Saturday, September 01, 2007

5 Ways Iraq Isn't Like Vietnam

Recently, President Bush correctly pointed out why a premature US withdrawal from the embattled Middle East could likely turn into a bloodbath on the scale of our post-Vietnam War pullout, where millions there and in Cambodia were enslaved, made homeless, or murdered. Mercifully for the US and the region, such a dark scenario hasn't transpired yet, and neither have these five facts:

1). Generals in Iraq have avoided calling for a huge troop buildup , unlike then General Westmoreland who consistently pleaded for ever larger increases, but failed to enact an effective counter-insurgency strategy.

2). The US hasn't micro-managed the war from Washington. Instead Bush has trusted the judgement of his Generals, including the above mentioned troop numbers, and on the subject of time tables for withdrawal

3). Bush has resisted the temptation of widening the Conflict. Much to the ire of hawks and doves, we have yet to invade Iran, Syria, and other states which may be supporting the insurgency and Al Qaeda in Iraq. When President Nixon expanded the war into Cambodia in the spring and summer of 1970, he may have temporarily aided his war effort, but greatly emboldened the anti-war movement, which had the ears of many in Congress.

4). Civilian and troop casualties have been kept comparatively low. This thanks mainly to new technology, such as precision bombs, mine resistant vehicles, body armor, and battlefield robots.

5). Bush continues to support the duly elected Iraqi leadership. Though some have called for the resignation of Prime Minister Maliki, the President has rightly supported the Iraq leader during the country's delicate transition into a democracy. When the Kennedy Administration ordered the assassination by the CIA of South Vietnam's corrupt but effective President Diem in 1963, the government never completely recovered from the subsequent dearth in leadership.