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The Analogy of Iraq and Vietnam War

Nearly seven years ago, the whole world was shaken by the eventful attack ignited against the United States of America by the yet unknown terrorists. The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, located at the heart of New York City and considered as the center of U. S industrial and economic prowess was destroyed when two hijacked planes were used to launch the attack. September 11, 2001 marked a very important day in the world’s history when four commercial jet airliners were hijacked by 19 terrorists affiliated with Al-Qaeda and crashed on the Twin Towers.

American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Fight 175 collided on the sides of the Twin Towers that destroyed the whole building and as well caused damage on neighbouring establishments. The third plane, the American Airline Flight 77 targeted the Pentagon located at Arlington, Virginia. While the fourth aircraft, United Airlines Flight 93 had gone astray and instead crashed on a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania (Ben- Shaul 73). The attack killed almost 3,000 innocent lives and blotched the unstained reputation of the United States as an invulnerable country.

The entire country was put to unrest – New York City was put on a halt, while the Wall Street and Stock Exchange were shut down for the day. The United States of America, despite of its strong hold as an economic and political world power, came to face the greatest catastrophe they would have never imagined. And even at the very moment that we speak, the spot where the towers once stood was “Ground Zero”, a reminder of the horrifying event and an act to honour and remember the unnecessary sacrifices of those who died on the attack.

Sooner than expected, Osama Bin Laden surfaced on the scene and declared himself as the main perpetrator of the attack in US. He claimed that the U. S, even as they stand as the most powerful nation in the world, is still vulnerable. This declaration immediately steered the United States Defense Department into action and prompted a mass manhunt for Bin Laden in the Middle East. Promptly, President George W. Bush declared a “war on terror,” which posed Iraq as the major target and main opponent as they have been involved in the terrorist attacks (“The Iraq Crisis”).

In addition, they have suspected and announced through the Washington Times that Saddam Hussein, former Iraqi president, made contact with Osama Bin Laden in Czechoslovakia. However, the hostility between Iraq and the US has existed even before the attack against the US was launched. Iraq has declared “no fly zones” within their territory, and frequently US and British planes have served as targets whenever they crossed the Iraqi territory (Burns n. p).

In line with Iraq’s deliberate disobedience of the international policies, the article by Robert Burns reiterated the proclamation made by the United Nations under the Resolution 1441 that specifically addressed Iraq’s violation of being unable comply with UN’s international policies. Highlighting these violations is Iraq’s seemingly threatening hostile act against UN member states (Burns n. p). First of which, is the threat that Iraq poses to the international community with their suspected illegal proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and long-range missiles.

Second, the international community upon the calls from UN, Iraq is obliged to cooperate in order to restore international peace and security. This however, is related to UN principle all UN member states must partake in every necessary measure that will aid in restoring and maintaining international peace (“Security Council Resolutions – 2002” n. p). In line with Iraq’s disobedience of these laws and policies, and their refusal to accommodate UN member’s personnel to have their acquired weapons inspected; United States, backed up by contingent forces from Britain, Australia, Poland and Denmark, launched the invasion against Iraq.

The US forced their way against Iraq with the goal to disarm them from their weapons of mass destruction, and to put an end to Saddam Hussein’s terrorist administration thus freeing the Iraqi people (Kettell 1). At the onset of the war, concerned citizens formed groups to condemn the war and put a halt to the unrest that it has caused across nations. The involvement of the British forces in the war has been put in question. Majority of the people expressed their beliefs that Britain was falsely led into the war because of the direct control that United Stated forces had imposed on them.

Nonetheless, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair rationalized their involvement in the war with their so-called desire to partake in stopping terrorism in the world. They believe that Iraq, along with North Korea and Syria, has become an imminent threat to world peace because of their deliberate attempt to accumulate and proliferate sophisticated weapons and ammunitions (Kettell 1). Devastating effects were brought to the countries who took involvement in the war. The financial cost of war accumulated up to trillions of dollars, which is considerably enough to finance aids in less developed countries like Africa for years.

According to Peter Wilson, the cost of the long running war in Iraq that ended last June 2004, reached approximately $US3. 3 trillion. This war has been considered as the second most expensive war after World War II and the second longest war after Vietnam War (Wilson n. p). In addition to the financial expenditures, the war also resulted in many casualties. The war death toll reached high numbers as both sides lost enormous lives from civilians and soldiers, including people who have been held captive as war prisoners (Kettell 1).

Years after the war commenced and the intensive hunt for Saddam Hussein started, US militraty troops had finally captured Hussein on December 2003. An article published on the Washington Post reported that Saddam Hussein was hung as punishment for his oppressive administration and for killing many Shiites during the 1980s (Raghavan A01). The war has already came to a halt and the US Military troops have been already pulled out from Iraq. But the trails of the war are still left etched as one of the most important historic events of the world.

The occurrence of such war is a fool proof of the terror and anguish that reined because of the tight struggle of both sides for world and economic power. However, US history will much well suggest their constant involvement in wars with the aim of dominate the world in terms of economic, political and military supremacy. Their involvement in wars can be traced back from the Pequot War between the whites and the Indians, the Vietnam War in 1631, and the WWII in 1941 (“USA History” n. p).

