Reprise: Afghanistan, Vietnam all over again.

Last July, I posted pictures of what the panicky withdrawal from Vietnam looked like in the 1970s, saying we are about to see the same thing in Afghanistan.

That prediction was greeted with some amount of skepticism, but the scenes of our bug-out from Afghanistan are as sad and troubling of those from Vietnam. If not more.

President Joe Biden’s precipitous flight from Afghanistan could have been America’s biggest ever military blunder. (Check the “worst” ones here. Number One on that list is the War of 1812 defeat at Bladensburg that threw open Washington D.C. for burning by the British.)

Kabul will hound Biden for the rest of his life and throughout American history, just as the “Bladensburg races” and the burning of Washington hounded the young U.S. military for years.

My earlier column, “Afghanistan, Vietnam all over again” is here.

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Tags: Kabul


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  • Yes, Blandensburg. It's haunted the memory of President Madison throughout our history. Why, one can't even think of Madison without thinking of Blandensburg.


  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    When I see public school children in my practice on school holidays, I'll ask, Who bombed Pearl Harbor? I've heard the Germans, Russians, and Italians. Never Japan. When I ask, What came first, the Revolution or Civil War? it's like a coin flip 50/50 right/wrong. When I ask on Presidents Day, Which President came first, Washington or Lincoln? most say Lincoln. So, yea, Bladensburg is not on their radar. But they are learning LGBQT (whatever it is) and CRT so Saigon and Kabul will only be topics for historians and old farts.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Hell, why would anyone remember Blandensburg? Is it (or the War of 1812) mmentioned anymore in school? Or is it mentioned because it somehow was the result of white supremacy.

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    I compliment you for writing a superb historical novel about the War of 1812. I taught it many years ago and I hope it still is taught. It was a pivotal event in our democracy.

  • What about Douglas MacArthur's withdrawal from the Philippines? About ten thousand American and Philippine soldiers died in the resulting Bataan Death March, and many thousands more were injured and suffered. Did this tarnish his reputation?

    On October 23,1983, 241 service members, including 220 marines were killed by a truck bomb in Beirut. Ronald Reagan withdrew all of our forces from Lebanon. Did this tarnish his reputation?

    About three dozen U.S. service members were killed or injured leaving Kabul; sixty Afghans were killed and over one hundred injured. We don't know what the future holds, but compared with most historic withdrawals, the one from Kabul was quite orderly. Withdrawing from a war that didn't at least result in a draw, such as Korea, is never totally orderly.

  • But, in all the situations you cite, hundreds of millions of dollars of top of the line aircraft, vehicles, sophisticated armaments, data systems, and other equipment were not left behind for the use of the enemy. There's the rub. That stuff will ultimately be used against US interests.

  • In reply to Get out of IL now!:

    MacArthur and his staff left on two PT boats, leaving behind all of his supplies and equipment, along with more that 60,000 troops.

  • In reply to jnorto:

    By the order of FDR. MacArthur did not want to leave. This is not about reputations but lives. Will this harm Biden's ultimately minor and disruptive role in history? Who cares. Did it harm FDR? No, he is considered a secular saint by the Democrats, despite his economic jiggering that extended the Depression, his interring Japanese-American citizens, his capitulation to Stalin.* When those failures are mentioned it is conveniently left out that FDR had a "D" after his name.

    *If you wish to find sources on this, look it up. I'm not a reporter.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Historians this past July rated the 44 presidents no longer in office. Only Lincoln and Washington were rated higher than FDR.

    Your hero Trump in his debut was rated 41.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Just wonder how many of those "historians" were Leftist-Democrats? Let's see where your "hero", Joe "Girl sniffer' Biden rates.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    President Biden is still in office. The ratings are for presidents no longer in office.

    How he'll be rated will depend of course on what he has achieved and will achieve while president. So far he has demonstrated gravitas and empathy at a high level. History, I believe, will look with favor on his courageous decision to end our 20-year reckless adventure in Afghanistan. If he can get his legislation successfully through Congress, which is far from certain, Biden will go down as one of our best presidents ever.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    I said, "let's see." Captain "Empathy" has so far left hundreds -- maybe thousands-- of Americans and American Afghan supporters behind in country. He has also created a humanitarian disaster at what used to be our southern border, and the kids being abused in horrible conditions would likely pray for one of Obama-Biden (labeled Trump's) cages. He has cost thousands of jobs with his shutting down of the Keystone pipeline. Good union jobs, I might add. His energy policies have caused the price at the pump for gas to skyrocket, hurting the "widdle" people he and the Democrat millionaires claim to care so much about. Oh, and "his" decision to leave Afghanistan was engineered by Trump and derailed by Dementia Joe surrendering our airbase there and sneaking out in the middle of the night, a complete surprise to our allies.

    If the Leftist-Democrat "historians" are surveyed on Biden's place in history I believe you are right. He will be right there at the top. A L/D historian sees ultimate success in the destruction and failure of a once great country.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    > He has cost thousands of jobs with his shutting down of the Keystone pipeline.

    Just to point out... Richard Davis completely made this up. There is absolutely no basis in fact for that claim. Absolutely none. No one who actually had to defend their claims ever stated that there were thousands of jobs associated with Keystone. No one. This pipeline is all about reducing supply glut in the Central US and giving oil produced in the Central West states access to the free trade zones in Texas. That's all. Keystone never had anything to do with energy independence or anything else that it was claimed to be.

  • In reply to jnorto:

    Your MacArthur reference makes Dennis’ point perfectly. MacArthur is forever remembered as Dugout Doug for abandoning his troops. Just like Joe will be known for abandoning hundreds of Americans in Afghanistan. MacArthur is also known for his choreographed “I shall return”, just like Joe saying the withdrawal was a total success. As you said, MacArthur has his infamy, so will Biden.

  • In reply to Get out of IL now!:

    You misinterpret both history and my comment by suggesting that MacArthur or FDR were dishonored by the withdrawal from the Philippines. The troops he left behind were pretty upset with him, but history has judged this a costly but necessary strategic withdrawal. History will judge the Trump-Biden withdrawal in the same way. and at a far lower cost.

  • In reply to Get out of IL now!:

    " As you said, MacArthur has his infamy, so will Biden."
    MacArthur is popularly remembered for two things: "I shall return" and the masterminding the American strategy for the Korean War -- the Battle of Incheon was MacArthur's idea (and carried out by US marines). Aside from some military history specialists, NOBODY gives a toss about his "abandoning" troops (if can be characterized as that).

    So, no, no MacArthur "infamy."

    As for equipment being seized, that's been a problem with every American withdrawal.

  • anybody who thinks that the image of the USA wasn't tarnished by the haphazard withdraw from Afghanistan, the broken promises made to Americans and allies alike, the CYA "spin" put out by this mealy-mouthed president and his administration hasn't been paying attention. Anybody who thinks this administration projects strength, loyalty, and resolve to the rest of the world....wellll, I suppose everyone is entitled to their own opinions.

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