During the early 70s, we as a country were still largely involved in Vietnam, where we sent our military to fight the Vietcong, or VC, for short. The Vietnam War cost thousands upon thousands of military lives, and equally as many US dollars. In the end, the conflict proved to be a political quagmire, as US Forces became bogged down in a military situation that never reached a concrete resolution. It is thought that veterans remain in Vietnam even today, labeled as prisoners of war or as missing in action.
In comparison, our involvement in modern-day Iraq has been likened to Vietnam because no member of the public is entirely certain why we are choosing to remain there. While politicians tell us that we are helping to secure Iraq's future democracy, the court of public opinion seems to swing in favor of withdrawal, whether immediate or long-term. We helped Iraq in a limited number of ways, eradicated certain terrorist threats, and now, we remain there to "help out." One central reason that we never saw a successful end to Vietnam was because, like the Iraq scenario, we overstayed our welcome.