Vietnam War veteran John Rowan said on the Fox Nation special “Modern Warriors” that aired Saturday on Fox News Channel that the United States government “didn’t really build a democratic government” in Afghanistan or Vietnam.
“[I]t all goes back to the original sin, which was we didn’t really build a democratic government in any of these places,” he said. “…[I]n Vietnam, in particular – … we made so many mistakes it wasn’t even funny. I had access to certain information because of the job I did, and it was ridiculous. And [Afghanistan]’s no better. We built this house of cards we call the government.”
“We didn’t put real people in it [who] really cared about democracy,” Rowan continued. “They only cared about how much money they can line their pockets [with]. And sure, when everything hit the fan, what happened? [Afghanistan’s president] took off in his private jet with a whole bunch of other people and a whole ton of money, and God knows where the hell he is. Meanwhile, all the military, we’re getting sliced up like crazy.”
Rowan was not the only veteran to criticize his country. Fellow veteran James McCloughan expressed feelings of betrayal by his homeland.
The Medal of Honor recipient said that the fall of Saigon was “kind of like building a house and then somebody com[ing] along and just tearing it down.” U.S. government, Rowan lamented, did not recognize that soldiers were “putting [their lives] on the line. …[U.S. officials] turned their back[s] on you, and people don’t understand, that’s the emotional and psychological part of being a warrior that they don’t understand because they weren’t in our boots.”
Host Pete Hegseth remarked that the similarities between President Biden’s botched U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and President Ford’s withdrawal from Saigon are “staggering.” Hegseth said during his tour of duty in Afghanistan, he and his compatriots “attempted to install democracy” but “the Afghans never wanted democracy, nor were [they] capable of repelling it anyway.”
“Or they don’t understand what it actually meant, or it’s not compatible with their religious and tribal traditions,” he added.