THE VIETNAM WAR & THE IRAQ WAR:
IRAQ IS NOT VIETNAM
By Alan Caruba
For those too young to know about Vietnam, other than that we lost, the U.S.A. had already been in a long Cold War with the Soviet Union since the end of World War II. The Cold War and associated hot wars (e.g., the Vietnam War and the Korean War) were, in reality, World War III -- a worldwide struggle of the U.S.A. and its allies against Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist Communism, a struggle against the nuclear armed, aggressive totalitarian political regime in the Soviet Union, against Soviet controlled and/or allied Communist regimes in other countries, and against Communist networks of espionage, subversion, and psycho-political warfare within the U.S.A., countries allied with the U.S.A., and other countries not actually ruled by the Communists. In Vietnam, with a bloody civil war raging between Communist and anti-Communist forces, the Communists, who controlled the northern region of the country were determined to forcibly unite all of Vietnam under the absolute control of a Soviet-style Communist dictatorship. In the U.S.A., the national leadership, at the time, held to the socalled "Domino Theory" -- the theory that, if the whole of Vietnam fell to Communist control, a whole string of other nationa would fall as well.
In the 1950s, the U.S.A. had fought in Korea, where a very similar scenario unfolded, with Communist-ruled North Korea invading and attempting to conquer non-Communist South Korea. U.S. and allied military intervention into the Korean War prevented the North Korean and Chinese Communists from conquering South Korea, but the stalemate of that war continues today.
In the case of Vietnam, U.S. "military advisors," during the Presidency of John F. Kennedy, were sent to Vietnam, shortly after the French, Vietnam’s former colonial power, pulled out. Under President Lyndon Johnson, conflict in Vietnam escalated into a full-blown war between the U.S.A. and the Vietnamese Communists, the Communist regime in North Vietnam as well as the Vietcong, the Communist insurgents in South Vietnam, who waged a guerrilla war against U.S. forces and the South Vietnamese government..
It took several years, but after seeing the carnage on their television news every night, most Americans began to think it was the wrong war fought in the wrong place. It would be the first war America lost and, as it wound down, nobody cared much. We just wanted to get out and bring our military home. Ironically, the lessons of that war would be applied by one of its participants, Colin Powell, who, when he became Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, applied what was be known as the Powell Doctrine. No future war would be fought with anything less than overwhelming force. It was the principle applied in the Gulf War and again in Operation Iraqi Freedom to astonishing success.
Powell would tell you, along with the other Neocons surrounding President George W. Bush, that they emerged from the Vietnam War determined to rebuild America’s military into the most powerful the world would ever see. Defeat leaves a bad taste in your mouth. It would take until the Presidency of Ronald W. Reagan to make that goal come true. President Reagan would leave his successor, George H.W. Bush, a military second to none. Modern warfare, a totally integrated fighting machine, began in the Gulf War and it restored national pride.
In the years that preceded the Gulf War, however, the U.S.A. looked like a paper tiger. That impression didn’t happen overnight. The Islamic Jihad had its first victory in 1979, seizing control of Iran, along with the U.S. Embassy and our diplomats stationed there. The mullahs made President Jimmy Carter look so lame, Reagan was elected President in 1980. But Reagan, too, was tested in 1986, when more than 280 U.S. Marines were killed by a suicide bomber in Beirut. He pulled our troops out. Later, though, he would bomb Libya. Its dictator, Muamar Quadaffi, after last year’s Iraq invasion, decided it was time to give up his arsenal and end his flirtation with Islamic illusions of brotherhood.
Something strange happened in American politics. Having elected Conservatives like Reagan and Bush I, Americans voted for Vietnam War draft-dodger Bill Clinton, who, during his eight-year Presidency, made little effort to hide his contempt for the military. The voters would change control of Congress, giving it to Conservative Republicans, and then wait out a long, embarrassing process of impeachment, which, in the end, resulted in failure of the effort to remove from office a president distinguished largely by his very powerful sex drive and his inability or unwillingness to keep it under a reasonable degree of control. In the meantime, President Clinton would dither and dither, when it came to using the military power at his disposal. He would fail to capture Osama bin Laden, even when the Sudanese government offered his head on a plate. The U.S. intervention in Somalia would become a military mess.
Our enemies would take notice. In 1993, the first bombing of the World Trade Center took place. Under Clinton, it was treated, in the words of U.S. Senator John Kerry, as “a law enforcement” problem. By September 1, 2001, it would become the cause for war. It is a war unlike Vietnam. It is unlike Afghanistan and Iraq. It is a war that has long since enveloped the whole world. It is a war being fought in Spain, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Bali, Kenya, Morocco, the Russian Republic. It is an “asymmetric” war fought against a fanatical vanguard of Muslims determined to impose Islam worldwide. It is World War IV.
As the presidential election campaign heats up, it is essential to understand that the Vietnam War was a very different war, fought for very different reasons, in a very different era of American history.
