I think the history books will mark the events of the past week in Iraq and Washington as the turning point of resolve in the Iraqi War. While others will argue it was unwinnable from the start without a formal international mandate from NATO or the U.N., others will say the turning point came after prisoner abuse was uncovered at Abu Gharib prison, or following news of the Haditha massacre. Perhaps it was the lack of clear evidence Iraq has built up an arsenol of weapons of mass destruction. I think it was the combination of factors which transformed a fighting force bent on bringing peace and order to Iraq to become a caretaking operation there to ensure that sectarian violence doesn’t turn a war into a genocide.
The coalition has dwindled in the past few months. Today, the United States no longer has the support of nations who were once standing shoulder to shoulder, among them, Poland, Italy, Ukraine, the Netherlands, Spain, Romainia, and Japan, who combined, contributed over 10,000 soldiers. Worst of all for the U.S. is the strong likelihood that Britain may very soon pull out the bulk of its 7,200 fighting force, in response to the overwhelming unpopularity of the Iraq war among Britons.
But it’s when George W. Bush acknowledges comparisons between this war and the war in Vietnam that I see little hope for further success in Iraq. The small victories, such as rejoicing the end of dictatorship in Iraq, the capture of Saddam Hussein and many more of his cronies and his bad apple sons, the election of a new government, seem to be fading even in the eyes of the most steadfast supporter of the war, the President.
I still find it difficult how the Vietnam war compares to Iraq with regard to American deaths which amounted over 58,000 in the former war. It’s hardly a quagmire…yet.