Vietnam War veterans see similarities as US exits Afghanistan

Reporter: Erika Jackson Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
(Left to right) U.S. military veterans Michael Nichols and Samuel Taylor. Both men served during the Vietnam War. Credit: WINK News.

The U.S. military is working around the clock to find any Americans left during its final days of evacuating Afghanistan, as the Taliban enforces its rule in Kabul.

Thousands of people clung onto American planes at an airport in Afghanistan in hopes of getting a flight to freedom. The escape efforts were so desperate seven people died at the airport, some falling from planes as they took off in mid-air.

People who lived through Vietnam compared the images to the fall of Saigon in 1975.

We spoke to American Vietnam War veterans in Southwest Florida who told us the exit from Afghanistan mirrors that of the conflict they were part of decades ago.

“I feel and sense a lot of their frustration in Afghanistan was not as much unlike what we had in Vietnam,” U.S. Air Force veteran Samuel Taylor said.

Taylor was among the 2.7 million Americans sent to fight in Vietnam between 1965 and 1973. More than 58,00 troops didn’t return home.

“I feel bad for those troops who’ve been Afghanistan and said, ‘Why did I waste my time and risk my life if this is what the end result is?” Taylor said. “Again, as I said to me, it’s like saying Vietnam all over again.”

U.S Marine Corps veteran Michael Nichols points to the 2,500 American soldiers killed.

“My only thought is there’s a lot of U.S. citizens dying. There’s no reason for it,” Nichols said. “I think it’s a shame what’s going on there, what they’re doing to the country. They’re tearing it apart.”

The U.S. Originally invaded Afghanistan in 2001. Our nation’s mission was to drive the Taliban from power and a put a stake into Al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden’s terrorist organization that planned the 9/11 attacks while being sheltered in Afghanistan.

With the Taliban back in control, the fear is a step backward in women’s rights and a possible safe haven for terrorists.

“You can’t impose democracy on a society that’s never experienced or had it,” Taylor said. “They have to be willing to do the sacrifice.”

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.