The Vietnam War which happened in 1965 under the administration of former Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, is comparable to the Iraq War. Parallel to the situation in Iraq, the outbreak of Vietnam War caused different allies to be formed against each of the parties. At the onset of the war, America interfered and supported the South Vietnam faction and pitted them against North Vietnam and their allies from the Soviet Union and China. Vietnam War is considered as the longest war that the Americans ever fought.

The considerable and formidable resistance exhibited by the Vietnamese people, with Ho Chi Minh’s leadership enabled them to stay long on this fight. The communist-activist Ho Chi Minh returned from his 30 years of exile and formed a radical communist movement in their country. From then on, he has become an established icon of hope for the Vietnamese people during and after the war ( Schulzinger 3). The turbulence in Vietnam heightened after Mao Zedong’s Communist Forces triumph over Chang Kai Shek’s Nationalist Army.

Both China and the Soviet Union recognized Minh’sDemocratic Republic of Vietnam, and supported this government by providing military aids, including tactical advices and modern weapons and ammunitions. Consequently, Vietnam’s guerrilla fighters were then transformed into a conventional army (“Vietnam War” n. p). As expected, the support rendered by China and the Soviet towards Vietnam in establishing strong communist countries in Asia threatened the US forces. On the side of the Vietcong, this support proved to be very vital for them to defeat foreign rule and domination.

The similarities between the two feuds were critically recognized by many scholars. One of the similarities posted is the strategic and tactical resemblance of the two wars. The geographic location of the war was a significant factor in the war’s outcome. Just like what happened in Vietnam, US troops were unfamiliar of the place and the insurgents know more of their terrain and landscapes, therefore, gaining advantage over the military troops during the attacks ( St. John n. p). Racism was a factor in the Iraq-US War.

Americans refused to recognize civilian casualties in Iraq as in Vietnam, while meticulously accounting the American casualties. This dramatically declined the number of people, especially Iraqis supporting the Americans. They developed the notion that Americans deemed their race to be more important that the lives of Iraqis, whom they have promised to liberate (St. John n. p). On the other hand, American officials misrepresented the enemy during the Vietnam War, Vietnamese nationalists were neglected and treated as competitors and opposition like how they treated the Communists.

In Iraq, the insurgents were labelled as terrorists or militants (St. John). In addition, the Americans, like how they disregarded the Vietnamese culture and their Buddhist beliefs, also failed to take into consideration the Iraqi customs and beliefs. These concerns had been deliberately ignored when they planned the combat attacks against Iraq (St. John n. p). Both the Iraq and Vietnam War are wars of choice. Unfortunately, countries involved in the war were misled towards engaging in it due to misinformation. The US government sent troops without clear basis and judgment of their intentions.

In Vietnam, for the fear of spread of Communist ideas soldiers were sent to fight, and worse, people of Vietnam were lured to fight their fellow Vietnamese because of the dictates of other more powerful states. In the case of Iraq, the war broke out due to US claims that Iraq had possession of weapons of mass destruction which almost every state in the world believed and feared, thus prompting the break out of the war (St. John n. p). In line with these suspicions, both wars featured wide counter-insurgency operations, widespread use of bombs and tie-up with nationalists in an attempt to outnumber the forces of opposition (Miniter 78).

The two wars had similarities not only in the logistics, but also in the slogan that it took in the war course. In April 1965, President Johnson announced, “We will not withdraw, either openly or under the cloak of a meaningless agreement. ” Forty years later, President George Bush stated, “We’ve got to stay the course and we will stay the course” (St. John n. p). In addition to these similarities, both Vietnam and Iraq wars were highlighted by the campaign against terrorism, which turned out to trigger innocent civilians and local authorities.

As such, the US government treated insugents and communist with the suspicion that they aimed at nothing else than toppling the government for them to set up a new one (Miniter 78). In both Iraq and Vietnam cases, the US expected domino effect to occur. On the Vietnam’s case, US feared the spread of communism once they win the war. On the other hand, current US President George W. Bush believes that if they succeed to overthrow Saddam Hussein’s administration, the Israeli-Palestinian dispute will be resolved and democracy shall be easily achieved and spread throughout the region (St.

John n. p). However, until now unresolved conflict and unrest is still prevalent between the two states. In both cases, Vietnam and Iraq opposed Anmerican’s goal of “liberating” the people and allowing them to establish a firmly rooted government for the people to run freely. In addition, though Vietnam and Iraqi soldiers were outnumbered during the two wars, they were able to create allies outside their countries in support for their soldiers’ and leaders’ ideologies and principles (Record and Terril 1).

Ironically, both battles were an attempt to build a nation in cultures and countries where governance were not firmly established. While facing a firm opposition by anti-war movement in the US (Miniter 78-79). The war has been ended without a definite and clear plan on the negotiations coupled along with war’s emerging winners. The only obvious fact and intention of US ending the war, is the reality that the war was turning out to be a burden as it was getting more expensive the longer that it takes. On June 2004, the US finally rendered Iraq’s sovereignty, thus officially ending the war (St. John n. p).

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