The notion that it is now being called up as an example of the supposed courage of Senator John Kerry or a reason why the war in Iraq was a mistake could not be more wrong. Senator Kerry spent about four months total in Vietnam. By contrast, Secretary of State Colin Powell served two terms of service there, experiencing plenty of combat before beginning his rise through the ranks. Senator Kerry came home and denounced the war, called his fellow soldiers and sailors rapists and killers. He would become a politician, a deceitful, unscrupulous political opportunist.
It is no accident Bush II chose a certifiable hero and veteran of the Vietnam War as his Secretary of State. It is no accident that the Democrats have done everything in their power to portray Bush II as being “a deserter” whose military service was suspect. Bush II wanted Powell to represent the nation’s determination to meet and defeat the new enemy of freedom. Senator Kerry, if elected, would find as quick an exit from combat as possible, leaving Iraq in chaos and civil war and the U.S.A. and the West vulnerable to the worldwide Islamic Jihad.
The Vietnam War presented the U.S.A. with a choice, and some historians suggest that President Kennedy would likely have withdrawn our small military presence there. His assassination ended that possibility. The Iraq War was not one of choice, though its opponents present it as one. Having driven the Taliban out of Afghanistan after 9-11, regime change in Iraq was absolutely necessary if the United States was to continue the transformation of the entire Middle East from being a constant threat to Western civilization. The Middle East, if this policy is continued, will be composed of modern nation-states. The despots will have been driven from power. That will be our real security!
Waiting to be attacked again is not an option, not a choice. That is why President Bush moved swiftly against Afghanistan, created the Department of Homeland Security, and asked Congress to pass the Patriot Act. The horror of 9-11 sucked a trillion dollars out of our economy, and its effect is only now being overcome. The U.S. economy cannot suffer another 9-11 without putting the basis of our power at tremendous risk. The war to liberate Iraq is just a down payment on a more secure future.
American Government & the U.S. Presidency
The Middle East & the Problem of Iraq
Page Two Page One
The Problem of Rogue States:
Iraq as a Case History
The Middle East & the Arabs
Islamism & Jihadism -- The Threat of Radical Islam
Page Three Page Two Page One
War & Peace in the Real World
Page Two Page One
Disloyalty, Subversion, Sedition, & Treason
Terrorism & U.S. Homeland Security
Islamist Terrorist Attacks on the U.S.A.
Osama bin Laden & the Islamist Declaration of War
Against the U.S.A. & Western Civilization
Islamist International Terrorism &
U.S. Intelligence Agencies
U.S. National Security Strategy
Communism: Longterm Enemy
Russia & Other Former Soviet Republics
Africa: Black Africa *
Africa: North Africa *
American Government 1
American Government 2 * American Government 3 * American Government 4
American Government 5 * American Politics * Anglosphere * Arabs
Arms Control & WMD * Aztlan Separatists * Big Government
Black Africa * Bureaucracy * Canada * China * Civil Liberties * Communism
Congress, U.S. * Conservative Groups * Conservative vs. Liberal
Constitutional Law * Counterterrorism * Criminal Justice * Disloyalty * Economy
Education * Elections, U.S. * Eminent Domain * Energy & Environment
English-Speaking World * Ethnicity & Race * Europe * Europe: Jews
Family Values * Far East * Fiscal Policy, U.S. * Foreign Aid, U.S. * France
Hispanic Separatism * Hispanic Treason * Human Health * Immigration
Infrastructure, U.S. * Intelligence, U.S. * Iran * Iraq * Islamic North Africa
Islamic Threat * Islamism * Israeli vs. Arabs * Jews & Anti-Semitism
Jihad & Jihadism * Jihad Manifesto I * Jihad Manifesto II * Judges, U.S. Federal
Judicial Appointments * Judiciary, American * Latin America * Latino Separatism
Latino Treason * Lebanon * Leftists/Liberals * Legal Issues
Local Government, U.S. * Marriage & Family * Media Political Bias
Middle East: Arabs * Middle East: Iran * Middle East: Iraq * Middle East: Israel
Middle East: Lebanon * Middle East: Syria * Middle East: Tunisia
Middle East: Turkey * Militant Islam * Military Defense * Military Justice
Military Weaponry * Modern Welfare State * Morality & Decency
National Identity * National Security * Natural Resources * News Media Bias
North Africa * Patriot Act, USA * Patriotism * Political Culture * Political Ideologies
Political Parties * Political Philosophy * Politics, American * Presidency, U.S.
Private Property * Property Rights * Public Assistance * Radical Islam
Religion & America * Rogue States & WMD * Russia * Science & Ethics
Sedition & Treason * Senate, U.S. * Social Welfare Policy * South Africa
State Government, U.S. * Subsaharan Africa * Subversion * Syria * Terrorism 1
Terrorism 2 * Treason & Sedition * Tunisia * Turkey * Ukraine
UnAmerican Activity * UN & Its Agencies * USA Patriot Act * U.S. Foreign Aid
U.S. Infrastructure * U.S. Intelligence * U.S. Senate * War & Peace
Welfare Policy * WMD & Arms Control