What was it like to watch Saigon fall?

What was it like to watch Saigon fall? May 26, 2015

Here’s instapundit, from this morning, with a particularly-extended pulling-together of  links on Iraq and Syria, and the fact that (in a rare direct quote from Glenn Reynolds)

As late as 2010, things were going so well in Iraq that Obama and Biden were bragging. Now, after Obama’s politically-motivated pullout and disengagement, the whole thing’s fallen apart. This is near-criminal neglect and incompetence, and an awful lot of people will pay a steep price for the Obama Administration’s fecklessness.

It truly is extraordinary, in a bad way, to contemplate the damage in Iraq since 2011, and in Syria and Libya, too; one might choose to deflect the far-reaching consequences of Obama’s pull-out by saying, “the Iraqis failed to defend themselves” but that misses the point that, had we (or rather, Obama) not been so eager to leave, it wouldn’t have happened.  And, given that we have soldiers in bases all over the world, including Germany and Korea, despite having won the conflicts that placed those soldiers there generations ago, there was no strategic need to pull those troops, only a short-sighted desire for political gain, at best, or a personal, willful damn-the-consequences desire, at worse, with a certain, “washing my hands” it’s-not-my-fault attitude towards the whole thing.

Is this how it was, when Saigon fell?  Was there, at the time, a majority that believed that Ho Chi Minh’s ascendance was the Will of the People, and that the subsequent events in Cambodia were wholly unrelated?  Were Americans just wholly indifferent?  Were there memories too short, as ours seem to be now?

Oh, and by the way:  the fact that the media favor the 2003 what-if hypothetical over the 2011 what-if, asking “would you have invaded” rather than “would you have withdrawn”?  This is my pet peeve about that question:  we imagine that the choice was either “keep the status quo” or “invade and overthrow Saddam” but forget that the same protesters who later turned to protesting the war were in the meantime protesting the sanctions — the imagined status quo, of Saddam contained and unable to do any harm, itself was not sustainable.


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