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Sen. Joe Biden Finally Gets It Right: "The Vice President Doesn't Know What's He's Talking About"

Reported by Marie Therese - January 22, 2007 -

At long last! Some fightin' words from the Democrats! Sen. Joe Biden delivered a clear, concise message to the Vice President during yesterday's edition of FOX News Sunday.

In the news round-up at the beginning of the show, FNS host Chris Wallace mentioned the downing of a U. S. helicopter and the loss of 19 American lives, making this the deadliest "one-day death toll" for our soldiers in two years. Yet, despite this horrible news and overwhelming opposition to the surge from the military community and in defiance of poll after poll that shows plummeting support for the President's "surge" idea, Wallace began with this question, so typical of the "put a happy face on it' approach that infects the FOX News Channel.

CHRIS WALLACE: "Senator Levin, there is now at this point a scramble in the Senate to pass some resolution opposing the President's new troop increase in Iraq. A resolution that you and Senator Biden have co-authored says that it is not in the national interest to escalate the U. S. military presence in Iraq. But the fact is, that in recent days there has been a bit of good news from Iraq. We've seen people loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr arrested. The Iraqis are, reportedly, sending more troops into Baghdad. And we now have this draft constitutional amendment that would provide for a compromise - the federal government doling out oil revenues. Senator Levin, aren't you rushing to write off a policy that in fact at least has a chance of succeeding?"

Sen. Levin would have none of this kind of rose-colored sophistry. He - and later Sen. Biden - clearly stated that this is a "failed" policy right from the beginning, noting that what is needed is a political solution. "There is no way to end this violence without it," said Sen. Levin. "And these recent events, it seems to me, prove that you can make some political progress, perhaps, without deepening military involvement. Even the Prime Minister of Iraq has acknowledged that it is the failure of the political leaders in Iraq that are the cause of this violence and without their coming together there is no end to it."

However, it was Joe Biden who finally cut to the chase when asked about statements made by Vice President Dick Cheney last week on FNS, in which he made the claim that to pull out now would show Osama bin Laden and his followers that we don't have the stomach for the fight and would give aid and comfort to the terrorists.

CHRIS WALLACE: "Senator Biden, I know that this is not your intent, but, in fact, wouldn't your resolution send a mesage that would embolden our enemy and discourage our troops in the field?"

SEN. BIDEN: "Absolutely not. Not only does Carl Levin and Joe Biden and Senator Hagel and Senator Snowe, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Iraqi Study Group - every single person out there that is of any consequence thinks - knows - the Vice President doesn't know what' he's talking about. I can't be more blunt than that. He has yet to be right one single time on Iraq. Name me one single time he's been correct. It's about time we stopped lstening to that ideological rhetoric and that bin Laden and the rest. Bin Laden isn't the issue here. Bin Laden will become the issue. The issue is there's a civil war, Chris. I said way back in November - speaking of last year - speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations, I said: 'Does anyone support using American troops to fight a civil war? I don't and I don't think the American people do, but if we fail to force a political consensus, that's exactly what we will have.' That's what we have. That's what the President has to deal with and he's doin' it the exact wrong way and he's not listening to his military. He's not listening to his old Secretaries of State. He's not listening to his old friends. He's not listening to anybody but Cheney and Cheney - is - dead - wrong."

Next, Wallace asked Carl Levin why the Democrats didn't just go ahead and stop the funding for the war instead of trying to pass a "Sense of the Senate" resolution. Levin responded that the the resolution is so intimidating to the Republicans that they have threatened to filibuster it. He also left the door open for tougher action, if the President ignores the content of the resolution.

CARL LEVIN: "So the power of this resolution is a first step - to urge the President not to deepen our military involvement, not to escalate this matter. That is a first step. If the President does not take heed to that step, at that point you then consider another step. But the worst thing we can do is to vote on something which is critical of the current policy and lose it, because if we lose that vote, the President will use the defeat of a resolution as support for his policies. The public doesn't support his policy. A majority of the Congress doesn't support his policy and we've got to keep a majority of the Congress here - put a majority of the Congress in a position where that they can vote against the President's policy because that is the way in which we will begin to turn the ship around that is leading us in the wrong direction in Iraq."

