December 1st, 2009
01:47 PM ET
3 months ago

Will Obama's war become his Vietnam?

ALT TEXT

(PHOTO CREDIT: AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Washington (CNN) - As President Obama prepares to announce that he's sending more troops to Afghanistan, comparisons to the war in Vietnam are often invoked.

But experts say while there are similarities between the two conflicts, there are more differences.

U.S. and coalition forces have been fighting in Afghanistan for more than eight years, initially rooting the Taliban from control after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks against the U.S. because of its support of al Qaeda terrorists who carried out the attacks.

But after the U.S. went to war with Iraq in 2003, the Taliban regrouped, and fighting with U.S. and coalition troops has escalated.

In March, Afghanistan will become America's longest war, surpassing the one in Vietnam, which cost more than 58,000 American lives.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • President Obama
soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. He's Just Getting Started

    It'll be interesting to see how many times he uses the BB (Blame Bush) Gun during his "Too-Long-In-The-Making" decision,tonight.With that false little "Report" out the other day,his administration is already playing the shell game!

    December 1, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  2. gt

    get our troops home now...

    December 1, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    It's NOT "Obama's war". We were conned and bullied into Afghanistan AND Iraq by the Cheney/Bush administration, as a way for the shrub to get Dad to be proud of him and for Halliburton, et al. to make their own killing in the war industry. So, let's give up on that little fantasy.

    December 1, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  4. MCD, SF, CA

    Excuse me CNN. I take great exception to your headline labeling this as "...Obama's War..." This war was brought to us by Bush/Cheney and let us NEVER forget that!

    December 1, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  5. Michael

    W made a huge mistake by invading Iraq- now we will complicate matters by sending 30,000 more troops to a place we've been at for over 8 years? As a veteran of the Viet Nam era, I strongly protest and will take to the streets Wednesday night here in town. I worked for President Obama's election, and feel that this is another wrong turn. I worked for CHANGE- not MORE OF THE SAME!

    December 1, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  6. Jerry

    An article about the differences and similarities between the Vietnam and Afghanistan wars that doesn't mention the draft?

    Strange.

    That is the single most important reason that it won't become Obama's Vietnam. Public lethargy as a result of not being required to join in. There won't be anywhere near the depth of feeling there was about Vietnam while nobody is being drafted. People just don't care.

    December 1, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  7. Jane

    This war is now Obama's war can't blame Bush 11 mos into the game. We now have the second coming of Johnson and Carter combined.

    December 1, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  8. Tom

    1. Well equipped and motivated adversary
    2. No win possible
    3. No out strategy
    4. Lots of dead US soldiers
    5. Nightly TV coverage

    Not Vietnam but in same vane. The Taliban are pikers compared to Ho Chi Minh's galvanized NVA and supporting infrastructure.

    December 1, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  9. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Afghanistan is a clearly different mess than Vietnam is and was. Obama's approach is different because he looks to end it and build up a government that will do what a government is supposed to do - serve the people. There is also cooperation and coordination with surrounding countries to deal with problems. Vietnam never had any of that.

    December 1, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  10. Reuben Nofziger

    Are you kidding?! I think phrasing this as: "Will the war that George Bush started in Afghanistan and complicated with another war in Iraq hinder U.S. international and internal relations?" would be by far more appropriate here. This war became a thorn with just the fact that George Bush was at the helm of all of this. The people's money flowing out to contractors for the goal of profiteering and then becoming bloodied with the irresponsibilities of those present killing innocent Afghans. Are you kidding? This war was destined to become another Vietnam with all these insecurities, short sightedness, and impulsiveness. Anyone would have to present an incredibly one sided and fictitious account to try to convince me that the situation we are now in, of how trying to end this war, has all become President Obama's fault solely or even half of his fault. Put Bush on trial already.

    December 1, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  11. Rob

    Withdraw the troops and end this war NOW!

    December 1, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  12. Texas Longhorn talks Truth

    Oh boy here we go again. These idiots in America I hate to say because I love my country, cost us the war in Vietnam now THEY'RE BACK. It is time as stupid as this sounds to be like some other countries and pull up in two and half ton trucks flip the tarp up and turn the machine guns loose on these idiots. If you haven't the stomach to make countries pay for their transgressions you might as well retire the flag now. TRAITORS EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU.

    December 1, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  13. southerncousin

    What an absolutely ridiculous story and premise. This comes from the same members of the liberal media, who earned their reputations assuring America's defeat during the Vietnam war, a bunch of liberal wingnuts that now control the media. I don't think Obama is sending enought troops and I don't trust him, but it would appear that this is a thoughtful decision and I can't believe the leftists are going to eat another one of their own, but past history has shown they will.

    December 1, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  14. Stu

    The answer is no. The media will never turn on their darling.

    December 1, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  15. Terry from West Texas

    While the Bush Administration fumbled the ball on Afghanistan for 7 years, American Conservatives criticize Obama for not turning the nation into a paradise in 7 months. I can't help but wonder how President McCain would be doing now, had he been elected.

    December 1, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  16. sammieb51

    Everyone forgets Viet Nam was pretty quiet 'affair' until the draft was implemented, and then it became the chaos we all remember to this day. Our military is stretched so thin we don't have what we need militarily to defend ourselves anywhere else, how soon will a draft be implemented? That is when the honeymoon is over with all these wars on the right and the left and the center. How many more tours of duty in a war zone can we pile on one soldier before he goes nuts – in VN it was 1 tour and they were out? Not anymore, it is 3-4-5 tours of warzone duty before they are out.

    December 1, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
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