My jaw hit the floor when I heard Biden say this:
Here’s what the president said when we said no. He insisted on elections on the West Bank, when I said, and others said, and Barack Obama said, “Big mistake. Hamas will win. You’ll legitimize them.” What happened? Hamas won. When we kicked—along with France, we kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon, I said and Barack said, “Move NATO forces in there. Fill the vacuum, because if you don’t know—if you don’t, Hezbollah will control it.”
Now what’s happened? Hezbollah is a legitimate part of the government in the country immediately to the north of Israel.
Wha? Who? Kicked Hezb’allah out of where? Urged we send who into what? This is really an incredible gaffe – far more serious than anything Sarah Palin has ever said anywhere.
Let’s allow a “Foreign Policy Insider” quoted at The Corner, to try and untangle this web of lies, misstatements, and downright loony contentions:
Well, Hezbollah’s been there since the early 1980’s of course, blossoming throughout the 1990’s to become now over a third of the population of Lebanon with 2 cabinet members, a host of parliamentarians, and schools, clinics, and basically an entirely separate governance infrastructure in all of southern Lebanon and elsewhere. I suppose the throwing out of Hezbollah was the dismal and failed Israeli campaign of 2006 which dislodged nothing? Or was it Israeli’s occupation of Southern Lebanon from 1982 – 1999? Don’t remember an Obama position on NATO replacing Israeli occupation then. As for NATO going in after the 2006 debacle, well, I’m the one who rounded up 8,000 French and Italians and a few thousand other Euros to go into Southern Lebanon along with an assortment of others in August 2006 and while working that issue for about 40 straight days I don’t remember a peep from Biden or Obama about NATO - which wouldn’t be budged despite our intense pressure in Mons. So, we went straight to Rome and Paris. Que sera, sera.
In any case, he was all bluff and bluster and too bad she didn’t have time during debate prep to get his very mixed record on foreign policy stuff, he’s as good as he is bad at foreign policy and that is just a comment on his mastery, not on his policy positions…which have been more bad than good.
Allow me to add a few things. First, Hezb’allah may have only two cabinet ministers but they control the entire opposition bloc of 11 ministers in the 30 seat government. They currently control 62 of the 128 member Lebanese Parliament. Now for the meat of Biden’s claims.
Of course, no one “threw Hezb’allah out of Lebanon.” They have been there all along as the expert above notes. The Lebanese people threw the Syrians out of Lebanon, with no help from liberal Democrats like Biden and Obama, but with a great big behind the scenes lift from France and the US. It was we who put the bug in King Abdullah’s ear to lobby the Syrians to get while the going was good as the French worked directly on Baby Assad. The combination worked wonderfully and the Syrians left in a hurry – after a couple of million Lebanese took to the streets in a breathtaking show of defiance to tyranny and love of freedom.
Joe Biden – or any rational human being on this planet anyway – never recommended that NATO be dispatched to “fill the vacuum.” It is a lie. If it had been proposed. Colin Powell would have been laughed out of the room – something we should do to Biden at this point because he compounded his gaffe by evidently believing that not having NATO as a buffer between Israel and Hezb’allah – an absolute impossibility mind you – led to the ascension of Hezb’allah in Lebanon as a political power.
Where has Biden been for the last 20 years – at least since the Taif Accords were signed in 1989 which gave Hezb’allah a free hand in the southern part of the country and then pressuring the Lebanese government to formally designate them as “the resistance” to Israel? Hezb’allah’s rise is directly related to Iran’s funding of their proxy to the tune of around $250 million a year.
It is unbelievable to me that no one – not one single story in the press that I’ve read about the debate last night (I haven’t read them all so there may be some analysis I’ve missed) – has seen fit to mention this monumental gaffe, this horible misstatement of history, misreading of the situation in Lebanon, and the out and out lie that he and Obama recommended NATO troops move in after Syria was kicked out. This gaffe should be the headline that comes out of the debate; “Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee is a Buffoon.” Instead, it slides by and Palin is called out for mispronouncing the name of our commanding general in Afghanistan.
Michael Totten – who has been to Lebanon several times and knows the people and politics as well as any journalist in America – writes in Commentary this morning:
What on Earth is he talking about? The United States and France may have kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon in an alternate universe, but nothing even remotely like that ever happened in this one.
Nobody – nobody – has ever kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon. Not the United States. Not France. Not Israel. And not the Lebanese. Nobody.
Joe Biden has literally no idea what he’s talking about.
It’s too bad debate moderator Gwen Ifill didn’t catch him and ask a follow up question: When did the United States and France kick Hezbollah out of Lebanon?
The answer? Never. And did Biden and Senator Barack Obama really say NATO troops should be sent into Lebanon? When did they say that? Why would they say that? They certainly didn’t say it because NATO needed to prevent Hezbollah from returning-since Hezbollah never went anywhere.
I tried to chalk this one up as just the latest of Biden’s colorful gaffes. Did he mean to say “we kicked Syria out of Lebanon?” But that wouldn’t make any more sense. First of all, the Lebanese kicked Syria out of Lebanon. Not the United States, and not France. But he clearly meant to say Hezbollah, not Syria, because he correctly notes just a few sentences later that Hezbollah is part of Lebanon’s government. He wasn’t talking about Syria. He was talking about Hezbollah all the way through, at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end of his outlandish assertion.
Taking a second look at it, Michael may be right – that Biden is so clueless he actually meant Hezb’allah and not Syria. This coupled with his rather strange answer on Pakistan’s stability, that it is somehow within the power of the US president to affect what is happening on the ground in Pakistan beyond doing what the Bush Administration has been doing since 2001, calls into question the depth of Biden’s knowledge about any foreign policy issue.
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky
This blog post originally appeared in The American Thinker