➿ Iraq, Vietnam, and the Limits of American Power Free ➶ Author Robert K. Brigham – Horse-zine.co.uk

Iraq, Vietnam, and the Limits of American Power pdf Iraq, Vietnam, and the Limits of American Power , ebook Iraq, Vietnam, and the Limits of American Power , epub Iraq, Vietnam, and the Limits of American Power , doc Iraq, Vietnam, and the Limits of American Power , e-pub Iraq, Vietnam, and the Limits of American Power , Iraq, Vietnam, and the Limits of American Power 80676ffd144 Since The First Days Of The Iraqi Invasion, Supporters Of The War Have Cautioned The Public Not To View This Conflict As Another Vietnam They Rightfully Point To Many Important Distinctions There Is No Unified Resistance In Iraq No Political Or Religious Leader Has Been Able To Galvanize Opposition To US Intervention The Way That Ho Chi Minh Did In Vietnam And It Is Not Likely That , American Troops Will Find Their Way To Iraq However, There Are Two Similarities That May Dwarf The Thousands Of Differences First, In Iraq, Like Vietnam, The Original Rationale For Going To War Has Been Discredited And Public Support Has Dwindled Second, In Both Cases The New Justification Became Building Stable Societies There Are Enormous Pitfalls In America S Nation Building Efforts In Iraq As There Were In Vietnam But It Is The Business We Now Find Ourselves In, And There Is No Easy Retreat From It Morally As American Frustration Increases, Some Policy Makers Are Making The Deadly Mistake Of Approaching Problems In Iraq As If We Are Facing Them For The First Time It Is Crucial That We Apply The Lessons Of Vietnam Wisely And Selectively

10 thoughts on “Iraq, Vietnam, and the Limits of American Power

  1. says:

    Clear, detailed comparison and analysisThis is the kind of book that gets assigned in political science classes at our universities It is reasonable and reasoned Its author, Robert K Brigham, is a professor of history and international relations at Vassar College and an acknowledged expert on the Vietnam War Consequently, he is in a good position to compare and contrast that war with the current one.The war in Iraq differs from that in Vietnam in many important respects nonetheless there are also similarities, is perhaps a good summation of Brigham s thesis Clearly one difference is that in Vietnam we intervened to prop up a regime, whereas in Iraq we invaded in order to destroy a regime Another is that in Vietnam we had the plausible national security justification that we were stopping the spread of communism No such logic could be applied to Iraq, unless of course we accept the notion that maintaining our access to oil in the Middle East is a national security consideration, and that further, invading Iraq would work toward that goal.The similarities include fighting a war against an enemy that has the support of a large segment if not a majority of the population, an enemy that cannot be easily overcome with superior fire power or the use of traditional strategies of conventional warfare Another similarity is that both wars were justified by false reports in Vietnam the Gulf of Tonkin attacks, and in Iraq the weapons of mass destruction that weren t there and the phony connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda A third similarity is that initially both wars enjoyed wide public support and presidents Johnson and George W Bush were given free reign by Congress to pursue their objectives but after many failures and impending defeat, the public and Congress turned against the wars.Professor Brigham points to a number of other similarities and differences in a most compelling way He ends the book with the warning that failure in Iraq may very well lead to an Iraq Syndrome similar to the Vietnam Syndrome that reduced the ability of the United States to act effectively in other parts of the world for many years thereafter We can see that Brigham, whose book was finished sometime between the spring of 2006 and the midterm elections in November, was prescient here since it is painfully obvious that we cannot intervene militarily in Iran to stop their nuclear weapons program because of our failure in Iraq and because we have so many of our military resources tied up there and in Afghanistan and elsewhere.It should be noted that Brigham does not entertain arguments about why Bush invaded Iraq Instead he accepts the neoconservative view that we did it to foster democracy in the Middle East, thereby theoretically increasing national security at home In this he is disingenuous since the real reasons for Bush s invasion of Iraq are at best unclear and at worse shameful Nowhere does Brigham mention oil as a reason for the invasion Instead he writes Idealism and nobility of purpose, then, drove the United States to intervene in Vietnam and Iraq p 138 But the truth is we intervened in Vietnam to oppose communist expansion, and our initial goal ostensibly in Iraq was to depose Saddam Hussein and install a regime friendly to American interests in the region.Sometimes Brigham s expression makes it clear that he realizes that idealism and nobility have little to do with America s foreign policy, such as this formulation, Now after we have seen that there were no WMD or ties to Al Qaeda the war in Iraq can be characterized instead as a nation building experiment to promote democracy p 163 Note well the can be characterized We know and Brigham reminds us that in the Bush Kerry debates, George W made it clear that he didn t believe in nation building Did he change his mind or can nation building be used as a justification for an invasion for other reasons My belief, for what it s worth, is that Bush invaded Iraq primarily for personal reasons to go one up on his dad, to help his Big Oil friends, and to make sure that he, unlike his father, would have the advantage in 2004 of seeking reelection as a wartime president Often Brigham will make a point not by stating it directly, but by attributing it to some segment of the population or the political spectrum For example, he writes, there is a growing feeling among many Americans that the Defense Department is not the place to invest resources for promoting democracy, economic development, and the rule of law But then he follows this up with what clearly IS his own expression Perhaps it is time to embrace the lessons of Vietnam and to understand that democracy cannot be imposed by outsiders p 166 There are five chapters in the book organized in a way that mirrors our experience in the two wars first there is the pretext for war, Chapter One America Goes to War then there is the war itself, Chapter Two The Military Half, and Chapter Three The Problems of Nation Building followed by dealing with the situation as things go sour, Chapter Four Staying the Course and finally the consequences, Chapter Five Challenges to America s Power This is a well thought out, clearly expressed and very nicely edited and presented book directed at both the general reader and professionals For the most part Brigham does not take sides, but limits himself to presenting the facts as he knows them coupled with an informed analysis Dennis Littrell, author of The World Is Not as We Think It Is

  2. says:

    A rather straightforward and conventional look at the similarities between the Vietnam and Iraq wars and their impact on the United States Not overly engaging, though clear and well organized.

  3. says:

    Incidentally a mind piece of anger throughout the relativity of the short war, this book reads the foreign policy problem of communist thought as apart of the youthful identity of soldiers during the 1960 s There is, an unlikely tone set about america s involvement and a heavy focus on the relativity of the soldier s place in the war torn corner of the world near the Vietnam divide.

  4. says:

    A pre Surge 2007 book that explicitly compares the American wars in Vietnam and Iraq It seeks to explore, in some historical depth, the question of how valid relevant insightful the multitude of comparisons between Iraq and Vientam actually are both in terms of historical analogy and in terms of how it might inform a policy debate about the future of Iraq Brigham s understanding of Vietnam is vastly superior to his comfort with Iraq understandable, given his training , but even here, the examination of Vietnam is rather cursory again, likey a function of genre and audience than a lack of knowledge on Brigham s part There is nothing here that will surprise or even require a second thought by most scholars of military history and of the conflicts in Vietnam and Iraq, in particular It is most definitely NOT a book for specialists Lay readers and the general public may get mileage out of it Nonetheless, it does lay out important potential areas for future research and comparisons and warns quite clearly against making too much of historical analogies It deals rather smartly with the critique that they are nothing alike becaue the military tactics, operations, and even strategies are so different, and it illuminates several fo the important congruencies in the two wars ideological fervor, political support, the difficulty of nation building, the problem of long wars, etc Would make a decent undergraduate text especially if supplemented by primary source documents or an introductory analysis to the comparisons so often heard in the public sphere.

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