Joe Biden’s road to the White House might have just gotten rockier.
The former vice president has been guilty in recent weeks of a series of gaffes or outright duplicity that have damaged his campaign, but his campaign is built on the idea that he’s the Democrats’ most realistic opponent for beating President Donald Trump.
But a book due out Tuesday by former Defense Secretary James Mattis could show just how unrealistic Biden actually is.
In an interview with NPR published Tuesday, Mattis said Americans forget “the enemy gets a vote” on when hostilities are over.
“You may want a war over. You may declare it over. You may even try to walk away from it. But the bottom line is the enemy gets a vote, as we say in the military, and we simply have got to understand that terrorism is going to be an ambient threat,” Mattis said.
“We’re going to have to work with allies against ISIS and we’re going to have to keep up the fight. I’d like to have a more positive message. But the fact is that’s a reality we’re going to face for our time.”
NPR described that quote as Mattis “speaking about U.S. wars in general,” but, according to excerpts of his book published Friday by the Washington Examiner, Mattis might very well have been speaking about one American political figure in particular — the current front-runner for the Democratic nomination for the presidency.
In “Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead,” according to the excerpt, Mattis described a 2010 visit to Iraq by Biden when Mattis was the general in charge of U.S. Central Command, overseeing U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Mattis said he tried explaining his view of the political situation in Iraq and his distrust of then-Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. A withdrawal of U.S. forces too early, Mattis said he argued, would simply lead to more dangers later.
Biden, Mattis wrote, was obviously not interested in hearing it. While Mattis had no problem with Biden personally, he knew Biden was not listening to reason.
“I found him an admirable and amiable man. But he was past the point where he was willing to entertain a ‘good idea.’ He didn’t want to hear more; he wanted our forces out of Iraq. Whatever path led there fastest, he favored,” Mattis wrote.
“He exuded the confidence of a man whose mind was made up, perhaps even indifferent to considering the consequences were he judging the situation incorrectly.”
What happened next, of course, is a matter of historical record.
American forces pulled out of Iraq in 2011. The consequences didn’t take long to follow, including the rise of the savage Islamic State group, which took advantage of the power vacuum allowed by the Obama administration to turn huge areas of Iraq and Syria into a hellhole of human suffering.
“Iraq slipped back into escalating violence. It was like watching a car wreck in slow motion,” Mattis wrote, according to the Examiner.
“It would take many years and tens of thousands of casualties, plus untold misery for millions of innocents, to break ISIS’s geographic hold,” Mattis wrote. “All of this was predicted — and preventable.”
Most Americans don’t have Mattis’ vantage point when it comes to weighty decisions of war and peace. But every American should be able to remember the seemingly endless videos that streamed out of the Islamic State group propaganda machine, documenting countless beheadings and torture of innocents in a bizarre “caliphate” built on sadistic cruelty.
It took the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, and his decision to call Mattis out of retirement to lead the Defense Department, to finally put an end to the Islamic State group (at least in that incarnation).
When Mattis left the Pentagon in December after a dispute over American policy in Syria, liberals no doubt expected that he would become yet another former Trump administration official willing to badmouth his boss.
As Mattis told NPR, he won’t discuss a sitting president, but he had plenty to say about Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential aspirant whose decisions helped bring about the reign of one of the most bloodthirsty terrorist outfits in modern memory.
Biden likes to claim his strongpoint is foreign policy. Now that Mattis has shown what a sham that is, Biden’s road to the White House just got even rockier.
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