Matt Zeller is a US Army veteran. He is currently the advisory board chair of the Association of Wartime Allies. He is co-founder of No One Left Behind, a Truman National Security Project Fellow, and an adjunct fellow at the American Security Project. He is the author of “Watches Without Time,” which chronicles his experience serving as an embedded combat adviser in 2
As America’s war in Afghanistan comes to an end, many see the inevitable parallels to Vietnam – a long aimless war, a determined enemy ready to out bleed us, and now an evacuation reminiscent of the chaos of Saigon’s final hours.
When a war ends, two questions loom large: Was it worth it? And how do we end it? Only history can answer the first. Only we can answer the latter.
As North Vietnamese forces bore down in a final assault on the dying nation of South Vietnam, American diplomats, spies, and the small remaining cadre of military advisers desperately mounted a last-minute rescue. None of it was planned ahead of time. The fact that we were able to evacuate 130,000 of our Vietnamese wartime allies in such circumstances was a miracle. Many escaped via ships – the remnants of the South Vietnamese Navy and merchant fleet – and sailed to Guam.