It’s a stunning thing how much media has tried to remake Joe Biden after he got the Democratic nomination, from the stumbling gaffe-prone, loose-with-the-truth character they previously acknowledged him to be , into now the caring, populist Democratic hero. Just like every Republican nominee is evil incarnate, maybe even a dog abuser, every Democrat nominee is the personification of enlightenment — with the halo around their heads.
Of course, Joe Biden himself tends to exaggerate his accomplishments, when they are often less than what he claims.
But I wanted to talk a bit about the remarks Joe Biden is making now about the effort to get bin Laden. Once again, they’re classic puffery from Joe Biden.
During his speech before a joint session of Congress on April 28, he boasted about the raid:
We went to Afghanistan to get terrorists — the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 — and we said we would follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell to do it. If you’ve been to the upper Kunar Valley, you’ve kind of seen the gates of hell. And we delivered justice to bin Laden. We degraded the terrorist threat of al Qaeda in Afghanistan.
Today he reiterated that, with a formal statement.
‘We followed bin Laden to the gates of hell — and we got him’: Biden reflects on 10th anniversary of raid https://t.co/onpmhUMlqt
— FOX 5 DC (@fox5dc) May 2, 2021
“Ten years ago, I joined President Obama and members of our national security team, crowded into the Situation Room to watch as our military delivered long-awaited justice to Osama bin Laden,” said Biden, who was Obama’s vice president. “It is a moment I will never forget—the intelligence professionals who had painstakingly tracked him down; the clarity and conviction of President Obama in making the call; the courage and skill of our team on the ground.” [….]
“We followed bin Laden to the gates of hell — and we got him,” Biden said. “We kept the promise to all those who lost loved ones on 9/11: that we would never forget those we had lost, and that the United States will never waver in our commitment to prevent another attack on our homeland and to keep the American people safe.”
Of course, there are a few problems with the scenario, as there often are with the things Biden says, as Dan McLaughlin at the National Review observes .
One, the hard part was finding bin Laden, and we found him in large part due to Bush-era policies that Obama and the Democrats had criticized. And two, while Obama deserves the credit for making the decision to go ahead with the raid (after a fair amount of hemming and hawing), and most of Obama’s team went along with the decision, the historical record is quite clear that Joe Biden opposed it.
But you wouldn’t know that if you just listened to Biden, who appears to be taking credit for moves that he opposed. Here’s Biden previously explaining how he opposed the raid.
10 years ago today, courageous Navy Seals carried out a mission to kill Osama bin Laden for the 9/11 attacks that killed almost 3,000 people.
Here is Joe Biden saying he opposed it. pic.twitter.com/EuRqPMjoAV
— Nick Adams (@NickAdamsinUSA) May 1, 2021
Not only that, the promise to chase bin Laden to the “gates of hell” originated with Sen. John McCain (D-AZ).
So once again, it appears Biden was plagiarizing from someone.
They also weren’t exactly chasing bin Laden to the “gates of hell.” Barack Obama had turned down other chances to get bin Laden before finally taking this one,
according to reports.
Obama apparently agonized for months over the decision. Richard Miniter reported, based on unnamed sources, that Obama canceled the raid three times between January and March 2011, on the advice of Valerie Jarrett. (At the time, Obama spokesman Josh Earnest called this a “fabrication.”) Biden himself later claimed that he had known about bin Laden’s Abbottabad hideout in Pakistan as far back as August 2010, and the Cabinet was briefed in January or February. Robert Gates warned against the raid, reminding Obama that Gates had been in the room for the failed 1980 Iranian hostage rescue operation that helped sink Jimmy Carter.
Obama second-guessed a heck of a lot. So Biden, second-guessing Obama, indicates he’s even more reticent than a man often paralyzed by inaction. That’s not good. Plus, Biden was once again wrong. As Obama’s Secretary of Defense said about Biden, he’s been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy decision for four decades.
Finally, about that “gates of hell” thing. Pakistanis and people who knew better clearly think Biden has no idea what he’s talking about. Here’s the Kunar Valley that Biden referenced, which looks a lot like bucolic Switzerland.
A GATE TO HEAVEN‼ pic.twitter.com/V68twUv53F
— Said Sulaiman Ashna (@sashna111) May 1, 2021
Biden: "We said we'd follow bin Laden to the gates of hell."
The Abbottabad tourism bureau has filed a grievance.
— Jeff M. Smith (@Cold_Peace_) April 29, 2021
The Abbottabod compound where bin Laden was killed is now a field which local kids use to play soccer. Not exactly “hell.”
Biden tried a little papering over of the actual history and facts, but the facts aren’t going away.