Same Difference


Raise your hand if you saw this coming:

In Iraq, lessons of Vietnam still resonate

What are the right lessons from America’s Vietnam experience that can be applied to the current situation in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East?

The United States in the 1960s and early 1970s found itself backing a shaky South Vietnam government that lacked full support from religious and sectarian groups within its borders as it faced armed Viet Cong insurgents. Today it’s the newly formed, Shiite-dominated government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Baghdad facing Islamic State fighters without the total support of some Iraqi Sunni, Kurd and secular groups.

In Vietnam, the insurgents were fed arms, supplies and even fighters from North Vietnam through nearby Laos and Cambodia. Today, equipment, supplies and Islamic State fighters come into Iraq through neighboring Syria.

The South Vietnamese military was further weakened by corruption and lack of training. The Iraqi security forces have the same problems.


That should be a key lesson from Vietnam. Foreign governments have to find their own way.

Cordesman, however, is right about several things. He is correct when he says, “We are dealing with a range of extremist movements and an ideological struggle for the future of Islam,” and that “no kind of lasting ‘victory’ in the form of some reasonable degree of stability and security can occur in Iraq — or any of our other wars — without effective national unity.”

Vietnam should have taught the U.S.that as an outside power — with no common language, culture or history — Americans cannot bring about national unity in other countries.

Cordesman makes another point worth remembering in the Vietnam context — there will be no peace in Iraq, even with national unity, if across the border in Syria there is a sanctuary for Sunni forces hostile to the government in Baghdad.

There is one final point that Cordesman makes that the Obama administration, Congress and presidential candidates should take to heart.

“We need regular, honest, and comprehensive Obama administration reporting on the course of our wars,” he writes. He adds that also needed are “hearings and congressional reviews that do more than focus on five minute media visibility exercises for committee members.”

I hope your hand is raised. The Iraq-Vietnam comparisons started before the first American boots touched Iraqi soil, and that was way back during Desert Storm.

I grew up watching the Vietnam war on television. If it had lasted a few more years I probably would have gone there. Even before we left evacuated the Saigon embassy people have been arguing and pointing fingers over why we lost. Some blame the military. Some blame the media. Some blame the politicians. Some blame the American public.

They are all right. And they are all wrong.

Iraq is just like Vietnam. Except it’s not.

Iraq and Vietnam are very different countries with very different people and problems. We fought each war for different reasons facing different enemies. Both outcomes were the same.

For the record, our involvement in Vietnam started before I was born, but I opposed the invasion of Iraq. Both endings left me feeling sad and depressed.

There is, however, a simple lesson to be learned from both Iraq and Vietnam. That lesson is some problems don’t have solutions.



About Myiq2xu™

"If you hit an artery, somebody can bleed out in two minutes."
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65 Responses to Same Difference

  1. Myiq2xu says:

    If you think this post doesn’t have a point, you’re right.

  2. Dora says:

    I read a while ago that the name Iran means Aryan. After being encouraged by Hitler during a meeting they had in Berlin, the Shah changed the name of Persia to the Farsi term for Aryan as a show of solidarity with the Nazis. It was never changed back. Obviously.

    • Myiq2xu says:

      Iraq and Vietnam both have one thing in common – they are artificially created countries. Iraq was part of the Ottoman Empire, and Vietnam was part of French Indochina. Neither existed until the mid-20th Century.

  3. Myiq2xu says:

    In 2003 the invasion of Iraq was overwhelmingly supported by the public. That was the main reason I shut up about it back then.

    According to a recent poll most Americans now claim they opposed the invasion.

    • lizzy says:

      That was a long time ago. All those supporters must have died off. As I recall the vote to authorize the war was never in doubt and it had popular support in the aftermath of 9-11. Since there was no draft, conscripts weren’t being killed in large numbers.

