Biden Steps In It Again

Though Vice President Joe Biden can be rather entertaining, he often suffers from acute foot-in-mouth disease. Biden’s famous open-mic moment after the passage of Obamacare is just one of many cases in point. The infamous, “this is a big f**king deal,” expletive deleted, represents the first time a member of the executive branch of the government publicly used such language. Not to be outdone by himself, this week Biden said that the Taliban isn’t an enemy of the United States. Biden voted to authorize the president to initiate hostilities against the Taliban in 2001.

Biden

White House spokesman Jay Carney said, “It’s only regrettable when taken out of context. It is a simple fact that we went into Afghanistan because of the attack on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. We are there now to ultimately defeat Al Qaeda, to stabilize Afghanistan and stabilize it in part so that Al Qaeda or other terrorists who have as their aim attacks on the United States cannot establish a foothold again in that country.”

During an interview with Newsweek Magazine last week Biden said it’s “good enough” for the U.S. if Afghanistan stops being a “haven for people who do damage and have as a target the United States of America” and its allies. Biden added that the U.S. is supportive of a reconciliation process between the Afghan government and the Taliban even if it’s questionable whether reconciliation is possible.

“Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy. That’s critical,” Biden said. “There is not a single statement that the president has ever made in any of our policy assertions that the Taliban is our enemy, because it threatens U.S. interests. If, in fact, the Taliban is able to collapse the existing government, which is cooperating with us in keeping the bad guys from being able to do damage to us, then that becomes a problem for us.”

Biden said that the U.S. is on a dual track in Afghanistan — keep the pressure on Al Qaeda and support a government that is strong enough to “negotiate with and not be overthrown by the Taliban.”

The attacks of 911 could not have been completed without the direct assistance of the Taliban. The Taliban government allowed Osama Bin Laden to train and equip Al Qaeda terrorists and operate within the boundaries of Afghanistan. Aiding a terrorist organization by definition makes the Taliban an enemy of the U.S.

Carney said the U.S. did not send the military into Afghanistan because the Taliban were in power, and Biden’s point was that “while we are fighting them, it is not the elimination — the elimination of the Taliban is not the issue here.”

Mr. Carney is completely and utterly incorrect. The Taliban ruled Afghanistan and the Afghanistan War was directed both against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. While Mr. Carney may wish to rewrite history to excuse Biden’s blunder, the facts dispute both Carney and Biden.

Biden Strongly Supported Afghanistan War

The Afghanistan War Authorization granted the President the authority to use all “necessary and appropriate force” against those whom he determined “planned, authorized, committed or aided” the September 11th attacks, or who harbored said persons or groups. Mr. Biden voted in favor of authorizing President Bush to attack the Taliban for having aided and harbored Al Qaeda. Unless Mr. Biden votes to attack our friends any reasonable person would conclude that Biden himself felt the Taliban was our enemy.

Osama Bin Laden was an invited guest of the Taliban who provided safe haven and assistance for years prior to the September 11 terrorist attacks; and while the Taliban has been driven into Pakistan they continue to launch attacks on both Afghani and U.S. forces; not the act of a friend.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Biden’s remarks are “bizarre, factually wrong and an outrageous affront our troops carrying out the fight in Afghanistan. The Taliban harbored the terrorists who killed 3,000 Americans on Sept 11. The Taliban continues to wage war against us and our allies, a conflict in which we have lost over 1,800 troops. The Taliban receives arms and training from Iran. And the Taliban seeks to reinstate a tyrannical government that violently rejects basic notions of human rights and oppresses minorities. The Taliban is clearly a bitter enemy of the United States.”

If a poll of American citizens were taken as to whether the Taliban is a friend or an enemy of the U.S. it would approach unanimity, perhaps with the exception of Ron Paul.

The Obama administration has been supportive of efforts between the Afghanistan government and the Taliban in hopes of dissuading the Taliban from participating in insurgent attacks and to disavow terrorism. It’s very likely that Biden was following the lead of Mr. Obama to paint a less threatening picture of the circumstances in Afghanistan to make their rapid withdrawal from the country appear less irresponsible and less politically motivated; unfortunately the administration’s policy on Afghanistan has little to do with stability and is merely a political ploy to soothe their party’s anti-war.

Mr. Biden’s gaffe about the Taliban isn’t likely to cost the president many votes, but it does serve to reinforce the administration’s policy of appeasement and diminishes the president’s efforts to fight terrorism. Should any terrorist organization, or its supporters, believe that America will soften its view of killing our men and woman for political expediency and any deterrent value is lost.