I won't take it any more
Is Iraq another Vietnam?
 - Is Iraq another Vietnam? - - art  - photography - by Tony Karp
I call this picture "The face of war." I first posted it before the start of the war. Today is the fourth anniversary of Bush's "Mission Accomplished" carrier landing. Time for a critical look at Bush's War.


Yes, because...

Both wars were sold to us by deceit.

In both wars there was a gradual escalation....

Both wars were eventually seen as unwinnable quagmires.

In both wars, the US Installed a puppet government.

In both wars, there was the promise that the country will eventually be able to defend itself.

In both wars, the gains were expressed as body counts.

In both wars, there were fake progress reports distributed regularly by the military and the administration.

In both conflicts, a willing press unquestioningly echoed the administration's words.

No, because...

Vietnam lasted through five presidencies. Like the mythical frog in a pot of water, slowly brought to a boil, the slow start of the Vietnam conflict during the Eisenhower presidency in the late 1950's was tied into our struggle against the perceived threat of Communism. Expressed as the "Domino Theory," it held that if one country fell to Communism, others, like a row of tumbling dominoes, would soon follow. The conflict lasted through the Ford presidency when South Vietnam finally capitulated.

The Iraq War, on the other hand, is owned by George W Bush.

Our escalation in Vietnam began in 1964, after a perceived attack on American assets. Iraq offered no threat to us.

The run-up to the Iraq war led to alienation of traditional American allies. France, Germany, China, Russia among others warned Bush of the consequences of attacking Iraq. They were ignored and punished by the Bush administration.

Iraq is the first war to be marketed to the American public, and to the world as well. George Bush became a traveling salesman for war.

The Iraq War is the first war in which an American president took a personal victory lap (that aircraft carrier thing).

Iraq is our first preemptive war, started against a country at peace, a country that posed no immediate threat to us.

America has gone to war for lots of reasons, but this is America's first war for personal profit of the administration and their friends. (Ask Vice-President Cheney how his Halliburton stock is doing.)

The Iraq War has led to theft and corruption on an unprecedented level - Hundreds of billions of dollars in graft, theft, no-bid contracts, uncompleted projects, and funds gone missing.

Our first real use of mercenaries, with names like Blackwater and CACI - a private army paid for with our taxes.

Different wounds. In Vietnam, most wounds were from gunfire or grenades. In Iraq, it's from roadside bombs. Medical care is better, but the number of badly wounded is higher. Loss of limbs and brain injuries are the "signature wounds" of Iraq.

The Vietnam War was fought in the jungles and on the plains of the countryside. The conflict in Iraq is an urban war, taking place in the large cities and towns of the country.

During Vietnam, there was a limit as to how much time a soldier could spend there. In Iraq, there is no limits due to troops serving multiple tours and have their time in Iraq extended, both to make up for a lack of forces.

During the Vietnam war, there was a tax increase to fund the war, and a draft to provide the necessary manpower. The Iraq War is being fought without a draft and with tax cuts for the wealthy and for Bush's corporate friends. As a result, our armed forces are near the breaking point and our grandchildren will be paying the costs of this conflict.

Another thing that's different is the ability of the current technology to bypass the traditional channels for disseminating news about the war. Anyone can post news or opinions, and it's available to everyone via the Internet. (Thanks, Al Gore.)

Vietnam was a conflict with a well-defined enemy. In Iraq, nobody knows who the enemy is, or what would constitute victory.

Vietnam, in the 1960's, was a third-world country, composed of small villages, with only a few large cities. Iraq, by contrast, was a modern civilized country, a secular country where women had equal rights. Bush has destroyed Iraq and its infrastructure. It cannot be rebuilt.

The treasures of Iraq, both in museums and at archeological sites, dating back thousands of years, have been looted and destroyed, thanks to Bush's incompetence.

Iraq introduced things like torture and indefinite detention to America. The horrors of Abu Ghraib are just the tip of the iceberg. The Bush administration, along with a compliant Republican congress, passed legislation "legalizing" these atrocities.

The Iraq conflict brought violations of international treaties and accepted rules of war. The Geneva conventions were dubbed as "quaint" by the Bush administration.

Unlike Vietnam, there were anti-war protests before the war had actually begun. There were massive protests worldwide before the war.

In Vietnam, the enemy was already there when we arrived. In Iraq, there was no enemy when we arrived. The insurgency that grew there is in response to the American presence.

Iraq had huge arms dumps housing conventional weapons. They were left unguarded and were used to arm insurgents and terrorists.

Iraq had nuclear waste dumps, once under UN seal. They were looted to provide nuclear material to any group that wanted it.

Violation of UN charter, and failure to act in accord with the UN. Neither the invasion nor the occupation was sanctioned by the UN. The arms inspectors, sanctioned by the UN, were not allowed to complete their work, as it would have shown that Iraq had no weapons.

War crimes: Beginning an aggressive war. Treatment of prisoners. Treatment of civilians. These were sanctioned by the highest level of the Bush administration.

The Iraq War has created a refugee crisis, the like of which has not been seen since World War II.

The war has destroyed America's armed forces. It will take lots of time and money to rebuild them. The National Guard can longer fulfill its task in dealing with domestic disasters such as the aftermath of hurricanes.

The Iraq conflict was used politically by the Bush administration as a tool in winning elections.

In the end, it was all about the oil. Iraq has the world's second largest oil reserves, and the oil is of a higher quality. The Bush administration thought that it would be a good thing to control it. Unfortunately, even this aspect has been a miserable failure.

We were able to walk away from Vietnam, leaving the country pretty much as we found it. This won't be possible with Iraq. George Bush has destroyed an entire country.

Vietnam was a mistake. Iraq is a war crime.

The world forgave us for Vietnam. It will not forgive us for Iraq.
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