Is Iraq War becoming another Vietnam?

It was the ‘70s. The hippie movement was past its prime, the civil rights movement had ended, and President Nixon was in office. The Vietnam Conflict was thought to be over when North Vietnam broke its side of a peace treaty and went back into South Vietnam in 1973 (occupying territory, not fighting … yet).

Would America bring its troops back to the country it had spent a decade occupying? That’s what Nixon wanted. The Watergate scandal rolled along, Nixon resigned in August of ’74, and Vice President Gerald Ford took over, hoping to put the troops back in “Nam” to defend what our soldiers fought so hard for … freedom.

Knowing South Vietnam, although strong in numbers, could not defeat (even defend against!) North Vietnam, “Ford was prepared to challenge Congress to keep money and other assistance flowing to the South and to send U.S. troops back in if the North remained belligerent.”

However, Ford’s plan would quickly encounter a problem. That November Republicans lost 48 House seats and five Senate seats, not to mention they had little control in Congress. Ford was virtually left with the power to veto.

In January of 1975, the North Vietnamese went on a full-scale attack. Ford requested around $1.4 billion in emergency relief for South Vietnam (Congress authorized $1 billion), yet only $700 million was given. “Meanwhile, the city of Quang Tri fell to the Communists, then the ancient capital of Hue, and the Americans began evacuating remaining U.S. personnel and thousands of Vietnamese refugees.”1 It was clear the Democrats were making their point.

In a daring move, Ford addressed the nation. He said the US couldn’t “abandon our friends while our adversaries support and encourage theirs.” Yet, Congress (controlled by the Democrats) completely cut off founding for South Vietnam and on April 30, 1975, Siagon (the last stronghold) was overrun. In the final hours, American helicopters took up as many Vietnamese evacuees from rooftops as they could. All that America had fought for was lost. 58,000 American soldiers died in vain.

In his book, “Betrayal in Vietnam,” historian Lewis Fanning wrote, “it was not the Hanoi communists who won the war, but rather the American Congress that lost it.” Could history repeat itself? Surely we could learn from the past. But have we?

In November of 2006, the Democrats took control of Congress for the first time since 1994. They are aggressively vying for the “troops” to come home. Can we not look back on history and see what happened when the Democratic-led Congress thought the same thing in a time of war?

In his most recent televised speech, President George W. Bush informed the American people that a plan is in action to start decreasing troops in Iraq. More soldiers will come home as success is seen in Iraq. By Christmas 5,700 freedom fighters will be home, and by June of ’08, at least 21,500. An estimated 132,000 U.S. forces will still be in Iraq by that time.

In opposition to the president’s speech, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said, “The choice is between a Democratic plan for responsible redeployment and the president’s plan for an endless war in Iraq.”

There are two problems with her statement. The first is that the war WILL end. As the Iraqi government takes power and the military grows, there will no longer be a need for U.S. support. The second problem with Pelosi’s statement is that in 1975, the Democrats had a plan. That plan failed, and it humiliated the United States of America both at home and internationally.

When you think about it, if we bring troops home too early, Vietnam could happen again, but if we leave the troops there longer than expected, that only means Iraq would be “extra-safe.” So logically, it is better to leave troops there.

You’re probably thinking, “But people are dying over there.” But know that an estimated 5,000 Americans died on D-day alone and that 3,775 Americans have died in all of the Iraq war. Yes, people are dying, but remember it’s for a cause. If the U.S. leaves now (or in the near future) the terrorists may win. Iraq may go back to what it was, and American soldiers will have died in vain.

Your vote, this upcoming election, could mean that Iraq succeeds, or that it becomes another Vietnam. Who will you vote for?

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