View Full Version : Analysis: Parallels Between Iraq, Vietnam

05-27-2006, 10:45 AM
26 May Associated Press - Analysis: Parallels Between Iraq, Vietnam (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/26/AR2006052601000.html) by Charles Hanley.

The silhouettes that roar through the Baghdad twilight are sleeker than the helicopters of an earlier time. The wind brings dust, not drenching monsoons. The river snaking seaward is called Tigris, not Mekong. And this war's not fought to the wail of Jimi Hendrix's guitar.

But half a world away and half a lifetime later, a long shadow from a long-ago conflict hangs over the U.S. war in Iraq - in its "body counts" and "turning points," its Claymore mines and Kalashnikovs, its "hearts and minds" and "search and destroy," its antiwar voices rising back home...

Unlike the single-minded foe in Vietnam, the anti-U.S. resistance here is fragmented, without a political program. That war was bigger - 543,000 U.S. troops in 1969, facing hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese fighters, compared with 130,000 Americans here, versus perhaps 20,000 insurgents. It was a disgruntled, draftee U.S. Army then, unlike today's all-volunteer force. And U.S. casualty rates were much higher: an average 19 Americans killed a day over eight years in Vietnam, compared with two a day here.

But for all the contrasts in scale, this U.S. military operation - far from American shores, bent on shaping the political future of another land, facing a resourceful resistance, trying to hand off the fight to local allies, and fast losing support at home - shows important parallels to Vietnam, the last counterinsurgency war fought by U.S. forces...