Tags: Joe Biden | Biden | UAE | Turkey | apology tour

Some in Media Say Biden Is Apologizing for Telling the Truth

Image: Some in Media Say Biden Is Apologizing for Telling the Truth
(Olivier Doulery/UPI/Landov)

By    |   Tuesday, 07 Oct 2014 09:14 AM

As Vice President Joe Biden continues what's been dubbed his "apology tour" to Arab nations for suggesting that the countries supported al-Qaida and other Syrian extremists, headlines are buzzing that Biden's remarks may have been undiplomatic, but they were accurate.

"There are factual mistakes, and then there are political mistakes," Andrew J. Tabler, an expert on Syria at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told The New York Times. "This is a political mistake."

The "offending Bidenism," as the Times referred to it, was the veep's response to a question Thursday during a question-and-answer session at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government about whether, in retrospect, he believed the administration should have acted earlier in Syria.

Biden said no, and one of the reasons he gave was because American allies in the region — Turkey, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia — presented the biggest problem.

"They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against [Syrian President Bashar] Assad," Biden said, adding that the support benefited al-Qaida and the Islamic State (ISIS), The Wall Street Journal reported.

Biden even went so far as to say that his old friend, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan acknowledged to him that Turkey allowed "too many people through" its border with Syria in order to join ISIS, according to the Journal.

The remarks became a controversy almost immediately and Biden began reaching out to the offended nations. Over the weekend he apologized to Turkey and the UAE and is trying to connect with Saudi Arabia, according to the Times. He wants to clarify that he did not mean to imply that the nations purposely supported al-Qaida, ISIS or any other terror groups in Syria.

But according to The Wall Street Journal, the Arab Gulf states did just that, both in Syria and in Libya. Additionally, according to the Journal, "Turkey did little to stop foreign jihadists from crossing from Turkey into Syria to join ISIS. These countries now support the U.S. military campaign in Iraq and Syria, but they helped create the problem."

The Journal suggests that Biden's apologizes are misdirected.

"If Mr. Biden is feeling contrite, he ought to apologize to the Syrian and American people," the Journal states. "For three years, the Obama administration sat on its hands in Syria. Proposals to arm and train genuinely moderate opposition forces were turned down. President Obama refused to strike Assad's air force, even after the dictator crossed the American leader's ‘red line' and gassed thousands of civilians with chemical weapons.

"As the moderate Free Syrian Army was marginalized on the battlefield, ISIS and other extremists moved in. Some 200,000 people have died in the three-year civil war that earlier American action might have mitigated. The American abandonment also enabled ISIS to come over from Syria and lay siege to a third of Iraqi territory. The veep should apologize for claiming victory in Iraq even as his abdication was letting disorder spread."

The Daily Beast went a little further, printing the U.S. "read-out" of Biden's apology to Erdogan of Turkey.

"The Vice President made clear that the United States greatly values the commitments and sacrifices made by our allies and partners from around the world to combat the scourge of ISIL, including Turkey," it said. "The two leaders reaffirmed the importance of Turkey and the United States working closely together to confront ISIL."

According to the Daily Beast, "it's a b*tch being Joe Biden. But somebody's got to try to tell the truth sometime."

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As Vice President Joe Biden continues what’s been dubbed his “apology tour” to Arab nations for suggesting that the countries supported al Qaida and other Syrian extremists, headlines are buzzing that Biden’s remarks may have been undiplomatic, but they were accurate.
Biden, UAE, Turkey, apology tour
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2014-14-07
Tuesday, 07 Oct 2014 09:14 AM
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