Should We Blame Joe Biden For Fall Of Vietnam Too?

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Should we blame Joe Biden for the fall of Vietnam in 1975, as well as the disastrous Afghanistan evacuation?

Find out what’s the new viral claim, and what the FACTS really are!

 

Claim : President Ford Blamed Joe Biden For Vietnam Disaster

Ever since the American evacuation of Afghanistan turned into the complete and utter collapse of the Afghan government, people have been claiming that it is a repeat of Vietnam.

I had earlier fact checked the viral claim that then Senator Joe Biden unilaterally blocked President Ford’s Vietnam evacuation.

On the same day, Jeffrey Lord of The America Spectator wrote a piece claiming that President Gerald Ford blamed Senator Joe Biden for the collapse of the South Vietnamese government in 1975.

It’s pretty long, so just skip to the next section for the FACTS…

Somewhere the late President Gerald Ford is shaking his head.

It was Gerald Ford, famously President Richard Nixon’s number two, who took over the presidency when Watergate forced Nixon’s resignation. Which in turn put Ford in charge of winding down the Vietnam War, building on a negotiated settlement that Nixon and his national security adviser Henry Kissinger had reached with the North Vietnamese. The Paris Peace accords were signed in January of 1973, ending all U.S. combat activities.

But eventually, with U.S. combat troops departed, the war resumed. And Democrats were determined to shoot down all funding for the South Vietnamese — period.

In a highly unusual move, the Democrats who ran the Senate Foreign Relations Committee demanded a meeting with Ford at the White House. The last time a president had a formal meeting with the Committee was in 1919, a full 56 years earlier, when President Woodrow Wilson met with the Committee to push his post-World War One League of Nations proposal.

The April, 1975 meeting with Ford and the Committee was, Ford writes in his memoirs A Time to Heal: The Autobiography of Gerald R. Ford, “extremely tense.” Ford quite specifically mentions the presence of the freshman Senator from Delaware — Joe Biden. The discussion became focused on getting out not only the remaining Americans in the country, but the Vietnamese who had been such loyal help to the Americans. Joe Biden would have none of the latter.

“I will vote for any amount for getting the Americans out,” Ford writes of Biden’s words. But “I don’t want it mixed with getting the Vietnamese out.”

Was Joe Biden To Blame For Gerald Ford's Vietnam Disaster?

 

Truth : Joe Biden Cannot Be Blamed For Fall Of Vietnam

With the Afghanistan evacuation crisis still unfolding, it may seem odd to suddenly blame President Joe Biden for the fall of Vietnam. After all, that happened 46 years ago!

The truth is – Joe Biden is not to blame for the fall of the South Vietnamese government in 1975, leading to the infamous helicopter evacuation from the roof of the American embassy in Saigon.

The fake story is being promoted to convey the narrative that the fall of the Afghan government is also Joe Biden’s fault. He did it back in 1975, and he just did it again in 2021.

That is demonstrably FALSE, and these fake news creators know it. However, they are counting on you to simply accept their word, and not to verify the facts yourself.

Here is a quick summary of the facts :

  • South Vietnam would have fallen anyway, even if  the US Congress gave President Ford the $722 million he asked for, to continue the war.
  • The entire Senate Foreign Relations Committee met with President Gerald Ford, not only the Democrats.
  • Joe Biden was against spending additional money on military assistance and the continued use of US troops.
  • Joe Biden was a first-term Senator at that time, and only one of 16 Senators to vote against the funding request.
  • The US Senate nevertheless approved the funding, but it was rejected by the House of Representatives.
  • The deal to withdraw US and allied troops from Afghanistan was negotiated and approved by the Trump Administration in February 2020.
  • The US-Taliban Agreement originally required all US and allied forces to depart Afghanistan by May 2021.
  • President Biden agreed to follow through with the US-Taliban Agreement with a delayed withdrawal date of 31 August 2021.

For those who want the nitty, gritty details, here are the details behind those facts…

Did Joe Biden Block President Ford's Vietnam Evacuation?

Fact #1 : South Vietnam Would Have Fallen Anyway

When President Gerald Ford asked the US Congress for $722 million to continue the Vietnam war, North Vietnamese forces had already reached Xuân Lộc, the last line of defence before Saigon.

