Why Iraq and Vietnam have nothing whatsoever in common.
This in itself is an absurd hyperbole, even to those who might be sympathetic to your point of view. It is as absurd as if I were to say the two wars are exactly the same.
The similarities and differences is where the interesting discussion lies.
That being said, Hitchens points out some similarities between Vietnam and Iraq that I hadn't considered.
[Ho Ci Mihn] had, moreover, been an ally of the West in the war against Japan. Nothing under this heading can be said of the Iraqi Baathists or jihadists, who are descended from those who angrily took the other side in the war against the Axis, and who opposed elections on principle.
1) Ho was an ally of the US before the conflict. Saddam (and the Baathists) were an ally of the US before the conflict. The jihadists were allied with the US against the Soviets before the conflict.
In Vietnam the deep-rooted Communist Party was against the partition of the country and against the American intervention. It called for a boycott of any election that was not an all-Vietnam affair.
In Iraq, the deep-rooted Communist Party is in favor of the regime change and has been an enthusiastic participant in the elections as well as an opponent of any attempt to divide the country on ethnic or confessional lines. (Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who is not even an Iraqi, hates the Kurds and considers the religion of most Iraqis to be a detestable heresy: not a mistake that even the most inexperienced Viet Cong commander would have been likely to make.)
2) Hitchens is not making the right comparison here. The Communist party in Vietnam represented the anti-American forces. The role the Islamicists are playing in Iraq is very similar to the role of communists in Vietnam.
An even more intersting similarity is the way Terrorists of today and Communists of the Vietnam era are being talked about at home.
Remember what we believed about the Communists in the 60s and 70s?
Communists lived presented an imminent threat, they lived among us and could strike at any moment. Communists hated American freedom and it was their goal to end it. If we were not vigilant Communists would end stability in portions of the world. Communists did not respect human rights. They mistreated their citizens with prison labor and even massacres.
Worst of all Communists had the ability to unleash massive attacks against American cities with weapons of mass destructions.
This fear of Communism spread among the American people provided the political will to prosecute the Vietnam war and ensured the support of a large part of the American public.
Terrorists are an imminent threat, they live among us and can strike at any moment. Terrorists hate American freedom and it is their goal to end it. If we were not vigilant the Terrorists will end stability in portions of the world. Terrorists did not respect human rights. They mistreat their citizens and their governments will use forced labor and even massacres.
Worst of all the Terrorists hav the ability to unleash massive attacks against American cities with weapons of mass destruction.
This fear of Terrorism spread among the American people provides the political will to prosecute the war in Iraq and ensures the support of a large part of the American public.
Which part of this do you disagree with?