Top Russian General Warns Of 'Second Vietnam' In Iraq

MOSCOW -- The United States is in danger of getting bogged down in another Vietnam in Iraq, a top Russian general warned on Wednesday, saying that armed resistance to U.S.-led forces was not simple terrorism.

"The resistance in Iraq is not terrorism," deputy chief of staff General Yury Baluyevsky told a group of foreign journalists.

"God preserve us from Iraq becoming a second Vietnam for the Americans," he said.

In the two months since U.S. President George W. Bush declared victory in Iraq, U.S.-led occupation forces have faced a wave of attacks that have killed 22 American troops and six British soldiers.

Baluyevsky expressed doubts that there were any members of the al-Qaeda terrorist network in Iraq and whether the attacks were being carried out by diehards from the ousted Baath regime.

He also said he did not believe the United States would halt the resistance by killing ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. The Russian general remarked that the situation was so difficult that "the United States and Britain are putting pressure on other NATO members to get involved in Iraq."

"I don't envy the Polish," he added, referring to scorching summer temperatures in Iraq that according to him could reach 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit).

Warsaw, a key European supporter of the United States during the Iraq war, has been given command of a multinational stabilization force in one sector of Iraq, alongside some 150,000 US and 12,000 British troops.