I don't suppose there are many reading this who will have heard of the "My Canh Cafe" bombing in Saigon in 1965. This was a restaurant barge floating in the Saigon River. There were about forty killed including nine Americans. It had been a popular place. Like the "Taberna du Liban" in Kabul, it had been a kind of "Rick's Place" where foreigners and the local uppoer class gathered as a haven from the outer world. The VC had set off a car bomb at an American billeting hoted the year before. Two Americans were killed in that event.
What distinguished those two attacks in VN was that they were nearly unique events. There may have been similar attacks in Saigon in the remaining eight years of war, but I would have to be reminded of them. The VC seem to have decided that the toll in Vietnamese lives was counterproductive.
In my two years in the country I often went to restaurants in Saigon. Meetings in town were usually the occasions for such luxury. "Guillaume Tell," the "Admiral," "Than-Tam's" in Cholon, the "Arc en Ciel," "Mayflower" for the onion soup, and the "Pizzeria" would be a few of the names. There were guards and locked doors, but nobody seemed worried enough about attacks to stop eating out. The standard of cooking and service was superb. I normally went to such establishment in uniform.
If anyone thinks that such culinary indulgence meant that we were not serious about the war, they should remember the fifty-eight thousand names on the monument on the mall in Washington and the six hundred thousand soldiers that the NVN government admits to having lost,
The bombing in Kabul seems to me to be very different. The communist/nationalist enemy in VN had no intention of waging war against Western civilization. This was entirely a political matter for them fought in the context of Marxist/Leninist control of their political movement. Because of that control they used intensive and violent methods to control the rural population where they could. Their agitprop teams did not hesitate to kill in order to intimidate. Nevertheless, the war was fought to being their idea of a Vietnamese national state into existence. They always expected that such a state would exist withing the galaxy of states made possible by the Peace of Westphalia.
The jihadi Islamists are very different. They ARE waging a war agsainst Western civilization. The Lebanese restaurant was seen by them as evidence of Western cultural penetration. There will be many more such attacks.