View Full Version : Experts: 'Iraq war will inflict greater damage to U.S. interests than Vietnam did'

04-29-2007, 01:57 PM
From The Washington Post (
War Called Riskier Than Vietnam
Military Experts Fretful Over Long-Term Consequences
By Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 29, 2007; A19

President Bush recently said that "there's a lot of differences" between the current war in Iraq and the Vietnam War.

As fighting in Iraq enters its fifth year, an increasing number of experts in foreign policy and national strategy are arguing that the biggest difference may be that the Iraq war will inflict greater damage to U.S. interests than Vietnam did.

"In terms of the consequences of failure, the stakes are much bigger than Vietnam," said former defense secretary William S. Cohen. "The geopolitical consequences are . . . potentially global in scope."

About 17 times as many U.S. troops died in the Vietnam War -- the longest war in U.S. history -- as have been lost in Iraq, the nation's third-longest war. Also, despite widespread public dissatisfaction with the Iraq war, the debate over it has not convulsed American society to the extent seen during the Vietnam conflict. However, Vietnam does not have oil and is not in the middle of a region crucial to the global economy and festering with terrorism, experts say, leading many of them to conclude that the long-term effects of the Iraq war will be worse for the United States.

"It makes Vietnam look like a cakewalk," said retired Air Force Gen. Charles F. Wald, a veteran of the Vietnam War. The domino theory that nations across Southeast Asia would go communist was not fulfilled, he noted, but with Iraq, "worst-case scenarios are the most likely thing to happen."

Iraq is worse than Vietnam "in so many ways," agreed Andrew F. Krepinevich Jr., a retired Army officer and author of one of the most respected studies of the U.S. military's failure in Vietnam. "We knew what we were getting into in Vietnam. We didn't here."

Also, President Richard M. Nixon used diplomacy with China and the Soviet Union to exploit the split between them and so minimize the fallout of Vietnam. By contrast, Krepinevich said, the Bush administration has "magnified" the problems of Iraq by neglecting public diplomacy in the Muslim world and by not developing an energy policy to reduce the significance of Middle Eastern oil.

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05-02-2007, 12:59 AM
I think this is a war where America loses, despite the outcome.

If we pull out now, we'll save a few hundred billion dollars, but chaos will consume the region and greatly affect the economy, making the money saved worthless in the long run.

If we stay, we'll end up spending hundreds of billions, maybe trillions, of US dollars and lose thousands of American lives, while maintaining a still violent, yet less chaotic condition in the Middle East. The price of oil will continue to go up and the value of the dollar will continue to decline, mostly because of our nation's debt to other countries as a result of our endless spending, for things like the war.

So either way, we lose. This situation is much like giving your lunch money to the school bully in exchange for being spared a potential beating. Drag this out over a period of years and little Billy's going to suffer one way or the other, whether it's a black eye or an empty stomach. Pick your poison.