Why Iraq Is Becoming Vietnam

©2004 Patrick Rooney


Liberals have long dreamed of turning our occupation of Iraq into another Vietnam, a scar on the face of America that they could revel in. I believe in many ways, they are succeeding.

Their latest victory is their success in turning incidents of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison into an indictment of American foreign policy and the President. Our Defense Secretary was dragged before a motley group of Senatorial inquisitors, many of whom don’t have the moral standing to tie his shoe, much less interrogate him.

The “scandal” is the Mai Lai massacre to this generation of liberals, and it reaches them like manna from heaven. They are hoping it is the turning point that allows them to toss dirt onto our Iraqi operation. It follows close on the heels of the Fallujah debacle, where America flinched instead of laying down the boot on crazy cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and his band of fanatical thugs. 

America essentially let human scum get away with murdering our countrymen and desecrating their bodies on worldwide TV. Everyone knew the appropriate response would be to cordon off the city, allow the innocent to escape, and liquidate the terrorists. But we didn’t have the will to follow through, fearing the world would view too many civilian casualties on TV.

The failure cannot be blamed on liberals. After all, they’re not failing—they’re succeeding. It is the decent people of America who are suffering the failure of will. Our president is guilty of the same.

President George W. Bush has proven himself to be a very capable war president, but an uneven president in non-war matters. The reason is that he correctly perceived a need in war to do whatever it took to prevail. But once the hot war was finished in Iraq, he began to filter his decisions through the prism of political consideration. That is a recipe for failure.

When will we learn, I wonder. Vietnam was a humiliating defeat. Not because it was an immoral war, as liberals like to say, but because we failed to let the troops win due to political considerations. Iraq is no different. The Marines could have subdued Fallujah in days, if not hours, if they were given a free hand.

What has all of this political consideration gotten for Mr. Bush and for America? We are so worried about the “Arab street” and what they will think about everything. To hell with the Arab street! The Arab street are the same people who cheered on 9-11.

It is obvious to anyone with half a brain that America is a decent nation, and that terrorists are evil. When wrongdoing is found on our side, it is an anomaly. With terrorists it is their modus operandi. Yet CNN and their ilk continue to produce pieces spotlighting America’s errors in war, and not the daily routine of our bloodthirsty enemies.

President Bush had it right when he long ago called Iraq, Iran, and North Korea the “axis of evil.” We would have done well to quickly move as needed against these enemies. But indecision, weakness, and lack of preparation have caused the Iraq campaign to languish. Its overall slowness is killing whatever support and goodwill the administration may have had for future campaigns.

On September 11th, 2001, fanatical terrorists made clear that they had declared war on us. This would be a war of annihilation—either theirs or ours—there was no third solution.

Currently we have the world’s terrorists right where we want them—coming to us in Iraq. Would we prefer they come back to New York City. Or perhaps Los Angeles, or Chicago?

Are we naïve enough to think that if we walk away from Iraq, we won’t be followed home? That the world’s terrorists won’t correctly gather that we are running away with our tail between our legs? Look what happened when we left Vietnam—mass graves and lost prestige.

Lack of will was our true enemy in Vietnam. We must exorcize this demon, or we will be condemned to repeat history.