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Joe Biden bet the SOFA in Iraq, and lost

Joe Biden bet the SOFA in Iraq, and lost

Joe Biden’s string of foreign policy mistakes continues.

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In the summer of 2008, putting Joe Biden on the ticket was “Barack Obama’s first decision.”

He was praised by Democrats and the media for his brilliant and serious decision. Choosing Biden, it was alleged, would provide foreign policy gravitas to the campaign and, eventually, the Obama Administration.

But Biden’s track record on foreign policy is terrible. Former Defense Secretary under Obama, Robert Gates, summed it up rather nicely earlier this year.

The vice president, when he was a senator — a very new senator — voted against the aid package for South Vietnam, and that was part of the deal when we pulled out of South Vietnam to try and help them survive. He said that when the Shah fell in Iran in 1979 that that was a step forward for progress toward human rights in Iran. He opposed virtually every element of President Reagan’s defense build-up. He voted against the B-1, the B-2, the MX and so on. He voted against the first Gulf War. So on a number of these major issues, I just frankly, over a long period of time, felt that he had been wrong.”

The latest blistering assessment of Biden was yesterday by Ali Khedery — the longest continuously serving American official in Iraq, acting as a special assistant to five U.S. ambassadors and as a senior adviser to three heads of U.S. Central Command.

Khedery wrote extensively yesterday in the Washington Post how the U.S. decision to leave Iraq under Obama resulted in Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki squandering all of the political and military gains since the American surge of troops. He meticulously describes how Maliki consolidated power, defied the vanishing U.S. influence, and turned a multi-party government into a one-man show by 2009.

But Khedery’s eyebrow raising and most notable comments have hit Biden’s judgment square in the face.

On Sept. 1, 2010, Vice President Biden was in Baghdad for the change-of-command ceremony that would see the departure of Gen. Ray Odierno and the arrival of Gen. Lloyd Austin as commander of U.S. forces. That night, at a dinner at the ambassador’s residence that included Biden, his staff, the generals and senior embassy officials, I made a brief but impassioned argument against Maliki and for the need to respect the constitutional process. But the vice president said Maliki was the only option.

Indeed, the following month he would tell top U.S. officials, “I’ll bet you my vice presidency Maliki will extend the SOFA,” referring to the status-of-forces agreement that would allow U.S. troops to remain in Iraq past 2011.

Despite the reality on the ground for the better part of two years at what Maliki was doing, Biden’s foreign policy judgment was to stick with him. We all see the results of that now as Iraq is falling apart with lightning speed.

It is too bad that Biden didn’t cash in his bet. Perhaps Barack Obama would be better served by someone who at least got a few things right in his career over the last four decades.

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Comments

Doug Wright Old Grouchy | July 4, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Joe Biden is the 2nd biggest argument against impeaching Obama! Heck, a President Biden would probably declare war against Canada!

    Biden is an idiot, a policymaking disaster, a national embarrassment. That much is bloody obvious.

    What is not obvious is that he’s a vicious, vengeful little turd or that he’s blatantly anti-American. Until we see some sign that he’s either of those things, I’d rank him head and shoulders above Il Duce.

      Matt_SE in reply to tom swift. | July 5, 2014 at 2:31 am

      I remember reading that Biden “Borked” one nominee or another (the story might’ve been about Bork himself, I can’t remember). He slandered the person’s record in the most biased, unfair way. Then, after the hearing had concluded, he approached the nominee and said something to the effect that “hey, I know everything I said was untrue but it’s only politics…no hard feelings.”

      This man is certainly a dim bulb, but as you say, he’s a nasty piece of work. He most reminds me of the thuggish cretins employed as hitmen (political and otherwise) by the Soviets to carry out their dirty work.

S’cuse me: Maliki had nothing to gain by extending the SOFA. Mr.Biden’s Boss wouldn’t commit to more than 3,000 troops remaining. Meaningless and a huge statement of weakness and absence of any American resolve. Had the offer been 25K+ as our generals advised and which President Bush had planned and assumed, then the Vast Victory which he handed Obama and Biden could not have been thrown away. What absolute Moral Midgets this loathsome bunch is.

Obama never picked anyone in his administration who would be his intellectual superior.

    NeoConScum in reply to Redneck Law. | July 5, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    Geeez, Redneck, not even Sec’y Lurch(Who, did’ja know, served 3-months in Vietnam 45-years ago?)…Not even Sec’y Queen of Sick Codependency Clinton..?….Not even Valarie J…?….Ohhhh, c’mon now…That ACORN dude whatshisname…?

BannedbytheGuardian | July 5, 2014 at 4:59 am

Bruce – I have been away & don’t know who you are .Normally I can worlk around LI commentators but your views on Iraq are foreign to me. Maliki is the legitimate Leader of Iraq . The Iraquis had the right to choose who / what they wanted . All Iraqui elections were deemed fair . It. is not up to. you to decide what & where he should have diverged from your favoured course.

America ( & anyone else ) made a mistake in arming the Sunnis . Syria made a mistake in allowing Sunni refugees who became the core of the rebel forces to enter in 2003 & stay as. refugees.

Now we have a massive problem .We have lostIraq & all those deaths have been in vain . I am so sorry for the relatives.

Hussein was a bully but it was their problem not ours.

And to think that the media made fun of Dan Quayle. If that alone doesn’t illustrate their bias, I don’t know what does.

you say potato, i say potatoe

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