FACT CHECK: Did Biden Actually Say Afghanistan Wouldn’t End with Rooftop Helicopter Evacuations?

 Since the utter and shameful collapse of Afghanistan this month[3], a meme has been going around the internet that quotes Joe Biden with an especially poignant quote about the comparisons to the collapse of South Vietnam and the scenes of chaos as people were evacuated from the roof of the U.S. embassy by helicopter, you can see the Biden meme for yourself here:

The quote comes from a response by Biden during the reporter question-and-answer period of his statements on Afghanistan. [1][2]

Here is the exchange with the reporter:

Q:   Mr. President, some Vietnamese veterans see echoes of their experience in this withdrawal in Afghanistan.  Do you see any parallels between this withdrawal and what happened in Vietnam, with some people feeling —

THE PRESIDENT:  None whatsoever.  Zero.  What you had is — you had entire brigades breaking through the gates of our embassy — six, if I’m not mistaken.

The Taliban is not the south — the North Vietnamese army. They’re not — they’re not remotely comparable in terms of capability.  There’s going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of a embassy in the — of the United States from Afghanistan.  It is not at all comparable.

I’ve bolded the section that was roughly excerpted in the meme. As you can see, the meme creator cleaned up Biden momentarily referring to the Communist fighters as “South” Vietnamese which is another Biden slip-up possibly related to his alleged dementia, and they have deleted the last sentence of the paragraph, but otherwise the quote is verbatim from the published transcript.

The comparison is to the iconic photo of a rescue in Saigon as North Vietnamese Communists were entering the city.[17]

The Vietnam photo was taken by a UPI reporter, Hubert van es, who took a photograph of a CIA officer helping evacuees from 22 Gia Long Street in Saigon, whose top floor were filled with American CIA officials. [4][5][6] The helicopter is a famous “Huey” UH-1, working for Air America, a CIA front company. The Operation was called Frequent Wind, and it involved a great deal of heroism by many pilots to risk their lives to save the last people before Communists took final control over the country. [18]

They were fleeing because they knew that the Communists would imprison them and kill their families. An estimated 15,000-200,000 died in ‘re-education camps’ for political prisoners set up by the North Vietnamese after their victory. [7][8][9][12] Another estimated 20,000-200,000 died after forced relocations as part of the “New Economic Zones” that involved massive forced population transfers and slavery. [10][11] Another estimated 200,000-600,000 died while escaping via the oceans, among an estimated 2 million who fled Vietnam after it was seized by Communism and expected their execution.[13][14][15][16]

The poignancy of the comparison by the reporter, and Biden’s now-obviously-incorrect response, illustrates what some say is the ongoing incompetence of the Biden administration.

RATINGTRUE: Biden actually said this.


1 ] https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2021/07/08/remarks-by-president-biden-on-the-drawdown-of-u-s-forces-in-afghanistan/
2 ] https://archive.is/iAOr1
3 ] https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Foreign-Policy/2021/0815/Abrupt-collapse-of-Afghan-army-surprises-Biden-administration
4 ] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/22_Gia_Long_Street
5 ] https://nypost.com/2019/04/23/new-book-reveals-truth-behind-this-famed-fall-of-saigon-photo/
6 ] https://www.vintag.es/2019/04/hubert-van-es-fall-of-saigon.html
7 ] https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1982/12/23/forced-reeducation-camps-continue-in-vietnam-laos/530b0f13-7982-4e96-8359-35ae3baed72c/
8 ] https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1994/05/15/surviving-communist-reeducation-camp/5f6164e7-6370-4d19-95e3-5f10bc66fab0/
9 ] http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/SOD.CHAP6.HTM
10 ] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Economic_Zones_program
11 ] https://asiapacificcurriculum.ca/learning-module/vietnam-after-war
12 ] http://bocmo.blogspot.com/2008/07/165000-people-died-in-north-vietnam-re.html
13 ] https://www.vietnameseboatpeople.org/about
14 ] https://www.nytimes.com/1995/03/16/world/boat-people-prefer-death-to-homeland.html
15 ] https://www.nytimes.com/1981/06/26/world/exodus-of-vietnam-boat-people-climbing-back-to-the-1979-levels.html
16 ] https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/five-myths/five-myths-about-the-vietnam-war/2017/09/29/467ef3e0-a474-11e7-ade1-76d061d56efa_story.html
17 ] https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/06/25/plan-evacuate-us-allies-afghanistan-raises-specters-iraq-vietnam/
18 ] https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/in-vietnam-defying-us-authorities-to-rescue-us-allies/2019/06/13/efd592f4-7b1a-11e9-8bb7-0fc796cf2ec0_story.html

FACT CHECK: Did Biden Actually Say Afghanistan Wouldn’t End with Rooftop Helicopter Evacuations? FACT CHECK: Did Biden Actually Say Afghanistan Wouldn’t End with Rooftop Helicopter Evacuations? Reviewed by CUZZ BLUE on August 17, 2021 Rating: 5

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