Rich Lowry

 It turns out that there is no cure for the Vietnam Syndrome. Liberal baby boomers contracted it sometime in the late 1960s or early 1970s and have been infected ever since. Now they command the heights of the American media and political establishment, and are predictably filling the air with cries of "Iraq is another Vietnam."

    In the syndrome-addled brains of the press and liberal politicians, the U.S. military is caught in a Groundhog Day, forever re-fighting the same war. We were told that the first Gulf War, the Afghan War and the initial invasion of Iraq were all doomed to collapse into repeats of Vietnam. The only reason President Reagan's invasion of Grenada wasn't said to be another Vietnam is that it ended before reporters could file stories saying we were "bogged down."

    The differences between Iraq and Vietnam are much starker than the similarities, starting with the fact that in Vietnam we were confronting a force abetted by a rival superpower. But the Vietnam Syndrome is a hopeless condition. So let's speak a language that liberals can understand: Iraq is another Vietnam. Fallujah is another Tet. And that's exactly why our cause is just, necessary and can succeed, so long as the Left doesn't create a self-fulfilling prophecy of defeat -- just like it did ... in Vietnam.

    In all the commentary and Ted Kennedy speeches about Vietnam, no one mentions that our adversary there was vicious and murderous, deliberately slaughtering civilians as a strategic choice. In Iraq, our enemy is just as bloody. Saddam Hussein littered the country with mass graves, and our enemies now murder innocents without a flutter of remorse. Just as the United States in Vietnam sought to protect the Vietnamese people from conscienceless tyranny, Iraq has been a war of liberation seeking a better future for Iraqis.

    Can we succeed? The unrest in Fallujah and the Moqtada al-Sadr revolt have prompted comparisons to the Tet offensive. They are apt, just not how the people making them intend. Tet was a disaster for the Viet Cong. The South Vietnamese people resolutely refused to rally to its cause, and the Viet Cong suffered devastating losses. Al-Sadr today is retreating after Shiites rejected his putsch. In Fallujah, the United States is inflicting stiff casualties on the enemy. The insurgents there have done us the enormous Tet-like favor of presenting themselves to be killed.


Rich Lowry

Rich Lowry is author of Legacy: Paying the Price for the Clinton Years .
 
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