The American Withdrawal... Two Planes and Two Scenes

The American Withdrawal... Two Planes and Two Scenes
The American Withdrawal


Regardless of the extent of the shock that swept the world due to the Taliban’s ability to control Afghanistan and the capital, Kabul, even before the last American soldier left it, what happened and the Afghans’ attempt to escape by taking off planes to any place that receives them away from the tried, bloody and fundamentalist Taliban rule has been likened to the departure of the Taliban. US Army from the Vietnamese capital Saigon1975. Two pictures were published around the world. The first was an old picture of Vietnamese citizens trying to hang on to a helicopter over the US intelligence center in Saigon, and the second picture is recent from Kabul airport, in which Afghans are also trying to hang on to the planes that were evacuating citizens of Western countries from the Afghan capital. Of course, this comparison with political and military objectives means to say that the American withdrawal is like a defeat on the one hand, and that the Americans put their interests ahead of the interests of the peoples they occupy under the pretext of achieving democracy and building regimes and governments that seek progress and respect for human rights, on the other hand.

History repeats itself as a farce

The events depicted in the first photograph taken on April 29, 1975 in Saigon, began after the US Army Radio broadcast the news that “the temperature in Saigon is 105 degrees and rising,” and this news was a coded message that means that the military situation is completely loose and that it has begun The immediate evacuation of all Americans remaining in Vietnam after the United States withdrew its combat forces after the signing of the Paris Peace Accords in 1973, leaving some 5,000 Americans, including diplomats, Marine Guards, contractors, and CIA personnel. The reason for this sudden and rapid alarm was the resignation of President Richard Nixon over the "Watergate" scandal, which prompted the North Vietnamese army to launch a major offensive in March 1975, despite Nixon's promise to protect the South Vietnamese against any attack from the North. 

“North Vietnam never intended to abide by the 1973 agreement, its ultimate goal was to unify the country,” says Tom Clavin, co-author of Last Men Out: The True Story of America's Heroic Final Hours in Vietnam. Taliban. But it seems that "history repeats itself twice, and in the second in the form of a farce", as the socio-economic philosopher Karl Marx says. 

During the North Vietnamese army's invasion of the south, it met little resistance and no response from the remaining American soldiers. After the fall of Da Nang, the second largest city in South Vietnam, a massive exodus of Vietnamese, frightened and desperate from the communist army's control and fearing reprisals, set off. They clung to the back stairs of an American Airlines plane, and some of them fell in flight. South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu resigned and fled the country, where 150,000 communist soldiers stood on the banks of Saigon.

Where do interests begin and when do they end?

The same scene was repeated in Afghanistan, but in the 21st century the picture is now transmitted around the world and seen by billions of people, unlike the situation in the Vietnamese years. Despite that, the Vietnamese image left its great impact on the United States and the "free world", which considered the matter a betrayal of the Vietnamese allied with the Americans and abandoned them in favor of the barbaric enemy. As for the Afghan picture, it left the same effect, but this time in a very exaggerated way, which prompted British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to describe the matter as a "disaster", and German Chancellor Angela Merkel described it as a stain on the forehead of the West, and even Democrats of the Senate and House of Representatives were forced to criticize a move Unilateral withdrawal and intelligence reports that had not foreseen such a sudden scenario. 

The world will remember that defining moment in the history of Afghans and the region with a mixture of sadness and anger over the 20 years the United States spent in Afghanistan, in which it spent at least $2.261 trillion, according to the “Costs of War Project” at Brown University, without even laying a simple foundation for building An Afghan state that most of the Afghan people were waiting for, believing that the time of the "Taliban" had passed forever. 

Back to comparison

During the crisis in Vietnam and within the South Vietnamese capital, US Ambassador Graham Martin rejected repeated calls to evacuate, feared causing panic in the city and wanted to fulfill his mandate given to him by Nixon to preserve South Vietnam's presence. In the Afghan case, the US ambassador was unable to declare in the first place, as he had only one option: to declare an evacuation. The problem lies in expectations, as no one expected that the withdrawal of the US army would lead to the takeover of the "Taliban", because the US government believed that the Afghan army had received the necessary funding and training to defend the country, and of course this estimate was misplaced.

In Vietnam, the bombing of the Tan Son Nhut Air Base in Saigon by North Vietnamese forces killed two US Marines who were guarding the Defense Attaché Office compound. Corporal Charles McMahon and Corporal Darwin Judge were the last of the 58,000 American soldiers killed in the Vietnam War. After surveying the damage to the air base, Graham Martin acknowledged that it was time to leave Saigon, but with sea lanes closed and commercial and military aircraft unable to land, the helicopter airlift option had to be made. The Americans and their Vietnamese allies gathered at pre-arranged locations for buses and helicopters to take them to US Navy ships 40 miles away in the South China Sea.

While the pandemonium took place outside the military attache's office, where the airlift was launched by helicopters, about ten thousand people gathered, and the US Marines had the unenviable task of deciding who to rescue and who to leave in front of them.

At the same time, the pilots of the South Vietnamese Air Force seized a large number of helicopters, carried their families and everyone who could carry them on board and landed them on the deck of American aircraft carriers in the open ocean, and because of the huge number of these planes, the soldiers working on the deck of these ships were forced to push the helicopters To the sea to make way for other planes to land.

The last Marines to evacuate the embassy in Saigon left after dawn on April 30, leaving thousands of Vietnamese who could not escape. In the end, the result of the evacuation process was record numbers, as 7,000 people, including 5,500 Vietnamese, were evacuated in less than 24 hours.'

Source independentarabia