Iraqi War: Another Vietnam?

April 16, 2004 -- Posted at 4:35 p.m. CDT

PARAGOULD -- President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair pledged to stay in Iraq to help the interim government succeed. C

ritics of the Bush administrations policy liken the situation in Iraq to Vietnam. The President has said such an analogy is false and sends the wrong message to troops and the wrong message to the enemy.

The war in Iraq rages on and the death toll mounts, leaving critics to call it "President Bush's Vietnam."

"War is hell, and it is," said Darrell Dickson of Paragould.

He served in Vietnam, and won a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for serving his country, and he says to compare the two wars is difficult.

"There's some difference in the way that the war's being fought, and in the way the Vietnam war went on. Vietnam is still America's nightmare," said Dickson.

Dickson says the war in Iraq is different because of the support of the nation. In his day, soldiers weren't so lucky.

"For them to fight for their country and die for it and then be treated like they were unhuman...that wasn't very nice," said Dickson as he sorted through a pile of photos from his tour of duty.

"But will this war become another Vietnam? I think right now, November will be election time and if this war is not over with, there will probably be a new president," said Dickson.

Ron Bellomy was only a child when the Vietnam war started, but it made a big impression. He compares his memories of war to today's battle in the Middle East.

"The loss of life, that's what really stuck in my mind, and we're facing the same thing in Iraq. Even though the numbers aren't as many, every loss of life is important and we don't need to loose anymore," said Bellomy, "I think the loss of life that we occurred in Vietnam without any direct result was the bad part of it and that's what I as a young child remember the most of all."

Bellomy's son is in the Air Force, and has fought in the Iraqi war. He says Vietnam is a war to learn from.

"That is part of our history that we can't do anything about. we are involved in this war now, this is a history making thing that were dealing with and I would hope that the people wouldn't react the same way in the Iraqi war as they did in Vietnam," said Bellomy.