Like all analogies, the now clich© comparison between the war in Iraq and the war in Vietnam has its merits and limitations.
On two fronts, it seems to work.
First is the potential impact of declining domestic support for the war as casualties mount without end. President Bush’s astonishing 36 percent job approval rating – lower than Nixon’s at the height of Watergate – can be blamed in large part on the course of the war. Assuming that the military strategy carries on, when will we reach the political breaking point?
Second is the impact of the war on U.S. ground forces. My colleague Larry Korb likes to remind us that Gen. Maxwell Taylor, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for President Lyndon Johnson, said that while we sent the Army to Vietnam to save Vietnam, we had to withdraw from Vietnam to save the Army. Iraq has had much the same effect, stretching the Army and Marines to their limits through repeated deployments and by unprecedented use of the Guard and Reserves. So much for President Bush’s promise to our armed forces in the 2000 campaign that “help is on the way.” Read more