Wednesday, April 14, 2004

U.S.: Comparing Iraq and Vietnam: A Top 12 List

Kudos to Clyde at

Senator Kennedy’s “Iraq is George Bush’s Vietnam” speech has prompted many comparisons of the two wars. As much as I hate media sound bites and talking points, I must admit that sometimes a bullet list can bring clarity and perspective to an emotionally heated debate. Since I don’t really blog, I can’t resist offering my own “Top 12” list here, a condensed version of a comparison issued April 8th by the Senate Republican Policy Committee.

1 How many U.N. Security Council resolutions were ignored by the enemy?
Vietnam: 0
Iraq: 17

2 When were forces sent, and when was use of force authorized?
Vietnam: 1961. Congress authorized in 1964 (and repealed in Jan. 1971).
Iraq: March 2003. Congress authorized use of force in October 2002.

3 How many troops were sent, overall?
Vietnam: Approximately 3.5 million from 1964-75; about 2 million were draftees
Iraq: 466,985 as of April 30, 2003; all are volunteers

4 How many US soldiers died?
Vietnam: 58,178 (including about 20,000 draftees)
Iraq: about 719 to date

5 How many allies joined the US?
Vietnam: 8
Iraq: 30+, including 16 of 26 NATO allies

6 How many people were liberated?
Vietnam: 0
Iraq: 25 million

7 How long to liberate the capitol?
Vietnam: (Hanoi) never happened during 11 years of war
Iraq: (Baghdad) less than 30 days after war started

8 How long to capture or kill the enemy leader?
Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh was never captured
Iraq: 9 months after war began

9 What happened to the local population?
Vietnam: many fled and were murdered by Pol Pot; many others fled by boat and died
Iraq: some fled before or during the war, but almost all have returned to build democracy

10 How many ethnic & religious factions had to be reconciled, post-war?
Vietnam: the Communist government “eliminated” these
Iraq: Sunni, Shia, Kurd, Christian, Assyrian, Hebrew and others.

11 How quickly did the minority in Congress vote against funding the soldiers?
Vietnam: 9 years after Kennedy sent forces in
Iraq: 7 months after Bush sent forces in

12 Who won or lost the war?
Vietnam: Congress, when it abandoned South Vietnam after the peace treaty
Iraq: to be determined


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