"I don't want to cap [troops]. I want to reduce," Sen. Biden noted. "Capping goes out there and says the status quo is just fine. Number one. And number two, if we can't dissuade the President by showing him he has no support, then I think we have to change the authorization for the use of force and make it directly. Deal with this straight up. Capping or limiting funds are constitutionally able to be done but they will not get the job done and I think we should be - I've drafted ... an authorization that renders the last one null and void. .. We're in a civil war now. Saddam's gone. There are no weapons of mass destruction and we should be instructing the President on what the limitations of his use of force in the region are, if he does not, if he does not begin to move in the area of consensus, consensus meaning 'Mr. President, no more troops. Begin to reduce troops in order to get a political settlement. A political settlement has to deal with oil and has to deal with local control. Mr. President, get about it.'"

With regard to the President's intention towards Iran, Carl Levin said that he thought that some of the President's rhetoric "has been very loose and plays into the hands of the fanatics in Iran." Levin continued, "We ought to tone down the rhetoric, keep our strength, keep an option on the table, speak a little more softly. Carry the big stick but tone down the rhetoric."

In the later "all-star panel" discussion, Bill Kristol adamantly insisted that the new commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, should be given the five brigades (20,000 troops) to complete the pacification of Baghdad. Kristol later went on to blast the Democrats as cut-and-runners (so what else is new?) and the ever-dour Brit Hume got just a little peeved and ended the segment in his characteristicly avuncular manner.

Kristol did, however, say one thing of interest. He admitted that we are "gradually losing" the war in Iraq. He bad-mouthed Democrats, completey ignoring anti-war sentiment that has steadily grown among Republicans as well.

KRISTOL: "[The Democrats are] leap-frogging each other in the degrees of irresponsibility they're willing to advocate and I really think people are being too, sort of, complacent and forgiving almost of the Democrats [by saying] 'Oh, it's just politics. Of course, one of them has a non-binding resolution and the other one has a cap.' It's all totally irresponsible. It's just unbelievable. The President's sending over a new commander. He's sending over troops and the Democratic Congress - either in a pseudo-binding way or non-binding way - is saying 'It won't work. Forget it. You troops, you're going over there in a pointless mission. Iraqis - the ones that side with us - forget it. We're gonna pull the plug.' It's so irresponsible that they can't be quiet for six or nine months and say 'The President's made a decision. We're not going to change that decision. We're not gonna cut off funds and insist on the troops coming back, so let's give it a chance to work.' You really wonder. Do they want it to work? I really wonder. I hate to say this about the Democrats. They're people I know personally and I respect some of them. Do they really want this to suceed not?"

Part-time liberal Juan Williams jumped in to give an excellent rebuttal to Kristol's completely spurious claims.

JUAN WILLIAMS: ... But your analysis seems to me to be totally ahistorical. It's as if mistakes haven't been made repeatedly. As if people don't feel as if they've been misled down this path. That there has been tremendous support for this President and for this war effort and it has come to naught. It's come to a bad place. Yesterday was the deadliest, I think, in two years. 19 Americans killed.


WILLIAMS: There's somethin' going on here you might pay attention to ...


WILLIAMS: .. as opposed to the pure politics of 'If you don't support this President, you don't really want us to win.'

KRISTOL: What are the Democrats doing that would change the 19 Americans who were killed yesterday? Nothing. Zero.

WILLIAMS: Well, they're saying ...

KRISTOL: Except reinforcements. You guys are on your own. That's what they're saying!

WILLIAMS: You think reinforcements are going to make some radical change? No. I think what Americans ...

KRISTOL: Yes, I think they would help.

WILLIAMS: If you think that - I think what people are saying is it's time to redeploy, look at new strategies, look at political compromise ...

HUME: Juan.

WILLIAMS: ... that's what's not being done ...

HUME: Juan.

WILLIAMS: ... by this admininistration.

HUME (truculently, disdainful): Juan, serious people recognize one thing - and we are short of serious people nowadays - which is that wars get into bad places and even winning conflicts do. And you talk about an ahistorical view? It strikes me that the view you're espousing is very much that. You look at any major war that's been fought over a period of time and, and the winning side has had terrible moments and stretches of time when it appeared that victory might not be possible. And the question then becomes: What do you do at times like that? The President at least has changed his approach. Is bringin' in more troops and a plan that - at least on paper - has some apparent potential to work. What you have for the Democrats is the idea, as Nancy Pelosi put it, this isn't a war to be won - now, you claim they want success ...

WILLIAMS: Well, I think they do.

HUME: ... This isn't a war to be won, she says, but she says it is a conflict to be resolved and their answer is retreat. You call it redployment. (angrily) It's a euphemism, Juan. Its retreat.

WILLIAMS: You've run out the clock but we'll come back to it next week, I'm sure.


What Brit Hume is actually saying to the troops is this.

I need you to die for my version of the truth which apparently looks good on paper and has "some" possibility of success, so I don't look like a fool for backing the wrong horse.