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Iraq & Vietnam


Submitted By kirklandyng
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Iraq & Vietnam: A comparison and contrast
Kirkland Young
HUMN 410
Professor Harris

Introduction Many pundits who opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq now compare it to the invasion of Vietnam by viewing the daily attacks on U.S. soldiers as indications of repeating mistakes that were made in Vietnam. In their view, “the United States has yet again stumbled into a foreign quagmire – a protracted and indecisive political and military struggle from which they are not likely to remove themselves without considerable loss of life and currency.” (Terrill, p. 1) However, profound differences separate the domestic and international objectives of the Vietnam and Iraq wars even though there are many similarities these similarities can be misleading. The Vietnam War was over the spread of communism in the Indochina region of the world. The French and the Japanese had been thoroughly conquered by the Vietnamese led by a Ho Chi Minh who had an overwhelming amount of support from his compatriots. In 1954 the president of the U.S.A. attempted to divide the country of Vietnam into two opposing governments. Selecting a former Vietnamese official named Ngo Dinh Diem and planting him in South Vietnam to oppose the elections that would unite the country. This was done because an intelligence estimate showed that the election would be won by Ho Chi Minh and thus would give “control of the associated states (Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam) in the region – the three parts of Indochina created by the Geneva Conference to Communist government control.” (Zinn, p. 472) President Eisenhower and the U.S. Government believed that if one country became communist then the surrounding countries would also become communist and this belief became known as the Domino Theory. JFK adopted this theory and kept the policies of former presidents Eisenhower and Truman concerning

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