Is Iraq Another Vietnam?

Is Iraq Another Vietnam?

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A respected Vietnam historian offers a clear-eyed, thought-provoking analysis of the similarities and differences between Vietnam and Iraq - and argues that the current use of Vietnam to create policy in Iraq is a bad reading of history that will lead to disaster. Since the first days of the Iraqi invasion, supporters of the war have urged the public not to view this conflict as another Vietnam. They rightfully point to several important distinctions. First, there is no unified resistance in Iraq. The internal conflict between Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites has kept any integrated insurgency from developing. Second, no political or religious leader has been able to galvanize opposition to US intervention the way that Ho Chi Minh did in Vietnam. Third, external support for the insurgency in Iraq is almost non-existent compared to the international support that Vietnam received. Fourth, causality figures from the Vietnam War dwarf those from Iraq. Finally, it is not likely that 580,000 American troops will find their way to Iraq. Still, sceptics cannot help but hear the echo of Vietnam. They fear Bush's soaring rhetoric about international terrorism. They fear that nation building efforts in Iraq will end in disappointment. They fear that US counterinsurgency programmes will not increase security. They fear that the recent Iraqi elections will not lead to a stable government. They fear that Iraqi security forces are no match for the insurgents. They fear the atrocities will increase, further dragging America into the moral abyss. They fear that the US is losing the battles for the hearts and minds of Islamic moderates. They fear that the US does not have enough troops to stay in Iraq or to get out. They fear that the light at the end of the tunnel is a fast-approaching train. They fear the quagmire. But are the sceptics right? Is Iraq another Vietnam? No, and yes. A straight comparison does an injustice to solid history. There are important similarities, however, and some lessons to be learned form Vietnam. In Iraq, like Vietnam, the original rationale for going to war has been discredited. In both cases the new justification became building stable societies. Is this a viable policy? There are enormous pitfalls in America's nation building efforts in Iraq as there were in Vietnam. But it is the business we now find ourselves in and there is no easy retreat from it morally. As American frustration increases, some policy makers are making the deadly mistake of approaching problems in Iraq as if we are facing them for the first time. It is crucial that we apply the lessons of Vietnam wisely and selectively. In "Is Iraq Another Vietnam?", Robert Brigham identifies the critical issues that American policy makers must confront - with wisdom and authority that cannot be more

Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 147.3 x 210.8 x 20.3mm | 340.2g
  • PublicAffairs,U.S.
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1586484133
  • 9781586484132
  • 2,462,836

About Robert K. Brigham

Robert Brigham is History Department Chair and a Professor of History and International Relations at Vassar College. He is the author of numerous books and essay son American foreign relations, including Argument without End (PublicAffairs).show more

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13 ratings
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3 38% (5)
2 8% (1)
1 8% (1)
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