Is Iraq Vietnam revisited?

September 18, 2014 2:01 PM

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There are some parallels between the situation facing us in Iraq and the situation that faced us when we first deployed to South Vietnam in 1962. The most obvious ones being a committed enemy (Islamic State/North Vietnamese) that can operate from across a porous border (Syria/Laos), while we have to rely on local allies who are less committed than the enemy and have a poor military capability (the armies of Iraq/South Vietnam). We do however again have some local people we can work with (the Kurds/Montegnards).

Given the constraints on military operations, if we seriously expect to contain Islamic State what we are probably facing in Iraq is a decades-long conflict – something the West is clearly not motivated to engage in – particularly when there is little prospect of victory in a conventional sense.

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