Cal Thomas explains why Iraq "isn't Vietnam":
While Vietnam is communist, Vietnamese did not attack America on September 11, 2001, nor are they infiltrating our country in an attempt to destroy us. To those who say Saddam didn't attack us on September 11, the answer the president can give is that terror is all part of the same fanatical package.
I think the main thing people have in mind when they compare Iraq to Vietnam is the intractability of the conflict and the difficulty of extricating U.S. troops. But I suppose they also mean that both wars had thin national security justifications, and Thomas is saying the argument for the war in Iraq was stronger because, while Iraq never attacked us, its regime was "part of the same fanatical package" as the people who did.
Even if Saddam Hussein occasionally took time out from oppressing and murdering his own people to, say, send a check to the family of a Palestinian suicide bomber, I'm not sure that makes him part of the same fanatical package as Al Qaeda, especially if neither he nor the bomber could accurately be described as an Islamic extremist. And what happened to making the world safe through democracy? Maybe the vision of freedom and tolerance in Iraq spreading throughout the Middle East seems too much like a benign version of the domino theory, which would remind people of Vietnam again.