History hardly ever repeats itself, it only appears like it does to those unfamiliar with its particulars. Which is why Ross Douthat's comparison of the Iraq war to the occupation of the Philippines is incorrect. Ross writes, at the American Scene:
[S]o far the military conflict that the Iraq War most resembles isn't Vietnam or World War II, but the TR-boosted Spanish-American War - a quick and painless military victory over a second-rate power, driven by a mix of idealism, jingoism, and power politics, that segued into a long and grueling counter-insurgency campaign [in the Philippines].
What gave the Filipino insurgency its popular appeal is notably absent from the Iraqi insurgency. The Filipino insurgents had a degree of popular support based on its claim that Filipinos should govern the Philippines.
The Filipino insurgents had Emilio Aguinaldo, a Filipinio native, to lead them. Which Iraqi is a leader in the jihadist insurgency? The Iraqi insurgents were led by, before he was killed, Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian. And now they are led by Abu Ayyub al-Masri, an Egyptian. The most hardcore and violent members of the insurgency are foreign jihadists, with no legitimate claim to pan-Iraqi nationalism.
Meanwhile, the United States armed forces are in Iraq today with the consent of the democratically elected government. Furthermore, the goal of the jihadists isn't a return to Iraqi rule, but a continuation of sectarian violence and terror that would extend beyond any U.S. troop withdrawal.
The differences, in this case, are more important than the superficial similarities in Ross' historical analogy. The Iraq war is many things--a replay of the occupation of the Philippines it most assuredly is not.