Today on Blogcritics
Home » Iraq/Vietnam – GWB/LBJ

Iraq/Vietnam – GWB/LBJ

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

President George W. Bush — who missed out on the Vietnam war because he was busy protecting the borders of Texas and Alabama (?) from Communist invasions, wouldn’t know it from direct experience — but his war in Iraq is starting to have a few similarities to the war in Vietnam.

Here are just a few:

The escalation of the Vietnam military presence was based on an erroneous event, the Gulf of Tonkin incident.

The war in Iraq was based on an erroneous goal, the destruction of weapons of mass destruction that turned out to be non-existent.

The Tet Offensive was a series of battles in the South Vietnam. It was a major offensive by the North Vietnamese Army, Viet Cong, and civilian guerilla fighters. It involved military action in almost every major city in southern Vietnam and attacks on the US firebase at Khe Sanh. The NVA suffered a heavy military defeat but scored a priceless propaganda victory.

The current “insurgency” in Iraq is a major offensive occurring in almost every major city in Iraq, and is being perpetrated by a guerilla army in civilian guises. Whereas the U.S. will probably attain a ‘military victory’ over this current uprising, we stand to suffer a “priceless propaganda” loss.

In Vietnam, there was a gulf between the US public and the US government over support for the war and its progress. There were also tensions between the US military and their Vietnamese allies.

In Iraq, there is a gulf between the US public and the US government over support for the war and its progress. There are also tensions between the US military and their alleged Iraqi allies, the Shiites and the Interim Governing Council.

The strategy of the Viet Cong was effective because US leaders were at best misleading, and at worst, lying outright to the American public about what was going on in Vietnam, why we were there in the first place, and what the costs and exit strategy would eventually be.

The strategy of the Iraqi insurgents is effective because US leaders were at best misleading, and at worst, lying outright to the American public about what is going on in Iraq, why we are there in the first place, and what the costs and exit strategy will eventually be.

Media coverage of the Tet Offensive shocked the American public and its politicians. The US military reaction surprised the North Vietnamese leadership. The heavy US shelling of Ben Tre produced the famous quote, “it became necessary to destroy the town in order to save it.”

Media coverage of the Iraqi offensive is shocking the American public and its politicians. The US military reaction will probably surprise even the rebellious Shiite and Sunni leadership. We’ll probably have to instigate the old approach of “It became necessary to destroy the town in order to save it.”

Iraq is not Vietnam, but the perception alone could turn into a nightmare for Bush and his Neo-Con cronies.

58,000 Americans died in Vietnam. So far 620 Americans have died in Iraq.

Terry Anderson, an expert on the Vietnam War, a veteran of the war, and currently a historian at Texas A&M University:

“I completely agree this is Bush’s Vietnam. Just like Lyndon Johnson, Bush has totally misjudged the culture in which they are fighting. Just like LBJ, we are trying to bring democracy to people who are not particularly interested in U.S.-style democracy — and just like LBJ, we are rotating out battle-hardened people with new troops. And just like LBJ, Bush is not telling Americans they are going to be there for years.”

Anderson adds that a big difference between Iraq and Vietnam is that public support for the war in Iraq has ebbed much more quickly. The American electorate began turning against the Vietnam war after two years of fighting, but with opposition escalating quickly after the 1968 Tet Offensive.


“You had massive rallies against this war even before Bush went in,” Anderson says, “because the Vietnam experience jump-started opposition to this war.”

Polls released this week show support for Bush’s handling of the situation in Iraq hovering between 40 and 45 per cent, with many questioning the June 30 target for hand over of political power to Iraqis.

“You’re starting to hear that `Q’ word: quagmire,” pollster John Zogby said yesterday. That word has become synonymous with Vietnam, and “LBJ” might quickly become shorthand for “GWB.”

“The public seems confused,” Zogby said. “How do we get out? Do we send more troops? How do we cut casualties? It’s all becoming a big problem for Bush.”

