For 15 years or so after withdrawal, many foreign policy analysts believed that the US suffered from the "Vietnam syndrome." The US refused to intervene in various African and Latin American hot spots for fear of Vietnam-style escalation.
Over the years, hawks claimed that the military was hamstrung in Vietnam because of a failure to commit to victory. Democrats, liberals, anti-war protesters and others would not allow the US to fight to win. There weren't enough forces -- and the military strategy was too constrained. Limited war was for sissies.
This criticism cannot hold in regard to Iraq. President Bush has said frequently that he has given the military everything it has requested. Sure, critics (mostly Democrats) sometimes doubt that the US has enough forces, but he defends his position again and again and again. And since 9/11 "changed everything," how can anyone say the strategy is too limited? My god, they just legalized torture!
Thus, it should be impossible for hawks to blame failure in Iraq on the left. How can they? The military has all the forces, weapons and freedom that it needs. The conservative President says so -- and the Republican-dominated Congress agrees.
Conclusion: The "Iraq syndrome" should be much tougher to overcome than its predecessor.
It's good news for the anti-war crowd anyway.
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Filed as: Iraq syndrome