Vietnamization vs. Iraqization
Even though Vietnam and Iraq are far from the same, there are certainly similarities--although they're not necessarily the ones the "quagmire" crowd would cite. We are now engaged in a very intense part of the "Iraqization" phase of the current war, very roughly similar to the "Vietnamization" phase of the Vietnam War (I've written about the latter here).
Seekerblog has an edifying post on the trajectory of the process of Iraqization, and why there's every reason to believe it's building geometrically, and will continue to do so.
Coincidentally, in the newly-released issue of Foreign Affairs, none other than Melvin Laird, Nixon's Secretary of Defense, discusses the topic of Vietnamization, and compares it to the current situation in Iraq. Of course Laird, as the architect of Vietnamization, is defending his own record when he writes that Vietnamization (contrary to MSM spin) was actually going rather well until Congress pulled the funding plug in 1975. But I've read other pieces on much the same theme, (such as this one), and I find their arguments quite persuasive.
Laird notes an important ideological and tactical difference between Vietnamization and Iraqization, and thus has saved me the trouble of writing my own post on the subject, because--astonished though I may be to find myself agreeing with Nixon's Secretary of Defense at this late date--it's a distinction I'd been thinking of pointing out myself:
Those who call the new Iraqi government Washington's "puppet" don't know what a real puppet government is. The Iraqis are as eager to be on their own as we are to have them succeed. In Vietnam, an American, Ambassador Philip Habib, wrote the constitution in 1967. Elections were choreographed by the United States to empower corrupt, selfish men who were no more than dictators in the garb of statesmen.
Little wonder that the passionate nationalists in the North came off as the group with something to offer. I do not personally believe the Saigon government was fated to fall apart someday through lack of integrity, and apparently the Soviet Union didn't think so either or it would not have pursued the war. But it is true that the U.S. administrations at the time severely underestimated the need for a legitimate government in South Vietnam and instead assumed that a shadow government and military force could win the day. In Iraq, a legitimate government, not window-dressing, must be the primary goal. The factious process of writing the Iraqi constitution has been painful to watch, and the varying factions must be kept on track. But the process is healthy and, more important, homegrown.
Funny how the old man has gotten so much smarter over the years. I suggest you read the whole thing.