WASHINGTON (PAI) — There are many parallels between the Vietnam War and the present Iraq war, says a Communications Workers vice president who helped lead the AFL-CIO into its anti-Iraq war stand last year.

Speaking at an Oct. 5 panel on health impacts of the Iraq war sponsored by the federation’s Department for Professional Employees at the AFL-CIO headquarters here, Brooks Sunkett — himself a Vietnam veteran — declared, “We have a president who is going to run this war at all costs to the health and safety of the American public.”

Sunkett heads the CWA’s department for public workers. He helped push through the resolution at the 2005 AFL-CIO convention calling for “rapid withdrawal” of U.S. troops from Iraq.

Sunkett said U.S. leaders lied to both the soldiers and the people about the reasons for the war. “You heard the phrase then and you hear this phrase today: ‘If we aren’t there fighting them, they’ll be here fighting us,’” he said. Other similarities included U.S. leaders saying then and now that our forces would be seen as “liberators” by the Vietnamese and the Iraqis, that civilian deaths are “seven to eight times” those of U.S. troops, and that leaders claim “we’re fighting to bring democracy” to those countries. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said.

“We spend billions on the war and public services are lacking,” said Sunkett. “We have seen massive cutbacks in care for the disabled and the elderly. Institutions are closed or privatized.”