Recent events have brought back memories of the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam and our abandonment of the multiple thousands of South Vietnamese that fought by our side against the North Vietnamese. Among those left behind were the 2700 South Vietnamese soldiers who worked with me and my organization in collecting intelligence against the North Vietnamese invaders. I did everything I could to get those men evacuated at the end, but I failed. They were all killed or captured by the North Vietnamese. If they survived, they went to so-called re-education camps, really concentration camps where the death rate was very high.
Now President Trump is preparing to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan. That withdrawal will, as one commentator put it, “produce an outcome that large parts of our foreign policy establishment long resisted — an endgame that accepts the possibility of true defeat, a full Taliban takeover, as the price of reducing American commitments and bringing American troops home.”
Worse, the withdrawal will leave behind Afghan soldiers who might well fall victim to the Taliban.
We Americans have developed a pattern. We engage in wars in places distant from our own shores to obstruct forces inimical to our values and to protect others from tyranny. Then we tire of the battle and withdraw, deserting those who have fought by our side. We did it in Vietnam and Iraq, and now we plan to do it again in Afghanistan.
What does it take for us to learn that if we make a practice of forsaking our allies, we will soon run out of allies?