nothing about Vietnam remotely resembles Iraq. Not the people, the terrain, the tactics, the world situation and particularly not the results. To tuck your tail and run after losing 56,000 lives does not compare to freeing two countries from tyranny despite the loss of 1,600 so far.Chuck Hagel, Republican senator from Nebraska and twice-wounded Vietnam veteran, disagrees. Jake Thompson of the Omaha World-Herald reports,
Sen. Chuck Hagel addresses more than 200 Nebraska American Legion members in Grand Island on Saturday.
It took 20 minutes, but it boiled down to this:
The Bush team sent in too few troops to fight the war leading to today's chaos and rising deaths of Americans and Iraqis. Terrorists are "pouring in" to Iraq.
Basic living standards are worse than a year ago in Iraq. Civil war is perilously close to erupting there. Allies aren't helping much. The American public is losing its trust in President Bush's handling of the conflict.
And Hagel's deep fear is that it will all plunge into another Vietnam debacle, prompting Congress to force another abrupt pullout as it did in 1975.
"What we don't want to happen is for this to end up another Vietnam," Hagel told the legionnaires, "because the consequences would be catastrophic."
It would be far worse than Vietnam, says Hagel, a twice-wounded veteran of that conflict, which killed 58,000 Americans.