America's irrepressible fifth column of Islamopacifascist defeatocrats keeps insisting that the Iraq War is Vietnam all over again -- even though it's quite clear to cooler heads that it's actually World Wars II through V -- so Rich Lowry figures he might as well take their ball and run with it. Thus, we now have it on good authority that the Iraq War is like the Vietnam War...not for us, but for al-Qaeda:
When the United States lost Vietnam, it lost credibility and saw an emboldened Marxist-Leninist offensive around the Third World. Al-Qaida is a global insurgency and not a nation-state -- and thus its circumstances are radically different from ours 40 years ago -- but it has suffered a similar reputational loss.Lowry hastens to add that things were very different back when AQ was "winning" in Iraq, which is an era I must've slept through. But now that its "indiscriminate killing" and "lunatic decrees" are becoming unpopular, it's losing political capital. Which I guess gives the US an opportunity to win Iraqi hearts and minds at long last (as long as it can restrain itself from indiscriminate killing and issuing lunatic decrees).
Beyond noting that Lowry doesn't seem to have a very clear practical idea of what "victory" in Iraq might entail, I have to disagree with his analogy. I say that the Iraq War is in fact much more like the Second Anglo-Maratha War was for the Peshwa Baji Rao II...not from our standpoint, mind you, but from that of the ethnic Kurds. For non-Kurdish Sunnis of the Hanafi school, the war is more reminiscent of the Second Rif War, which, at the risk of belaboring the obvious, was itself not entirely dissimilar to the Third Anglo-Maratha War. It can hardly be a coincidence, then, that Blackwater's role in the conflict, despite certain radically different circumstances, recalls nothing so much as most, though not all, of the Janissary revolts.
All of which tends to confirm my suspicion that although 9/11 changed everything, Iran's Shiite majority is nonetheless in roughly the same position as the Poles during the First Silesian Uprising, while the United States, having forgotten the stark lessons of the Ifni War, risks following in the footsteps of the Saharan Liberation Army at the Battle of Edchera.
I don't think it's too much to ask for concerned Americans to take note of these striking historical parallels, so that we can move our national debate forward.
(Illustration: "Tet Offensive, 1968." Source: United States Military Academy.)