Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Interesting Lecture

Brooks E. Kleber
Memorial Readings in Military History
3rd Annual Readings Series

“Is Iraq Another Vietnam?”

Dr. Robert K. Brigham
Shirley Ecker Boskey Professor of History and International Relations
Vassar College

Since the first days of the Iraqi invasion, supporters of the war have cautioned the public not to view this conflict as another Vietnam. They rightfully point to many important distinctions. There is no unified resistance in Iraq. No political or religious leader has been able to galvanize opposition to U.S. intervention the way that Ho Chi Minh did in Vietnam. And it is not likely that 580,000 American troops will find their way to Iraq. However, there are two similarities that may dwarf the thousands of differences. First, in Iraq, like Vietnam, the original rationale for going to war has been discredited and public support has dwindled. Second, in both cases the new justification became building stable societies. There are enormous pitfalls in America's nation building efforts in Iraq as there were in Vietnam. But it is the business we now find ourselves in, and there is no easy retreat from it morally. As American frustration increases, some policy makers are making the deadly mistake of approaching problems in Iraq as if we are facing them for the first time. It is crucial that we apply the lessons of Vietnam wisely and selectively.

Dr. Robert K. Brigham, Shirley Ecker Boskey Professor of History and International Relations, has taught at Vassar since 1994. He teaches courses on the history of American foreign relations and modern America. Along with several teaching awards, Brigham has also earned fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for Humanities, the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Eisenhower World Affairs Institute, the Cooper Foundation, the Gilman Foundation, and the Social Sciences Committee in Hanoi, Vietnam. In addition, Brigham has been Albert Shaw Endowed Lecturer at Johns Hopkins University, a Mellon Senior Visiting Scholar at Cambridge University (Clare College), and was a visiting professor of international relations at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University. Brigham is author of numerous books and essays on American foreign relations, including Guerrilla Diplomacy: The NLF’s Foreign Relations and the Vietnam War (Cornell, 1998); Argument Without End: In Search of Answers to the Vietnam Tragedy (PublicAffairs, 1999) written with Robert S. McNamara and James G. Blight; ARVN: Life and Death in the South Vietnamese Army (Kansas, 2006); and Is Iraq Another Vietnam? (PublicAffairs, 2006). Brigham is currently working on a textbook on the Vietnam War with Mark P. Bradley (Oxford) and a monograph on John F. Kennedy’s national security strategy (Cambridge).

DATE: Thursday, October 12, 2006
TIME: The doors open at 6:00 p.m. the talk begins at 6:45 p.m.
PLACE: Ridgway Hall, Carlisle Barracks, PA.
For more information, please call (717) 245-3803.
For updates and any last-minute changes in “Perspectives” meeting times and places, please check the AHEC homepage:


Anonymous InterstellarLass said...

Nation-building my ass. What a joke. I wish I could come to that seminar.


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