A Tale of Two Quagmires: Iraq, Vietnam, and the Hard Lessons of War

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There is an important debate raging about whether Iraq is becoming another Vietnam. Those who deny the similarities most vociferously are often those who know (or remember) the least about Vietnam. Kenneth Campbell knows Vietnam from his thirteen months of fighting there (he received a Purple Heart), and years of political organizing to get the United States out of the war. Here, Campbell lays out the political process of getting into, sinking deeper, hitting bottom, and finally pulling out of the Vietnam quagmire. He traces the chief lessons of Vietnam, which helped the United States successfully avoid quagmires for thirty years, and explains how neoconservatives within the Bush administration cynically used the tragedy of 9/11 to override the “Vietnam syndrome” and drag the nation into a new quagmire in Iraq. In view of where the United States finds itself today—unable to stay but unable to leave—Campbell recommends that the country rededicate itself to the essential lessons of Vietnam: the danger of imperial arrogance, the limits of military force, the importance of international and constitutional law, and the power of morality.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594513510
  • Publisher: Paradigm Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/28/2007
  • Series: International Studies Intensives
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Kenneth J. Campbell is associate professor of political science and international relations and director of the international relations program at the University of Delaware. He is the author of Genocide and the Global Village (Palgrave 2001).

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Richard Falk

Chapter 1: The Great Debate
No, Iraq is Not Vietnam!
Yes, Iraq Is Vietnam!
The Strategic Essence of a Quagmire
The Quagmire Process

Chapter 2: Personal Encounter with a Quagmire
Philly Corner Boy
Volunteer for America
To the Nam
Up North
Down South

Chapter 3: The Vietnam Quagmire
Entering: Deception about Purpose
Sinking Deeper: Deception about Progress
Hitting Bottom: Deception about Methods
Blocking the Exit: Deception about the Difficulty of Withdrawal

Chapter 4: The Lessons of Vietnam
The Five Schools
Institutional Prevention
The “Vietnam Syndrome”
Thirty Years of Success…until 9/11

Chapter 5: The Iraq Quagmire
Entering: Deception about Purpose
Sinking Deeper: Deception about Progress
Hitting Bottom: Deception about Methods
Blocking the Exit: Deceptions about Withdrawal

Chapter 6: Last Exit from Baghadad
Broken Army
The “Essential Domino” Falls
Any Solution?
The “Wise Men and Women”
The Lessons of Iraq

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