Republican Senator John McCain (4/08/04): “We have to tell the American people that we are in this for the long haul. We cannot say, as we did in Vietnam, that the light is at the end of the tunnel”

The Bush administration continues to insist that the war in Iraq is a vital part of the fight against international terrorism, others are suggesting the opposite:

Hans Blix (04/07/004): “It’s clearly the negative aspects that dominate. Bush declared war as a part of the U.S. war on terror, but instead of limiting the effects of terror, the war has laid the foundation for even more terror.”

QUAGMIRE.

Powered by

About Mark Shark

  • http://www.tude.com/ Hal Pawluk

    I was one of those advocating internationalizing the occupation a year ago as a possible means of easing out reasonably gracefully and effectively.

    I still think the occupation need to be internationalized (can we afford this for 20 more years?), but it’s a no-win situation now.

    If the troops go easy, it encourages the insurgents and they win.

    If the troops clamp down hard, they’re the “brutal American devils” they were painted to be and the opponents win again.

    Whatever happens now, when the occupation (American or internationalized) ends, civil war is probably on the agenda.

    Who elected these guys (Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and cronies), anyhow? And isn’t it time to reconsider?

  • Shark

    The only way this Administration can possibly survive is if the media and the American public don’t have a memory of events beyond, say… five minutes ago.

    Anyone remember:

    * “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED”–?

    * An end to “MAJOR COMBAT OPERATIONS” –?

    * May, 2003, George W. Bush

  • Demont

    Good point on why their tactics are actually effective. If the Bush administration was able to convince me we had a reason to be there, nay, if the reasons they’ve already given weren’t riddled with lies this April outburst would not have nearly the same effect.

    End to major what? All I remember is the flight suit… damn he looked sharp.

    PS. Good Hellboy review

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com/ Eric Berlin

    Interesting analysis. Shocking that the number of US dead has just about doubled since the time of its writing.

    I think your parallels are clear — perhaps more clear than you intended. My opinion is that Iraq 2004 resembles (still) the early Vietnam years, before US opinion against the war truly became organized and outraged. There are other factors now, of course: there’s more at stake than losing face by pulling out, the least of which is leaving behind a greater hotbed of terrorism than the one that was there pre-invasion.

    Eric Berlin
    Dumpster Bust: Miracles from Mind Trash
    http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com

  • Shark

    Eric, sadly, the current facts on the ground continue to reinforce points I made almost 10 months ago.

    Iraq is a DEADLY QUAGMIRE no matter how you slice it. No one seems to care, tho — and *no one is being held accountable for this historic disaster.

    *that reelected lying lowlife motherfucker President Bush will be held accountable by ‘history’, but it’s too late to stop his chickenshit, sociopathic, flaccid ass.

    Eric B: “…there’s more at stake than losing face by pulling out, the least of which is leaving behind a greater hotbed of terrorism than the one that was there pre-invasion.”

    So we can’t leave?

    Until the terrorsts are ‘gone’?

    Or until the country is ‘secure’?

    Or until after the ‘handover’?

    (Oh, wait, that happened last June; never mind…)

    Or until after the “elections” in January?

    When like 1 or 2 out of 10 might vote?

    ahahaha.

    We’ll leave when ______. (fill in the blank)

    ===========

    By the way:

    If you want terrorists, let’s invade our friends the Saudis.

    Anyway, I disagree with the basic assumption that ‘we can’t leave’ Iraq. Two reasons: like Nam, we’ll eventually leave under circumstances no better than today’s — except with more dead Americans.

    Secondly: Shark has a plan.

  • Ron S.

    shark’s post:
    “president george w. bush – who missed out on the vietnam war because he was protecting the borders of texas and alabama from communist invasions…”

    boy, i think we’re getting way too nit-picky when a pilot in the guards performs a successful mission (did gw or did gw not help keep houston safe from the vietcong?) and yet still gets criticized for a minor little detail like some war going on overseas.

    sheesh!!

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Didn’t I already make a post on this same subject that actually made sense?

    Oh yeah, I did.

    Dave

  • General Mills

    Ya’ll a bunch of pussies!

    Ya’ll talkin’ bout strategic defensive posture…. et al.

    Hell, I’d rather have a strategic offensive posterior!

    ……………(_|_) <—–MOON SHOT!!!

    KMA