This purpose of this paper is to critically analyze and elucidate the differences and similarities between Iraq and Vietnam wars. The paper will first analyze the United States foreign police during these wars, the general differences between these two wars, the events prior to the onset of these two wars. But the main focus of this paper will be the use of doctored intelligence information by the presidents of the United States to gunner both public and international support for the two conflicts i.e. Johnston’s of doctored intelligence to justify the Vietnam war and George W. Bush’ s use of doctored intelligence to justify the Iraq war. The final part of this paper will analyze the impact of the failure by President Barrack to stop the Iraq war on other big nations to start similar wars against smaller nations. For example being Russia’s war against Georgia.
The United States of America has engaged in overseas wars involving countries that are far away and do not share any common borders with for different reasons. After the Second World War, their emerged two antagonizing camps in the world arena: the eastern camp led by the Soviet Union and the Western part led by the United States of America. This led to the emerge of cold war between these two super powers with each camp trying to expand its influence in the world as well as maintaining the already acquired territory. The United States of America’s during the cold war era was contained of the communism spread and it was ready to use its military mighty to defend its allies against any communist attack. The Vietnam War took place during the cold war era. At this time the influence of the United States was balanced by the Eastern camp lead by the Soviet Union unlike the post cold war era where the United states remained the world‘s sole world power and self proclaimed world police through the use of the CIA which answers directly to the United States President. Unlike the Vietnam War which took place during the cold war era when the United States’ foreign was aimed at stopping the spread of communism by the Soviet Union and allies like China, the Iraq war took place during the post September 11th era terrorist attack of the United States’ World Trade Centre when the foreign policy of the United states under President George W. Bush was war against terror whose aim was the security of the United States and its allies (Tremblay, 322)
After the September 11th terrorist attack the United States of America started unilateral a campaign code named “war on the terror” with the policy of taking war to the terrorist location hence ensuring the security of the United States of America. under the so called war on terror the united states waged a war against Afghanistan with the aim of toppling Mullah Mohammed’s Taliban government by claiming that it harbored the Septembers 11th terror attack Master mind Osama Mohammed Bin Laden and his Al-Qaida terror network members. President George W. Bush referred to Iran and North Korea as the “Axis of Evil” needed to be eliminated from the surface of the earth. After waging war against Afghanistan the United States focused on Iraq as the next target for his global war on terror. Hence the Vietnam War was waged during the cold war when the United States’ foreign policy was containment of the spread of communism whereas the Iraq was waged during the post September 11th terror attack when the United States foreign policy was centered on global war on terror (Phillips, 7)
Use of doctored intelligence for justification of Vietnam and Iraq wars.
Both President Johnson and George Bush used doctored intelligence to justify the Vietnam and Iraq wars respectively. These two presidents used doctored intelligence to rally support both from the America public and the international community to wage these two wars. In the case of Vietnam War President Johnson employed the contrived and specious the Resolution of Tonkin Gulf, as opposed to declaration of war through the congress, as his executive duty to take American forces in the Vietnam War. The so called Tonkin of Gulf resolution only allowed the United states President not to wage war against northern Vietnam but retaliate. The basis for this resolution was president Johnson’s false representation that the Northern Vietnam’s torpedo boats target on the night of 3rd August 1964 was the USS Maddox Destroyer. President Johnson claimed that despite the fact that the North Vietnamese torpedo boats missed their target which was USS Maddox Destroyer, the act justified military retaliation by the United States of America. while making these claims President Johnson knew that the claims he was making were false since they were based on false intelligence since they were based on reading on the Maddox radar screen that were erroneous. Both the Maddox commander and USS C. destroyer, another US destroyer in the same location confirmed the error the day after the incident. The USS C. destroyer had a more sophisticated radar system as compared at the USS Maddox destroyer. President Johnson claimed that since the action or war was a mere “police action” there was no need of declaring war through the congress. According to Robert Hanyok, an NSA historian, the USA doctored the information that was intercepted by USA eavesdroppers during the Tonkin gulf incident, to make it look like the North Vietnamese had attacked the USS destroyer and hence justify a military retaliation against it.
Like President Johnson, George W. Bush employed doctored intelligence to justify military action against Iraq despite of the fact that he knew the information he was giving was based on doctored intelligence by the CIA and his vice President Dickey Cheney who played central role in planning for this war. President Bush argued that there was need for military actions against Saddam Hussein Regime eliminate the so called weapons of mass destruction and biological weapons if European allies and the United States were to be secure. He also claimed that intelligence information had linked Saddam Hussein to Al-Qaida and other terror groups. Hence George bush used the two claims that is the existence of Weapons of Mass destruction and Saddam’s link to terror groups like al-Qaida. Hence the main rationale for the 2003 disastrous invasion of Iraq was disarmament of the Iraq regime.
President George Bush claimed that since Iraq was almost developing Nuclear weapon programs and that it if no action was taken America and its allies were at the risk of attacks by Saddam using these weapons. Hence the only solution was disarmament and regime change. He further claimed that since Saddam had violated the Persian Gulf Truce of 1991 and other agreements on arms control including resolution 687 and 689resolutions and the UN’s subsequent resolution 15 whose aim was to enforce the other two main resolutions. The 1441 United Nations’ resolution was a war ultimatum to Saddam Hussein. After the 7th December 2002 expiry of this ultimatum the United States of America waged war against Iraq that would later turn to be another Vietnam-like experience (Phillips, 5)
Six years down the line since the genesis of the Iraq war, none of Bush claims have turned out to be positive. Neither the Biological nor any forms of Weapons of Mass destruction have been recovered. Americans have turned out to be occupants of Iraq, American forces have suffered losses and public opinion is for the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq.
During his Campaign for the United States of America presidency, the Present USA president Barrack Obama had promised to end the Iraq war and bring his forces back to America. But till now he had not yet ended the Iraq war and American forces are still stationed on the outskirts of Iraq cities after their recent redeployment. The failure by President Obama to end the Iraq war and take the American forces may encourage other big nations to attack their perceived enemies using either genuine or false intelligence information. For example Russia’s attack on Georgia.