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View Diary: Iraq is NOT Vietnam. Iraq is NOT Vietnam. Iraq is NOT Vietnam. Iraq is NOT Vietnam. Iraq is . . . (295 comments)

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  •  Correct... (3+ / 0-)

    about the civil war issue.  The major reason why this Vietnam analogy fails is that Vietnam had a strong national identity for a thousand years - and the Viet Cong had some legitimacy as a national liberation movement.  There were some regional differences between north and south, but nothing like Iraq.  In Iraq, national identity is far weaker, supplanted more and more by ethnic or sectarian identities. It is hard to imagine that a truly Iraqi resistence could form that would unite Kurd, Shia' and Sunni communities.    

    •  Would not take a unified resistance (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It would not take a unified resistance to be dangerous. Individual forces could attack both other ethnic and sectarian groups and American troops.

      The dispersal of American troops makes them vulnerable in the strongholds of the various ethnic factions.  It will take rapid concentration of troops to avoid this danger.  If all American troops are concentrated in, say Baghdad and Erbil, then there is the possibility of rapidly exiting the country.  But there is not this concentration of troops and Bush's resolve is to keep them dispersed in "trouble areas".

      A unified resistance is not necessary for this to turn into a disaster.

      •  I'm in Iraq at the moment (9+ / 0-)

        ...and I can assure you, nobody has anywhere near the strength to cause a collapse of the US presence or cut off and defeat isolated US troops, at least not yet.  The US can go wherever it pleases, and convoys routinely travel in and out of the most dangerous areas, such as Ramadi and Hit on the Euphrates.  In fact, the international zone (i.e. Green Zone) is more secure than in 2004, not less.  US forces are attacked on patrol all the time, but forces remaining inside the perimeter of their bases are actually taking fewer mortar hits and none of the insurgent groups are even remotely capable of staging an organized attack like they did on the US compound in Mosul in 2005. There will be no "Tet" offensive in Iraq... not unless we provoke an out and out conflict with the Shia' by doing something stupid like assassinating or arresting Sadr.

        The bottom line is even the insurgents understand that the US won't leave before the US is good and ready to leave.  Instead of directing their energy at throwing the US out of Iraq, Sunni insurgents and Shia' militias are directing their weapons at each other.  Shia' militias and the Sunni insurgents are fighting to establish homogenous neighborhoods in Baghdad, and fighting over whether the Sunni insurgency will be able to create a gap between Baghdad and the primarily Shia' south.  This is why Mahmudiyyah, Latifiyyah and Iskanderiyyah are so violent at the moment.  The war is less about the occupation, and more about Iraqi groups trying to determine who comes out on top when the US leaves. In this regard, Iraq is also very different from Vietnam.  The split-up of the country is becoming a more and more likely outcome, and the US is trying desperately to create a single national government that has virtually no mandate outside of Baghdad.  Others see opportunity and are starting to sieze control of neighborhoods, provinces, resources, expecting - correctly - that the US occupation can't last forever.  Again, that's totally different from Vietnam.  

        •  Thanks (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          viscerality, Raptor

          This is the sort of information that is not being delivered in the States.  All we are getting is more propaganda about how Iraq is like WWII.  And asking that we clap harder.

          Stay safe.  And best wishes to all the guys and gals stuck over there in the mess.

        •  And what happens if (0+ / 0-)

          we do anything to Iran? What would the Iraqis do then? What if the Iranians start coming over the border, possibly at the invitation of the Iraqi govt?

          •  Attacking Iran (0+ / 0-)

            would be a far bigger disaster than the Iraq invasion.  Iran is positioned to really cause the US heartache in Iraq, and nobody in Iraq wants the US and Iran to fight.  Except al-Qaeda and some of the Sunni extremists, who feel that this will force the Arab world to support renewed Sunni domination of Iraq. The irony is that attacking Iran would benefit al-Qaeda more than anyone else.  

        •  Interesting analysis. Not sure what it means (0+ / 0-)

          for an army in the field to be able to protect itself but not the population.  Sounds like a fort.  Or a lot of forts.  But in the meantime, 25 million Iraqis (or maybe 24 by now) are left to their own devices?

          Thank God for Judge Anna Diggs Taylor, the first federal judge to defend the Fourth Amendment from domestic barbarians...

          by Fasaha on Fri Sep 08, 2006 at 03:36:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Tudo Street (3+ / 0-)

          Sorry, but in Viet Nam we were able to go anywhere in the cities alone.  There was no place in the country we couldn't take a convoy - so fucking what?

          I am stunned that you guys after 3 1/2 years can't go to dinner in downtown Baghdad.  

          You are in a lot deeper shit than we were in VN, and yet  . . .

          Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction. - Pascal

          by Clem Yeobright on Fri Sep 08, 2006 at 04:45:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Good points... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Clem Yeobright

            ...I can't go to dinner in Baghdad, that's correct.  I'd suggest that the center in Iraq is collapsing, but the periphery is a lot more stable.  This is different than in Vietnam, where the Viet Kong were able to infiltrate the countryside and eventually close in on the cities.  In Iraq, there is essentially no war in the Kurdish region, which is getting stronger  (I can get dinner or walk without fear or escort in Kurdistan).  The US presence in the Shia' areas of the south and center-south is less than before, and most of these areas are actually relatively stable.  One can't really speak of a war in Karbala, Najaf, Nasiriyyah or most of the south.  There is some fighting between Shia' political parties in Basra, but this is not the same as a gradual takeover of the state by one liberation movement, as was the case in VN.  In fact, the Shia' have so far decided not to directly fight the US in a serious way - yet.  In Vietnam, you had a national liberation movement that destabilized and controlled the periphery and eventually infiltrated the cities.  In Iraq, you have a bad civil war, and an insurgency in about 20% of the population, but deep splits in the population that render the security situation, the risks, and the economy very different in each region.

    •  Perhaps, a grafting of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shia' and Iranian efforts which propels the Sunnis into an alliance with the Kurds (who are already thinking in terms of independence)? When we started this war I thought that there would end up 3 states where there had been one, because they each have had their major differences for 1000-1500 years. Maybe it doesn't matter what we call it, civil war, or the Sunni/Kurdish/Shia' wars for independence. People still will die.

      "The healthy man does not torture others - generally it is the tortured who turn into torturers. " Jung

      by sailmaker on Fri Sep 08, 2006 at 10:52:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Kurds and Sunni politicians... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TarheelDem, viscerality, sailmaker, kurt

        ...are not likely to join together to counter Shia' domination.  There are three reasons for this.  First, some of the Shia' parties (SCIRI for example) are far more willing to grant Kurdish autonomy than the Sunni Arab politicians and the Sunni populace, who reject even limited autonomy for the Kurds. Second, the Kurds suffered at the hands of Sunni-dominated security forces and army, and most Kurds do not feel the same degree of antipathy toward the Shia' who were sidelined or victims of the Ba'ath security services. Third, and contrary to popular wisdom, the Shia' political parties are not passive puppets of Iran.  They have their own agenda, and the Kurds recognize this far better than the pundocracy in the US because they, too, negotiate with Iran.  There are tensions - the Kurds distrusted Jaafari and intensely dislike Sadr - but the Kurds and the Shia' are not likely to come into conflict any time soon.

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