Iraq is beginning to look a little like Vietnam to me.
Why? It’s the performance of the Iraqi army in the face of a relentless enemy that brings about the comparison.
It’s making me more than a tad uncomfortable.
Iraq’s army, the one trained and equipped by the United States of America under two presidential administrations, isn’t performing worth a damn on the battlefield against the Islamic State. Sound familiar? It should.
Nearly 40 years ago the United States ended its war in Vietnam, leaving the defense of South Vietnam to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. ARVN then had to face the invaders from North Vietnam, who in early 1975 launched a massive offensive against the south. By April of that year it all ended when North Vietnamese army troops rolled into Saigon, stormed the presidential palace, hoisted the communist flag and renamed Saigon after the late Uncle Ho, Ho Chi Minh City.
Fast forward to the current day and we’re seeing the Iraqi army performing badly against ISIL.
U.S.-led airstrikes reportedly are slowing ISIL’s advance a bit, but so far it hasn’t stopped taking the fight to the Iraqi forces.
Now we hear from U.S. Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno say he is “somewhat confident” the Iraqi government will beat back ISIL. Somewhat satisfied? How confident can we be in that prediction? Not very.
I’m having a flashback at this moment and it’s making me very uneasy as this desert fight continues to play itself out.