Why the Iraq-Vietnam Comparison is Wrong
And Why the Media Keeps on Making It
Vietnam is still a fond memory for the leftist media elite and other America haters the world over. For them it was a great "victory," although the U.S. defeat resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese by execution and drowning as they attempted to flee, and of nearly 2 million of a total Cambodian population of 7 million. Far from feeling remorse for their collaboration in this bloodbath, they've been eagerly awaiting a rerun ever since. Predictably, they were comparing Iraq to Vietnam before the first Allied troops ever crossed the border. When U.S. forces paused briefly to wait out sandstorms early in the war, the "quagmire" hysteria began in earnest. Alas, the stirring reports of "fanatical resistance" and the parade of "experts" analyzing the reasons for the U.S. "failure" were quickly short-circuited by the fall of Baghdad. Dreams die hard, though. The Vietnam comparisons persist, and have gained in momentum now that more US soldiers have died in hostile action since May 1 than during actual major combat operations.
But let's examine the Iraq-Vietnam comparison more closely by looking at the actual statistical facts.
During major combat operations in Iraq from March 20 to April 30, the US lost 114 men killed in hostile action. Since President Bush declared an end to major combat operations on May 1, the US has lost an additional 122 men killed in hostile action. That brings the total to 236 soldiers killed in hostile action in Iraq over a period of just over 7 months or 32 weeks from March 20, 2003 to November 1, 2003. On average, then, the US has been losing 7 to 8 men killed in hostile action a week since the beginning of the Iraq war.