to claim the U.S. is embroiled in a new military quagmire ignore stark differences between the two conflicts. In Vietnam, the U.S. took sides in a civil war to prevent a communist victory. The effort took years, and more than 2 million troops battled an army backed by China and the Soviet Union. In Iraq, 250,00 U.S. forces ousted a brutal dictator, and 130,000 troops remain to help build a new democratic and prosperous country.
Back in Vietnam, the government remained intact and continued to be supported by the Soviet Union while the United States retreated; contrast that with the reality of Saddam Hussein’s demise. But referring to Iraq as a Vietnam quagmire is just too tempting to those wishing to give the Bush administration a black eye.
Who can blame them? They’re just making use of the old political mantra: repeat something enough times and you’re bound to convert some segment of the population.