Afghanistan: Vietnam all over again.

Another American betrayal in the works.

The historic and heartbreaking picture of panicked Vietnamese officials and their families lined up to be evacuated in 1975. The last helicopter departed with many still waiting.

“Oh, when will they ever learn.” — Lyrics from Pete Seeger’s antiwar song Where have all the flowers gone,” sung by Peter, Paul & Mary to protest the Vietnam War.

As if we learned nothing from America’s betrayal of South Vietnam. Nor from the human rights violations that ensued when we effectively helped turn the country over to the repressive, communist regime in North Vietnam.

Now, we’re repeating that betrayal as we withdraw troops from Afghanistan.

It will be the end of Afghanistan as an American ally. It will open up the country for the nurturing of terrorist groups that have America in their deadly sights. It will make meaningless the two-decade sacrifice of American lives and treasure. It will be the end of kite flying.

And, it will be yet another betrayal of a country to which America had made promises of protection as an ally in our war against terror.

Just like in Vietnam.

When America negotiated a “peace” and an end to the Vietnam War, we heard the same kind of talk. The provisions included an international peacekeeping force and South Vietnam self-determination.

Oh sure. This is what eventually followed:

In early March the North Vietnamese launched the first phase of what was expected to be a two-year offensive to secure South Vietnam. As it happened, the South’s government and army collapsed in less than two months. Thousands of ARVN troops retreated in disorder, first from the central highlands and then from Hue and Da Nang

Gerald R. Ford, who had succeeded Nixon as U.S. president, pleaded in vain with Congress for additional military aid that might at least raise Saigon’s morale. But members of Congress, like most of their constituents, were ready to wash their hands of a long and futile war.

On April 21 Thieu resigned and flew to Taiwan. On April 30 what remained of the South Vietnamese government surrendered unconditionally, and NVA tank columns occupied Saigon without a struggle. The remaining Americans escaped in a series of frantic air- and sealifts with Vietnamese friends and coworkers. A military government was instituted, and on July 2, 1976, the country was officially united as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam with its capital in Hanoi. Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City. The 30-year struggle for control over Vietnam was over.

A North Vietnamese tank crashes through the gate of the evacuated U.S. embassy.
Before the tank arrived, South Vietnamese climb U.S. embassy fencse eeking refuge.

Among those betrayed were the Montagnards, the central highlights people who fought valiantly on the American side. Their fate:

In battle, the Montagnards were indefatigable. “They were never defeated,” said George Clark, a 5th Special Forces Group Green Beret who served with MIKE Force between 1967 and 1970. “They may have been overrun, but they always took it back. We had full faith in the Montagnards.”

Although roughly 61,000 Montagnards aided the US by the Vietnam War’s end, once the US military pulled out, support for them evaporated. “When we pulled out of Vietnam,” Clark said, “those villages were screwed, and we knew it.”

The Montagnards, some 12,000 total, fled the jungles of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand, and from 1975 to 1992, formed the Front de Liberation des Hauts-Plateaux Montagnard (FLHPM) to fight against the communist government of Vietnam. They were targeted and pursued through military action, killed by tigers and snakebites, and died of disease and starvation. Only 600 are believed to have survived.

The Montagnards fought alongside American Special Forces.

This is not a partisan issue. The scheduled withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan began under ex-President Donald Trump and accelerated by President Joe Biden. They’re responding to the growing isolationist sentiment among Americans.

Just like in Vietnam, the Afghan government and military resistance is collapsing. Reported CBS, “But the situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating. The Taliban retook the northern region overnight, sending more than 1,000 Afghan soldiers fleeing into neighboring Tajikistan.”

The thousands of interpreters who assisted American forces now are begging for their lives. Said one, ” “We are right now at the final stage. They are going to slaughter us anyway.” Why there’s any question whether every last one should be granted asylum in America is beyond me. Especially when tens, no hundreds, of thousands of illegal immigrants are being allowed into the United States to seek asylum without being in the same live-threatening danger.

The wisdom and morality of both wars can be argued forever, but one fact is indisputable: Many, many people will suffer, some will die, because of our sellout.

U.S. sailors transfer a South Vietnamese boy from the USS Blue Ridge to a merchant vessel off the South Vietnam coast during evacuations from South Vietnam.
A weeping South Vietnamese mother and her three children are shown on the deck of this amphibious command ship being plucked out of Saigon by U.S. Marine helicopters in Vietnam, April 29, 1975. 
South Vietnamese evacuees fill a landing craft, assisted by Marines, as they are transferred from the USS Blue Ridge to a merchant vessel in South China on May 4, 1975.

U.S. Navy personnel aboard the USS Blue Ridge push a helicopter into the sea off the coast of Vietnam in order to make room for more evacuation flights from Saigon.
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Comments

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  • The US should not have been in either country to start with. Bush, Cheney, and the neocons were going to bring “American democracy” to the Middle East and Afghanistan when they had thousands of years of tribal customs. The British and Russians weren’t going to change that and neither were we.
    As for Vietnam, I was in high school and thought releasing the Pentagon Papers was traitorous. Read them now, Ho came to the OSS after WWII and thought we would back their independence from colonial France as we had gotten ours from Britain. No, we backed the French who were total exploiters, the US was manipulated by DeGaulle. We forced Ho to turn to Russia. Ho would have been an independent type of Communist like Tito. Ho wanted independence from all foreigners. None of this, our 55,000 dead or our betrayal of our backers would have happened if we had backed and supported Ho with an independent Vietnam, just like now when we are best trading and tourist partners with them, Communist or not. Don’t get involved in other country’s affairs, where neither side likes you while we can bail out and leave the consequences behind.

  • The US was right to go into Afghanistan -- sheltering bin Laden was an act of war under international law. The problem was the Shrub took his eye of the ball and went into Iraq to avenge Hussein's dissing daddy.

    All of those Iraq resources should have been used to find and eliminate bin Laden quickly, and then we should have gone home. Iraq was an utter mistake from the jump. Afghanistan became a mistake when we turned to "nation building."

  • I agree with you. The withdrawal from Afghanistan is a betrayal, as was the withdrawal from Viet Nam. In both cases the U.S. was defeated--not in the sense of losses in battles but in the sense of the will to fight. In both cases we should never have been in the war. In both cases we were drawn to war by our hubris, then having underestimated our enemy, we found ourselves facing a quagmire. If anything can be said for leaving Afghanistan now, it is that we left before we got as deeply into the quagmire as we did in Viet Nam.

  • Awesome blog post Thank you for sharing information.

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