08/28/2007 - In drawing an explicit comparison between the ongoing Iraq conflict and the Vietnam War in his recent speech before the Veterans of Foreign Wars -- a linkage he once sharply rejected, -- President George W. Bush might seem to be providing ammunition to his critics. To many observers the most obvious parallel between the two wars is that, after an initial period of public support, disillusionment mounted as the conflicts dragged on without apparent success. But while the overall trajectory of public opinion is strikingly similar, an important political difference distinguishes public attitudes toward the two wars. In this case, the president's steadfast commitment to the war he initiated continues to draw strong support from members of his own party.As noted in an earlier Pew commentary, the Iraq war has divided America along partisan lines to a degree never approached during the Vietnam era. Pew surveys show that even before the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003, Democrats were significantly more likely than Republicans to oppose military action in Iraq. Post-invasion, that gap widened sharply over time reaching its maximum spread of 62 percentage points in February 2005 with 74% of Democrats calling military action a mistake compared with only 12% of Republicans.
Read the full article Along the Iraq-Vietnam Parallel at the Pew Research Center Web site.