By Howard Zinn • The Progressive • July 2003
The war in Iraq is different in so many ways from the war waged by the United States in Vietnam that we wonder why, like the telltale heart beating behind the murderer’s wall in Edgar Allan Poe’s story, the drumbeat of Vietnam can still be heard.
The Vietnam War lasted eight years; the Iraq war, three weeks. In Vietnam, there were 58,000 U.S. combat casualties; in Iraq, a few hundred. Our enemy in Vietnam was a popular national figure: Ho Chi Minh. Our enemy in Iraq, Saddam Hussein, was hated by most of his people. One war was fought in jungles and mountains with a largely draftee army; the other on a sandy desert with volunteer soldiers.