Xuân Lộc would fall on 20 April, allowing Saigon to be encircled by 27 April. The city fell and the South Vietnamese government capitulated on 30 April 1975.

In hindsight, it is obvious that the South Vietnamese government would have fallen, even if the US Congress gave President Ford the $722 million he asked for…

Fact #2 : President Ford Met With Entire Senate Foreign Relations Committee

The entire Senate Foreign Relations Committee demanded a face-to-face discussion with President Ford, which took place on 14 April 1975.

It wasn’t just Democrat senators who asked for the meeting, it was also Republican senators.

You can read the entire transcript of that meeting here.

Was Joe Biden To Blame For Gerald Ford's Vietnam Disaster?

Fact #3 : Joe Biden Was Against Military Aid + Use Of US Troops

The American Spectator intentionally quoted a small section of what then Senator Biden said during the meeting with President Ford, to convey the perception that he did not want to help evacuate the Vietnamese.

The truth was he was against funding additional military aid to the falling South Vietnamese government, and the continued use of US troops.

Here was what Senator Joe Biden said at the meeting, in its entirety :

What concerns us is that a week ago Habib told us we would be formulating a plan. A week has gone by and nothing has happened. We should focus on getting them out. Getting the Vietnamese out and military aid for the GVN are totally different.

I feel put upon in being presented an all or nothing number. I don’t want to have to vote to buy it all or not at all. I am not sure I can vote for an amount to put American troops in for one to six months to get the Vietnamese out. I will vote for any amount for getting the Americans out. I don’t want it mixed with getting the Vietnamese out.

I don’t want to commit myself to any precise number. How much money depends on how many we try to get out.

Senator Joe Biden 1975

Fact #4 : Joe Biden Was One of 16 Senators To Vote Against Additional Funding

Senator Joe Biden ultimately voted against the Vietnam Contingency Act (S. 1484) when it was proposed in the US Senate, because he disagreed with two terms in the bill :

  • military assistance to Vietnam
  • authorisation to use American troops (if necessary) to protect the evacuation of South Vietnamese citizens.

Specifically, he was against the Ford Administration tying military assistance to Vietnam and the continued use of US troops, with the evacuation of American and Vietnamese civilians.

He was worried that $100 million of contingency funds in this bill would be used to provide military aid, instead of helping to evacuate the refugees.

Vietnam War Air Cavalry

Fact #5 : US House of Representatives Rejected Funding Request

Senator Joe Biden’s Nay vote was pointless – the US Senate approved the funding request with a 75-17 vote on 24 April 1975.

However, it was rejected by the House of Representatives in a vote of 162 to 246 on 1 May 1975.

Not that it mattered – Saigon and the South Vietnamese government had already fallen by then – on 30 April 1975.

No matter how you slice and dice it, Senator Joe Biden’s vote and comments during his meeting with President Ford had no material effect on the Vietnam War, or its disastrous conclusion.

Fact #5 : US-Taliban Agreement Was Negotiated + Approved By Trump Administration

The US-Taliban Agreement was negotiated and approved by the Trump Administration, and signed on 29 February 2020 in Doha, Qatar.

At that time, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asserted that the Trump Administration was “seizing the best opportunity for peace in a generation.

The US-Taliban Agreement had two “interconnected guarantees” :

  • the withdrawal of all US and international forces by May 2021, and
  • unspecified Taliban action to prevent other groups (including Al Qaeda) from using Afghan soil to threaten the United States and its allies.

US Taliban Agreement signing

Fact #6 : President Biden Opted To Go Ahead With The US-Taliban Agreement

President Joe Biden had the option of renegotiating the US-Taliban Agreement, but that would have meant sending in more US troops to gain additional negotiating leverage over the Taliban.

That would have risked attacks on US and allied troops during the coming spring fighting season, and more casualties amongst both the military and civilians.

“The choice I had to make, as your president, was either to follow through on that agreement or be prepared to go back to fighting the Taliban in the middle of the spring fighting season,” Biden said.

He ultimately decided to go ahead with the withdrawal, with a delayed deadline of 31 August 2021.

Now that you know the truth, please SHARE THIS OUT so other people won’t get fooled by the fake viral claim!

Recommended : Did Joe Biden Block President Ford’s Vietnam Evacuation?

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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