A long time ago, when certain politicians with presidential aspirations started to suggest that Iraq might be another Vietnam, you might remember that the Conservative pundits soundly rejected the comparison as mere political rhetoric. They gave you the impression that to even think such a thing was a form of treason.

Times change as do opinions and now even President Bush will admit to a certain similarity between Vietnam and Iraq. In an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, the president was asked about NY Times columnist Tom Friedman’s comparison between the 1968 Tet Offensive in Vietnam and the dramatic upsurge of violence in Iraq. Bush admitted that there was indeed a parallel.

Indeed the parallel runs deeper than that. The Tet offensive was a dramatic upsurge in violence by the North Vietnamese Army that was, many observers have noted, more of a publicity strategy than it was a military tactic. Militarily the Tet offensive was considered to be a defeat for the North Vietnamese but as a public relations strategy is was a dramatic success; it broke the will of the majority of Americans to support the war and initiated our pullout from Vietnam.

That is suggested to be the terrorist’s strategy. They see now, as the North Vietnamese saw in 1968, the American public’s decreasing willingness to stay the course so they are ‘pumping-up’ the level of violence, the bloodshed and starting to specifically target American soldiers (as you could see by yesterday’s headlines: 11 American soldiers killed in 24 hours).

The strategy worked in the late 1960s and it may work again here in 2006 as far as public support for the war is concerned but unless there is some very dramatic turning point or some circumstance that can be portrayed as a victory, President Bush has no intention of pulling out of Iraq while he is president.


ABC World News: Bush Accepts Iraq-Vietnam Comparison

From the blogosphere: Iraq =Vietnam? Hardly

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