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Book cover of Is Iraq Another Vietnam?

Is Iraq Another Vietnam?

by Robert K. Brigham

Publisher: PublicAffairs
Pages: 224
Hardcover
ISBN: 9781586484132






Available to Buy

Overview of Is Iraq Another Vietnam?

Since the first days of the Iraqi invasion, supporters of the war have cautioned the public not to view this conflict as another Vietnam. They rightfully point to many important distinctions. There is no unified resistance in Iraq. No political or religious leader has been able to galvanize opposition to U.S. intervention the way that Ho Chi Minh did in Vietnam. And it is not likely that 580,000 American troops will find their way to Iraq.

However, there are two similarities that may dwarf the thousands of differences. First, in Iraq, like Vietnam, the original rationale for going to war has been discredited and public support has dwindled. Second, in both cases the new justification became building stable societies. There are enormous pitfalls in America's nation building efforts in Iraq as there were in Vietnam. But it is the business we now find ourselves in, and there is no easy retreat from it morally. As American frustration increases, some policy makers are making the deadly mistake of approaching problems in Iraq as if we are facing them for the first time. It is crucial that we apply the lessons of Vietnam wisely and selectively.

Synopsis of Is Iraq Another Vietnam?

The book that answers the question on everybody's mind—with wisdom and authority that cannot be ignored

Publishers Weekly

U.S. policymakers went to war in Vietnam and Iraq," writes Brigham, "with the expectation that a distinctively American story would emerge." In this brief and potent analysis of current American foreign policy, the Vassar College history and international relations professor bolsters his conclusions about the many similarities and decisive differences between these two military efforts with precise factual details and his ability to discern the vital trends underlying them. There are startling parallels here-many of Johnson's older Cold War advisers warned that Vietnam War costs would put the U.S. in "a serious financial crisis." But while Vietnam War critics took to the streets, Brigham observes that contemporary political dissent is "primarily through public opinion polls." Though a critic of the administration's Iraq policy, he's sensitive to nuance, noting that despite deep partisan differences, Congress gave both Lyndon Johnson and George Bush "broad presidential authority to use any means necessary" to act. He also gives serious consideration to the differences between a military composed of draftees and volunteers, speculating that today's returning veterans will denounce current policy and military actions. Brigham has produced a deftly written, well-argued polemic that's unlikely to sway staunch supporters of current policy, but may affect those in the center of the debate. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

About the Author, Robert K. Brigham

Robert K. Brigham is the Shirley Ecker Boskey Professor of History and International Relations at Vassar College. He is author of numerous books and essays on American foreign relations, including Argument Without End: In Search of Answers to the Vietnam Tragedy written with Robert S. McNamara and James G. Blight.

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Editorials

Publishers Weekly

U.S. policymakers went to war in Vietnam and Iraq," writes Brigham, "with the expectation that a distinctively American story would emerge." In this brief and potent analysis of current American foreign policy, the Vassar College history and international relations professor bolsters his conclusions about the many similarities and decisive differences between these two military efforts with precise factual details and his ability to discern the vital trends underlying them. There are startling parallels here-many of Johnson's older Cold War advisers warned that Vietnam War costs would put the U.S. in "a serious financial crisis." But while Vietnam War critics took to the streets, Brigham observes that contemporary political dissent is "primarily through public opinion polls." Though a critic of the administration's Iraq policy, he's sensitive to nuance, noting that despite deep partisan differences, Congress gave both Lyndon Johnson and George Bush "broad presidential authority to use any means necessary" to act. He also gives serious consideration to the differences between a military composed of draftees and volunteers, speculating that today's returning veterans will denounce current policy and military actions. Brigham has produced a deftly written, well-argued polemic that's unlikely to sway staunch supporters of current policy, but may affect those in the center of the debate. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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