Vietnam & Iraq Is there a parallel?A look comparing & contrasting the 2 wars
CausesVietnam Iraq• Stop spread of communism • Stop the tyrant government and Ho Chi Minh’s tyranny of Saddam Hussein• U.S.S. Maddox incident • 9/11 incident used as justification
How do the troop levels and casualties compare?Vietnam Iraq• U.S. Involvement 1950-1975 • U.S. invasion March 20, 2003- present.• Started as only military advisers being sent. By 1969, over 500,000 • Troops in Iraq – highest total Aug. American troops were in Vietnam 2007: 162,000. As of February 28, 2010: 98,000. As of May 2011:• Nearly 58,000 American soldiers 46,000. All other nations have died. withdrawn their troops.• 153,000 wounded • U.S. Troop Casualties - 4,450• 30% of US troops develop ptsd • Wounded - 32,075 • 15-20% of US troops develop serious mental health problems within 3 to 4 months of returning home
How Americans viewed the warSimilarities Differences• In both conflicts public • In Vietnam conflict the support weakened as time support of military leaders and elapsed. soldiers weakened. Soldiers• Both experienced a treated with indifference and creditability gap because of even hostility when returned images displayed on TV. home. Media played a role in the • In Iraq, although approval of diminishing public opinion. the war has decreased, the public continues to support troops and welcome them home.
Public Opinion Vietnam• Support for the war was at its height in 1965 when the U.S. government pushed for support in sending more troops to Vietnam.• After three years a negative opinion of the war bypassed the positive support• Mostly negative opinion after eight years of war.
Public Opinion Iraq• March 2003: 22% Americans say U.S. led invasion was a bad decision. 75% supported the invasion.• April 2007: 58% felt the invasion was a mistake.• Nov. 2008: 63% disprove the war in Iraq.
Views of the War & Military
Protest Movements• Although both wars lost public support as time went on, the protesting against the Vietnam war created a lot of social upheaval. – Vietnam protesting divided the U.S.. There were numerous protests across the nation, especially on college campuses. – Vietnam protests were on media regularly.• Many youth protested Vietnam because of the draft. – If there was a draft enacted for Iraq, do you think there were be more protesting?
Other Similarities1) The goals for both wars led U.S. to fight in other neighboring countries. – Vietnam: U.S. invasion and bombing of Cambodia. – Iraq: Involved in war in Afghanistan and attacking terrorist outposts in Pakistan. as well, as part of war on terrorism.2) Both wars fought primarily with U.S troops – Vietnam: French pulled out of area quickly. – Iraq: Coalition forces have all pulled troops out of area.
Other Similarities3) Both wars fought on the Asian Continent which caused difficulty for U.S. troops. - Vietnam in Southeast Asia (Jungle Fighting) - Iraq in the Middle East (Sandstorms) - Both were far away from American soil4) American air power and advanced weapons did not lead to quick victory. - Air power used to destroy supplies, buildings and troops. - Enemy fought in a “guerilla” style.5) Financial Cost of War - Vietnam War $120 billion. Ended LBJ’s Great Society and also put U.S. in debt. -Iraq $900billion (As of Nov 2011), with a huge U.S. debt and economic problems on the home front.
Other Differences• Recruitment of soldiers – Vietnam used a draft – Iraq used enlisted and volunteer soldiers.• Tours of Duty – Vietnam: Serve one tour and you are done. – Iraq: Multiple tours of duty without soldier’s choice.• Improved and advanced weapons, body armor and medical treatment for Iraq War. – Does this play a role in there being less casualties? – Also a reason for such a greater financial cost.• Age of Soldier – Vietnam 19 – Iraq 27
Will the Outcomes Compare?South Vietnam fell quickly after U.S. withdrew all troops from Vietnam. Will Iraq?Today, we have a diplomatic relationship with Vietnam… will we have good relations with Iraq in the future?