Biden’s denial that leaving Afghanistan won’t be like Vietnam broke multiple rules of PR and politics; he answered a hypothetical question, he predicted an outcome over something he could not control, and he gave a firm point of reference against which he could be judged wrong.
His denial on July 8 framed Afghanistan using the worst possible comparison – the emotionally powerful and resonant Vietnam war. Within two weeks he was wrong. Images of US soldiers, helicopters and citizens leaving from Vietnam and Afghanistan were placed alongside each other.
What should his answer have been? He could have said “War is easy to start, but difficult to end. It is never pretty. I did not start either war, but I knew our part in both had to end.”