My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Sen. Kennedy Speaks

Ted Kennedy described the current situation in Iraq today as "a seemingly intractable quagmire." His statement was quickly rebuked by both Donald Rumsfeld and by Gens. Casey, Myers, and Abizaid.

But, just for a little historical reference point to go from, I've dragged up some numbers from a PBS site called Battlefield: Vietnam. As I'm making these side-by-side comparisons, understand that I'm using basically a two-year time frame--Iraq dating from March 2003 to the present, Vietnam dating from February 1965 (beginning of Operation Rolling Thunder) to the end of 1966.

American combat troop levels:

Vietnam: 385,000
Iraq: 150,000

American combat deaths:

Vietnam: at least 6,000 (and that just for 1966!!), though I cannot find an exact number
Iraq: 1,700

Opposition leadership:

Vietnam: still alive and leading operations from Cambodia and elsewhere
Iraq: Saddam in custody, his sons dead

Political progress:

Vietnam: none
Iraq: popular elections held; Constitutional convention underway

Political support at home:

Vietnam: still strong, but wavering (particularly after 1968 Tet)
Iraq: wavering

Political effects at home:

Vietnam: none--Johnson elected in '64 claiming "why would I send our boys 9,000 miles away to fight in jungles . . ."etc; in secret, he was already planning war strategy for post-election
Iraq: difficult to assess, but in spite of 18 months of war George Bush re-elected by a comfortable popular margin while increasing Republican majorities in both chambers of Congress

I am not trying to say that the costs of this war are, at this point, unimportant or even negligible--every American soldier killed in Iraq is tragic. But for Sen. Kennedy to begin to equate Iraq with Vietnam--which is where the term "quagmire" got it weight--is both ludicrous and irresponsible. And I'm not just saying that from a political perspective; look at the scoreboard.

If only THIS Kennedy had listened to another Kennedy who was willing to "pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

Weblog Commenting by HaloScan.com

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?