  4. Myiq2xu says:

  5. piper says:

    Oh where oh where are these people getting guns as Chicago has very strict laws about private citizens / residents having guns? My next question – how many shooters are actually caught and imprisoned?
    Back later my lawn is calling. ⛳️

  6. piper says:

    Stolen from K. Marge

  7. piper says:

    Another steal from K. Marge

  8. HELENK3 says:

    one of my favorite actors has more class in his little finger than backtrack has in his whole body., when it comes to how to treat our military

  9. votermom says:

    Iraq is being lost to the enemy by Dem fecklessness. So I guess it is like Vietnam in that sense.

    • Somebody says:

      I think down the line it may be much worse than Vietnam. When we left Vietnam, we left. The war may supposedly be over in Iraq, but there are a LOT of Americans over there. There are still troops…..advisors, whatever you want to call them. Lots of government contractors fulfilling contracts for rebuilding, lots of private security for those contractors. In all thousands of Americans are over there.

      Sadly I think it’s only a matter of time before ISIS takes over the areas where there are concentrations of Americans and then it will most likely get really ugly. Maybe I’m wrong maybe the Americans will get the hell out before ISIS takes over the whole country, but if they don’t I think it’s going to be worse than Vietnam.

  10. DeniseVB says:

    After 9-11 we should have turned Afghanistan into a parking lot, message sent to the world “don’t f**k with us”. Even the hardcore lefty anti-war folks were sending out stand down messages to their “troops”, this is different, don’t protest. It was the Iraq involvement that got Bush in trouble with the peaceniks. Though under the Obama/Hillary foreign policy they managed to unstablize the rest of the middle east, now we have ISIS and it’s spreading.

    • Somebody says:

      I agree with you Denise, but we’ve lost our will to defeat our enemy at all cost or at least our political leaders have.

  11. DeniseVB says:

    Of course they blame Bush for ISIS …. “shoulda’ never invaded Iraq, so there”.

  12. Dora says:

    Oh wow! I didn’t know Hillary was into jewelry.

    The Long History Between The Clintons And The Sultan Of Brunei (Including $58,000 In Jewelry To Hillary While Sec Of State)…

  13. HELENK3 says:

    our schools of so called higher education, need a lot of education on their treatment of vetrans

  14. DeniseVB says:

    So, Michelle gave the commencement speech at Oberlin ? Recruiting revolutionaries? Lolololol !

  15. Dora says:

    Other than the days following 9-11, I don´t ever remember a state police presence in NYC. I don’t know what Cuomo is trying to prove, but this could get interesting.

    Cuomo to station state troopers on de Blasio’s turf

    • 49erDweet says:

      This could be a fake controversy. NYPD is not the only law enforcement agency with responsibilities in NYC. To imply otherwise is phoney. The media is just trying to stir up trouble. Establishing a local barracks seems to be a fiscally wise move.

      • DeniseVB says:

        My first thought too. We have State Troopers based all over Virginia’s interstates and other state roads and most live in the cities they’re based at. I’m sure NYC is no different.

    • Mt.Laurel says:

      There are several law enforcement groups in Metro DC. In Montgomery county we have state troopers, county police and I also have city police where I live. The territories overlap and more than one may respond to a call.

      In Pennsylvania there were many local barracks. You can see a couple of them if you ever drive the PA Turnpike. When I took my drivers test in the 70’s at the state police barracks I my city and with a state trooper (in full garb including hat) sitting next to me in the car. They worked with the city police on roads/accidents/crime outside the city limits.

    • lizzy says:

      Since Billie dB is an idiot who can’t stop running his mouth and thinks attacking cops gives him street cred, I think Cuomo wants some force not under the mayor’s thumb. Having a fairly sane and adult voice with some officers gives this New Yorker a warm fuzzy feeling.

  16. Myiq2xu says:

    This is some creepy/funny shit:

  17. Myiq2xu says:

    Apparently Lena Dunham has posted some new underwear pics. Time to go offline for a few days.

  18. DeniseVB says:

    Thank goodness Kylie is pretty, she doesn’t have to be smart 😀

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