Another liberal columnist notices Iraq is not Vietnam

Richard Cohen:

". . .while the similarities to Vietnam are always worth noting, the differences may be more important. Among them is the nature of the insurgency. The Vietnamese independence movement was both long-standing and widespread. (Ho Chi Minh lobbied for independence from France at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919.) That cannot be said about whoever is behind the Iraq terrorism attacks -- bitter-end Baathists or Islamic zealots taking a short cut to heaven. Neither embodies Iraqi national aspirations.

"Another difference is that Iraq has no "North" -- as in North Vietnam. In Vietnam, the war on the ground was waged in the South, but supplies and manpower came down the famous Ho Chi Minh Trail from the North. Iraq has no triple-canopy jungle to screen a supply line. It's an arid, desert country where a goat can be spotted from the air. Iraq is not Vietnam.

". . .Iraq in a way is much more important. It is not on the periphery of Asia but dead in the center of the oil-rich Middle East. If there is anything to the latter-day domino theory the Bush administration propounded -- a democratic Iraq would be emulated throughout the Middle East -- then its converse must also be true: The failure to establish some sort of civic regime in Iraq would also have consequences throughout the Middle East.

"What's more, a reversal in Iraq would surely show -- as Somalia did once before -- that the United States lacks the stomach for a fight. It can fight from the air and with precision-guided missiles launched from the sea, but on land it has a glass jaw and cannot take a punch."

Like Friedman, Cohen has to get in his snarky liberal dig at Bush, but his main point is finally catching up with what Prairiepundit has been saying for some time.

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