NBC News White House correspondent Monica Alba noted on Sunday that Republicans “have seized on” the “optical comparison” of the hasty U.S. withdrawals from both Kabul, Afghanistan, and then-Saigon, South Vietnam, after photos of similar helicopters lifting off from the respective U.S. embassies in both countries 45 years apart went viral Sunday.
CH-47 Chinook helicopters were seen ferrying American diplomatic personnel and Afghan allies from the rooftop of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul for much of the day Saturday and into Sunday, images that were broadcast by news agencies sent out over wire service reports.
During her report, Alba noted that last month President Joe Biden assured Americans that the withdrawal from Afghanistan would not at all resemble the chaotic scenes in what was at the time the capital of South Vietnam ahead of rapidly advancing North Vietnamese troops.
In addition, her report included a clip of Secretary of State Antony Blinken from this past weekend, in which he claimed, “This is manifestly not Saigon.”
NBC Nightly News whined that Republicans "have seized on" the "optical comparison" between Biden's disaster in Kabul and the Saigon airlift. pic.twitter.com/6J30EqMfHh
— Nicholas Fondacaro (@NickFondacaro) August 15, 2021
“Still, helicopters continuously evacuated Americans and our Afghan allies to the airport throughout the day, an optical comparison Republicans have seized on as they continue to blast the president’s foreign policy strategy,” Alba said, as she led into clips of Reps. Michael McCaul of Texas and Liz Cheney of Wyoming ripping Biden.
Alba was asked by NBC Nightly News host Peter Alexander if Biden had any plans to address the nation, to which she replied that no address to the American people had been scheduled as of Sunday evening.
Republicans right now. pic.twitter.com/66LgFttSue
— John Titer (@JohnTiter9) August 15, 2021
Several social media users responded.
“This is what you voted for,” one person wrote.
“Amazing how… somehow… Republicans are the problem to these people,” Club for Growth senior analyst Andrew Follett added.
“Pretty much looks the same to me – even down to the Chinook helicopters and the rooftop pick-up,” another user noted, noting the similar imagery.
— Brad Smith (@bradsbars) August 16, 2021
Up close and personal…not a Republican…https://t.co/mDc99XygGh
— Rank Badjin (@badjin_rank) August 16, 2021
“There is a massive difference. Journalists called out the government’s mishandling of Vietnam. Journalists now just kiss the administration’s a**,” posted another user.
“Not even your propaganda that props him up can save him now,” said another.
With Biden holed up at Camp David and White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki out on a seemingly poorly-timed vacation for a week, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan was assigned the task of addressing the chaotic situation in Afghanistan and especially in the capital.
“The president did not think it was inevitable that the Taliban were going to take control of Afghanistan,” Sullivan told “Good Morning America” on Monday.
“He thought the Afghan national security forces could step up and fight because we spent 20 years, tens of billions of dollars, training them, giving them the best equipment, giving them support of U.S. forces for 20 years,” he added.
“When push came to shove, they decided not to step up and fight for their country,” Sullivan continued.
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan:
“We believe we can effectuate an ongoing evacuation…of Afghans who worked for us…We are working to do that…by securing the airport today. And then, in the days ahead, by taking people out one flight at a time”pic.twitter.com/b4Ii8AgEtN
— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) August 16, 2021
He went on to say that Biden was put in a situation of deciding whether to continue putting U.S. military men and women should continue to be “put in the middle of another country’s civil war when their own army won’t fight to defend them?”
“And his answer to the question was ‘no,’ and that is why he stands by this decision,” Sullivan noted.
Presidential historian and CNN contributor Tim Naftali on Sunday argued that it’s fair to compare what is happening in Kabul to Saigon and to attribute it to Biden.
After noting that Afghanistan was “a mission he didn’t believe in anymore,” he warned that Afghanistan could again become a haven for terrorists.
“If that occurs, this is the Saigon moment for President Biden, and this will be an albatross around his neck for the rest of time,” Naftali said.
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