AP makes the case: Iraq = Vietnam; Update: Kaus makes the case: Iraq = amnesty!

LGF got an e-mail from Iraq yesterday about the AP’s report on four American contractors executed with shots to the head. Tain’t necessarily so, says Charles’s correspondent. He’s keeping an eye on it, but I’m giving it a wide berth after Jamilgate, especially since one of the AP’s sources on the manner of death was a U.S. defense official. In the meantime, though, enjoy this “news” article about the cases for and against for comparing Iraq to Vietnam. Similarities?

While the 58,000 U.S. military deaths in Vietnam dwarf the just over 3,000 U.S. casualties so far in Iraq, the financial costs of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and other military anti-terrorism activities are beginning to rival that spent on Vietnam.

Other similarities:

_Both wars initially had majority support from Americans that evaporated as the war dragged on without clear-cut victories.

_Successive escalation by Presidents Johnson and Nixon were billed as setting the stage for victory, to be followed by “Vietnamization” in which South Vietnamese forces would stand up as U.S. forces stood down. Sounds like Bush’s game plan for Iraq.

_Before a recent admission of mistakes, Bush had been consistently upbeat. So were Johnson and Nixon administration figures, going back to Gen. William Westmoreland’s premature 1969 sighting of a “light at the end of the tunnel.”

_Johnson called Vietnam War critics “nervous nellies.” Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney accused Democrats of wanting to “cut and run,” White House press secretary Tony Snow branded them “Defeatocrats.”

_Just as Iraq is depicted as the central front in a global war against terrorism, Vietnam was portrayed as pivotal in a global war against communism.

“The way in which Iraq is similar to Vietnam is the profound effect this war is having on the military. We have the same problems winning a guerrilla war on the guerrilla’s home turf,” said Jon Alterman, director of Mideast programs at the Center for Strategic and International Studies…

The amount spent on the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and other anti-terror activities tops $500 billion, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. Another $100 billion request is going to Congress next month.

The total is fast approaching the cost of the Vietnam War, roughly an inflation-adjusted $614 billion in today’s dollars.

Differences, besides the body count? Just one — and it’s unfavorable to the present conflict.

“The way they are dissimilar is this is a war that has been easy to ignore. It is a war with almost no public sacrifice. It feels like somebody else’s war, it feels remote in a way that Vietnam did not.”

Over to you, Hitch!

Update: Now here’s a persuasive analogy.

Update: The author, Tom Raum, really likes this comparison. His take on the Haditha furor back in June? “The My Lai spectre looms large in Iraq.” Thanks to Slublog for the catch.