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Biden’s ‘fall of Saigon’ in Afghanistan presents worst moment yet of presidency

The day was July 8. The topic: President Biden announced a timeline for a drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, with the military mission of two decades ending on Aug. 31. 

After making his remarks, the president fielded this question: “Mr. President, some Vietnamese veterans see echoes of their experience in this withdrawal in Afghanistan. Do you see any parallels between this withdrawal and what happened in Vietnam?”

“None whatsoever,” Biden replied. “Zero. What you had is you had entire brigades breaking through the gates of our embassy — six, if I’m not mistaken. The Taliban is not the South — the North Vietnamese army. They’re not — they’re not remotely comparable in terms of capability. There’s going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy in the — of the United States from Afghanistan. It is not at all comparable.”

Fast forward one month, and the outcome is already a disaster, with the worst yet to come in Afghanistan. The Taliban has seized city after city and province after province with little resistance, and on Sunday has completely taken over the country, including in stunningly rapid fashion the capital city of Kabul, per multiple reports. Consequently, the U.S. embassy is rapidly being evacuated via helicopter. 

“What is abnormal is the scale of American helicopters circulating around the area of the embassy,” CNN reported early Sunday. “I have not seen anything like this in 20 years, in terms of the volume,” according to a CNN report early Sunday. 



In the past week, comparisons to the fall of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 — which included the chaotic evacuation of the U.S. Embassy as communist forces took over the South Vietnamese capital — have gained steam in headlines and on social media. And this isn’t a “conservative pounce” moment, either. Team Biden is getting hit from the right, the left and everywhere in between for its miscalculation that the Taliban could be reasoned with and would not immediately proceed to take back the country, including the capital city of Kabul. 


From former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich:

From Politico’s Playbook:

From the New York Post: 

And from The New York Times: 

Given that the Times hasn’t endorsed a Republican presidential candidate since Eisenhower, you can be certain this got the White House’s attention. And no #PsakiBomb word salad marinated in snark can spin this effectively for her boss, particularly now that Kabul will fall and Sept. 11 and “celebrations” reverberate via the Taliban  on the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks that may include the U.S. embassy being Ground Zero for said celebrations. 
The Biden administration knows what such an optic could do to him politically, so American negotiators are asking (yes, asking) for assurances from the Taliban it will not attack the embassy or risk losing foreign aid. Biden has also (ironically) ordered 5,000 troops to go back into Afghanistan to help assist with the evacuation. 

The administration is being hammered by military analysts on TV, too, for poor planning and timing of the U.S. drawdown. The question is the same: Why did Biden announce the departure of U.S. military personnel at the onset of the fighting season instead of completing the process in the dead of winter, when the Taliban retreat to their bases in neighboring Pakistan?

For its part, Biden’s State Department is calling on Afghans to unite, which is laughable against the backdrop of the Taliban conquering major cities on their way to eventually taking Kabul. Such an organization, given its history, has no interest in unity, particularly when having the upper hand militarily. For the Afghan people, particularly women, hell on earth will be their future. 


This also is a time when the plan to keep the president away from reporters and public appearances, in an effort to shield him from any unforced oratorical errors, reflects poorly on him. Instead of leading and defending his actions, he’s treating this moment like the 2020 campaign: out of sight, out of mind.  


The numbers are the numbers: 

  • Almost 8 in 10 (78 percent) of voters say they believe violent crime is a “major problem” in the U.S., according to a Morning Consult poll. 
  • Just 33 percent approve of Biden’s handling of the border, according to an ABC News-Washington Post poll. 

Now the president has a fourth front to defend: Afghanistan, a country that is about to be governed by a terrorist organization that will not hesitate to harbor the likes of ISIS and al Qaeda again. 

It’s the ’70s all over again, except things overall are actually worse. But unlike with Vietnam after the fall of Saigon, the U.S. may be forced to send our troops back in if al Qaeda 2.0 can reorganize in the Taliban’s Afghanistan and carry out another devastating attack on the homeland. 

Joe Concha is a media and politics columnist for The Hill.

Tags Afghan Taliban Afghanistan Afghanistan–United States relations Joe Biden Kabul Presidency of Donald Trump Presidency of Joe Biden War in Afghanistan Withdrawal of United States troops from Afghanistan

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