web analytics
September 19, 2014 / 24 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Is Iraq America’s Second Vietnam?


Nowadays many people claim our situation In Iraq is becoming more and more like it was in Vietnam. One major criticism of our effort in Vietnam was the absence of an exit strategy. In war planning the term “exit strategy” doesn’t necessarily mean cut and run, as some mistakenly believe. Rather, it is simply defining how you plan to bring the war to an end. In Vietnam, it was beyond the capabilities of both the Johnson and Nixon administrations to devise such a strategy.

During World War II, when the term “exit strategy” was not yet in vogue, the goal for ending the war was nonetheless clear to everyone: unconditional surrender on the part of both Germany and Japan. If that war had been fought in today’s more politically correct atmosphere, we might have said the goal was to bring democracy to the German and Japanese people. Though today’s Americans might find it strange, the fact is that neither the Germans nor the Japanese really wanted democracy. Both Hitler and the Japanese militarist government were vastly more popular than the democratic regimes that preceded them. In the end, we had to force democracy on Germany and Japan.

In order to do that we not only bombed military targets but deliberately bombed civilian neighborhoods in Berlin, Hamburg, Dresden, Tokyo and, of course, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. All this was done in the belief we would bring the war to a quicker end and it was therefore better to kill more of their civilians than to lose more of our military people. It doesn’t appear as if that sort of thinking would be acceptable today.

In Vietnam, we had no intention of conquering the North and forcing democracy on it. If indeed we had a goal, it was one for which we as a people were and still are totally unsuited: namely, to try to wear out the North until it grew so exhausted it would leave South Vietnam alone. For North Vietnam the goal was clear: to conquer the South – which it did, as we were the ones who wore out while the North Vietnamese persisted.

On the other hand, the liberation of France is an aspect of World War II that we can still identify with. The French liked their prewar democracy and overwhelmingly wanted democracy back. And so they greeted our troops with flowers, hugs and kisses.

Iraq, however, is nothing like France in 1944. Unlike France, there is no tradition of democracy in Iraq. Further, France is the creation of the French people, whereas Iraq was never created by the Iraqis but by force by Great Britain in 1920 at a cost of British lives and money. Iraq has never really known democracy and the only way truly civilized democracy can ever be imposed on Iraq is by force, something the U.S. is not inclined to do. We are not about to force the Iraqis into submission because, unlike the Germans and Japanese, we do not see them as enemies.

When we first went into Iraq we could have given Iraqis a chance to decide what sort of country they wanted. We should have let them choose whether they wanted three countries (Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish) or a unified Iraq. Either way, the people would have had the opportunity to create their own country (or countries) – something they had never done before. (Turkey may not have liked that, but let the Turks go in and deal with the whole mess.) You would at least have a basis for democracy.

Instead, we insist that Iraq be held together whether the people want it or not, but we are not about to employ the brute force needed to stabilize it, even though that would reduce our casualties over the long run. So what options remain?

In Vietnam we were told the North Vietnamese were part of “international Communism” and had to be stopped (but not conquered) lest not just South Vietnam but all the countries of Southeast Asia fall one by one, like a row of standing dominoes, to Communism.

In Iraq all you have to do is replace “international Communism” with “international terrorism.” During the Vietnam era I couldn’t make up my mind if I was for the war or against it. But what was clear to me were the words of Gen. MacArthur: “It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Is Iraq America’s Second Vietnam?”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A mother greets her lone soldier at Ben-Gurion airport.
El Al Reunites Parents of Lone Soldiers from ‘Protective Edge’ for Rosh Hashanah
Latest Indepth Stories
IDF lone soldier and  David Menachem Gordon (z"l).

Why has his death been treated by some as an invitation for an emotional “autopsy”?

Starck-091914

SWOT analysis: Assessing resources, internal Strengths&Weaknesses; external Opportunities&Threats.

Kohn-091914

Strategy? For the longest time Obama couldn’t be bothered to have one against a sworn enemy.

Miller-091914

Seventeen visual skills are needed for success in school, sports, and everyday life.

We started The Jewish Press. Arnie was an integral part of the paper.

Fear alone is substantial; without fusing it to beauty, fear doesn’t reach its highest potential.

Fortunate are we to have Rosh Hashanah for repentance, a shofar to awaken heavenly mercy.

Arab leaders who want the US to stop Islamic State are afraid of being dubbed traitors and US agents

National Lawyers Guild:Sworn enemy of Israel & the legal arm of Palestinian terrorism since the ’70s

A little less than 10 percent of eligible Democratic voters came out on primary day, which translates into Mr. Cuomo having received the support of 6.2 percent of registered Democrats.

The reality, though, is that the Israeli “war crimes” scenario will likely be played out among highly partisan UN agencies, NGOs, and perhaps even the International Criminal Court.

Peace or the lack of it between Israel and the Palestinians matters not one whit when it comes to the long-term agenda of ISIS and other Islamists, nor does it affect any of the long-running inter-Arab conflicts and wars.

Rather than serving as a deterrent against terrorist attacks, Israel’s military strength and capabilities are instead looked at as an unfair advantage in the asymmetrical war in which it finds itself.

Sisi:”The religious nature of the Middle East creates challenges for the governing authorities.”

More Articles from Harry Eisenberg

A recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution political cartoon depicted Rudy Giuliani attempting to explain his campaign strategy: “The strategy is, lose every primary and become the Republican nominee.” To which his listeners replied: “So far so good.”

Due to term limits, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg stands to be out of office come January 1, 2010, a thought he may not relish. Hence, while he continues to deny it, his aides keep sending out trial balloons alluding to an independent run at the presidency.

In the aftermath of the Six-Day War, Israelis were convinced that peace with the Arabs was finally at hand. That thinking was based on the notion that the war had proven Israel’s invincible presence in the region. If Israel was unbeatable, they reasoned, what choice would the Arabs have other than to make peace?

It comes across as a classic Right-Left dispute. Liberals, led by Al Gore, claim global warming is due mainly to human activity and something must be done before it is too late. Conservatives question that and are quick to accuse the Left of scare tactics fueled by a desire to expand the powers of government. Yet if we put our emotions aside, reasonable discourse can take place and rational conclusions can be drawn.

Nowadays many people claim our situation In Iraq is becoming more and more like it was in Vietnam. One major criticism of our effort in Vietnam was the absence of an exit strategy. In war planning the term “exit strategy” doesn’t necessarily mean cut and run, as some mistakenly believe. Rather, it is simply defining how you plan to bring the war to an end. In Vietnam, it was beyond the capabilities of both the Johnson and Nixon administrations to devise such a strategy.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/is-iraq-americas-second-vietnam/2007/04/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: