From a distant view, the last two wars that America fought against international condemnation, the Vietnam War and the Iraq War, seem to be extremely different. However, on a closer look, the wars seem essentially the same.
First let us look at the differences; the first one is obviously, the time-frame. Vietnam, a country a part of the French Indochina, was long struggling for its independence, ever since the World War I, first against the French, then against the Japanese, and then again against the French. On the contrary, Iraq did not really have to fight for its independence, which it was granted by the British on 1936, the territory not being of much use to them.
When the French left Vietnam, it was obvious to President Eisenhower that Ho Chi Minh would win any possible election Vietnam would have. A significant different between the history of Vietnam and Iraq is that Vietnam was a supporter of the Allied Powers in the Second World War, in the war against Japan, whereas Iraq was on the other side.
Ho Chi Minh, although a Communist, had been a great admirer of the West, the United States in particular, directly reiterating the words of Thomas Jefferson in the Vietnamese declaration of independence. He saw the American Revolution as an independence movement, but as a Communist revolution. In contrast, the Iraqi Baathists or jihadists, have always been anti-West, and anti-United States, and would be more similar to the Khmer Rouge, instead of the Viet Cong.
Vietnam was a country that had not invaded any neighboring countries, besides Cambodia, which it did in self-defense, in response to the constant encroachment of Cambodia on Vietnamese territory. In comparison, Iraq invaded Iran and Kuwait.
Vietnam had not been a country under any international sanctions, for developing or...