Can we really compare Iraq to Vietnam?

I used to get my drama from reality TV. Yet as the backstabbing among the young and good looking dwindles in its intensity, I am forced to turn cautious eyes to the political arena, a never-ending medium for human, American pissiness.

Perhaps, as usual, I am beginning in too vague a manner. The particular comment to which I am referring when I speak of “Washington drama” is the one recently ignited comparing the Vietnam War to the war in Iraq.

I am beginning to think that all of us U.S. dwellers need to whip out the dusty American History textbook from high school and spend a few hours in a mini history lesson.

Let us begin. Remember why we started the war in Vietnam. Supposedly, the evil incarnate communists were going to take over the world and create an empire nothing short of physical hell. So, the chivalrous American government sent the boys in to do a man’s job. Unfortunately, as you probably know, this proved to be a very stupid idea, seeing that the American heroes got their asses kicked to the extreme dissatisfaction of the folks back home.

Now let’s review why we started the war in Iraq. This bearded man named Saddam Hussein had a reigning history of royally upsetting the U.S. government (and a few others). After years of unsuccessful attempts at catching and killing Hussein, a rather arrogant Texan decided that he was going to succeed where others had previously failed. And succeed he did, albeit doing so under the pretense of searching for weapons of mass destruction, while potentially lying to the American public. Now President Bush’s reason for stay in Iraq is to root out and stamp on some pesky terrorists.


At this point, we do have one similarity. Two wars were started for potentially stupid reasons and one under false claims. Yeah, Hussein’s a bad guy and yeah, communism may have been a repressive practice-but are they one and the same? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, “no.”

Let us now examine casualties. The Vietnam War took more than 58,000 American lives. The present death toll in Iraq is less than 700, according to USA Today. Remember, though, that Vietnam lasted nearly a decade, while the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq has just reached 13 months.

Let it also be said that Vietnam is a country in Southeast Asia while Iraq is smack-dab in the area known as the Middle East. Therefore, unless I really did fail freshman geography, they are not one and the same.

Before you accuse me of gnarly tedium and overly blatant sarcasm without reason, allow me to explain. Iraq is not the same as Vietnam, and it is unfair and ridiculous to go around comparing the two simply because they are two incidents that upset the public and made the White House look stupid. If you are mad about a military endeavor, it’s not logical to call it Vietnam simply because that’s the only other military endeavor in the ol’ memory bank that angered the masses.

There’s another problem in militantly insisting that Iraq is Bush’s Vietnam. This problem lies in the fact that this present military situation is nowhere near being over. We got Hussein-good for us. But we’re still there.

We’re handing over governmental control to the Iraqis on June 30. Everyone’s waiting with bated breath to see whether or not this happens in totality. Many are of the opinion that more troops will be shipped over to sustain the government, rather than the United States leaving the country to its own devices.

I see where the comparison comes from. We’re getting guerilla resistance and our allies are skeptical-reminiscent of the Vietnam episode. Yet I think it’s too early in the game to call it Vietnam-a word that resounds in American memory as a tragedy and a monumental American mistake.

I’m in no way a Bush fan, but I’d also like to be optimistic enough to think that the situation in Iraq will not escalate to the climactic steamroller of human life that emerged from the war in Vietnam. Haven’t we learned something by now? My gut tells me we haven’t, but I’d love to be proven wrong in coming months.

I really hope that this situation is not the legacy of an overzealous president.

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