Helicopters busily rescued personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sunday, just weeks after President Joe Biden promised that there was “no circumstance” in which that spectacle, remembered from Vietnam, would recur.
Images of the evacuation of the U.S. embassy in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) are seared into the American imagination as a memory of humiliating defeat, as U.S. promises of security for South Vietnam collapsed with the North Vietnamese advance.
On July 8, Biden had the following exchange with a reporter after remarks on the upcoming withdrawal from Afghanistan:
Q 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, with some people feeling —
THE PRESIDENT: None whatsoever. 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 a embassy in the — of the United States from Afghanistan. It is not at all comparable.
This may become the most infamous — and devastating — press conference ever held by an American President. pic.twitter.com/j4kKwyPDVm
— BDW (@BryanDeanWright) August 15, 2021
On Sunday, the Wall Street Journal reported:
At the U.S. Embassy on Sunday afternoon, helicopters ferried American and Western diplomats and civilians to the military side of Kabul airport. One after another, Chinooks and Black Hawks took off from the landing zone, spraying dust.
Below them was a city of traffic jams and roundabouts choked by cars—many of them filled with Afghans trying to reach the airport’s relative safety. Dark smoke, presumably from burning documents, rose from the presidential palace.
The embassy has been a refuge for Americans, and had lately, under Biden, been fashioned into an exemplar of “progressive” Western left-wing ideals, as in the following tweet:
The month of June is recognized as (LGBTI) Pride Month. The United States respects the dignity & equality of LGBTI people & celebrates their contributions to the society. We remain committed to supporting civil rights of minorities, including LGBTI persons. #Pride2021 #PrideMonth pic.twitter.com/qgKPQAPaOY
— U.S. Embassy Kabul (@USEmbassyKabul) June 2, 2021
Various media reports suggested that the Taliban expected Kabul, and the government itself, to be surrendered soon — potentially within hours.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new e-book, We Told You So!: The First 100 Days of Joe Biden’s Radical Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.