For a supposed foreign policy guru with 35 years of senatorial experience, Joe Biden embarrassed himself in the Vice Presidential debate with a startling number of gaffes, misstatements, errors, and out-and-out falsehoods. Or maybe Joe’s just a proponent of the school of “you can fool all of the people some of the time…”
Biden’s statement that “Pakistani missiles threaten Israel and the Mediterranean basin” was just plain ludicrous. Given that Pakistan IS a nuclear power, and does have missile technology – the potential threat is pretty much limited to their immediate neighbors, India and China. Pakistan does NOT have the reach to threaten the entire wider region – Biden displays a startling ignorance on a critical issue. But don’t take my word for it – look it up yourself.
Likewise, his contention that the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan has stated that the “surge philosophy” would not work in Afghanistan is just flat wrong. General McKiernan (yeah, Palin goofed on the name; but so did Biden) has in fact called for both more troops, and expanded non-military activity (construction, infrastructure expansion, and various economic development and educational programs). Sounds kinda like a surge, eh?
Biden is trying to parse words here, rather than focus on the issue (sound familiar?). Palin got the basic thrust here correct – “The counterinsurgency strategy going into Afghanistan, clearing, holding, rebuilding, the civil society and the infrastructure can work in Afghanistan.”
Here’s McKiernan according to the New York Times:
The top American military commander in Afghanistan said Wednesday that he needs more troops and other aid ''as quickly as possible'' in a counter-insurgency battle that could get worse before it gets better.
Gen. David McKiernan said it's not just a question of troops — but more economic aid and more political aid as well.
''The additional military capabilities that have been asked for are needed as quickly as possible,'' he said.
Continuing on the area of Afghanistan: Joe Biden further characterized the strategy in Afghanistan over the last six years as a strictly military approach, that was doomed to fail. This displays either shocking ignorance or willful mischaracterization of what has actually been happening in Afghanistan.
Having served over there, I can speak from personal experience on this one: the U.S. military has had a broad-based approach in Afghanistan, including constructing infrastructure (roads, mine-clearing), building schools and training teachers, and training the Afghan military from a VERY early date. ( My experience covers the period Sep 02 – Apr 03, during which time ALL of these initiatives and activities were in effect). The first multi-disciplinary Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) were formed and deployed in early 2003; I saw this firsthand.
Joe Biden is either ignorant or lying on this point; neither bodes well for his foreign policy "expertise".