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Abandon Friendly Afghans? Saigon 2, The Sequel?

By | May 11, 2021 | 0 Comments

If you’re old enough, you remember this photo all too well. It was the last helicopter out of Saigon. It was the last means of escape for Vietnamese who had aided America. It was the last way to avoid death or torture by the communists. And for those who missed that last flight, there was a perilous journey across the South China Sea, infested with sharks and pirates. About 1 million took that route. No one knows how many drowned or were killed by pirates.

Most Americans of both parties wanted to get out of Vietnam. But then as now, Democrats took the lead. They opposed even helping friendly Vietnamese refugees to enter the US. Senator Biden was vocal in his opposition, and California Governor Brown opposed letting refugee planes land in his state.

Why dredge up this unhappy memory? Because betrayal is about to happen again. What will happen to the many thousands of Afghans who helped us as translators, guides, and in other ways? Our visa program for these people is notoriously slow and limited. A clue as to what will happen is the recent bombing of a girls’ school by the Taliban, who oppose educating girls. At least 85 were killed. If the fanatics kill innocent girls who did nothing against them, what will they do to those who helped Americans fight them?

What is the lesson America wishes to teach the world? That it is safer to be our enemy than our friend? Because that is precisely the lesson we will be teaching if we leave Afghanistan completely. It was the lesson we taught the world when we abandoned South Vietnam in 1975, and it took decades to undo that lesson. Some would say that it was not undone until the world saw our response to 9/11. Do we really want to repeat that disgraceful episode?

A nation that abandons its friends appears as an undependable ally and a feeble enemy. Do we really want to have fewer friends and more enemies?

 

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