Recently, Joe Biden “clarified” his pledge to defy any Senate subpoena to testify in the Trump impeachment trial but stating the exact opposite in a later interview. Now, in a remarkable contradiction, Biden has denied that he advised against the Bin Laden raid in 2011 despite his statement to the contrary eight years ago. Given the importance of the issue to his views as president, the latest in a long line of contradictions could further undermine Biden’s position in a still competitive Democratic field.
In a discussion with Fox News, Biden was asked about a hypothetical situation similar to the recent targeted killing of a Iranian general: President Trump says he faced before ordering an airstrike to kill Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. “As commander in chief, if you were ever handed a piece of intelligence that said you could stop an imminent attack on Americans — but you have to use an airstrike to take out a terrorist leader — would you pull the trigger?”
Biden responded “Well we did – the guy’s name was Usama bin Laden.”
When the reporter asked “Didn’t you tell President Obama not to go after bin Laden that day?,” Biden responded “No, I didn’t.”
However, Biden told congressional democrats that he did oppose the raid. At the time, he recalled in 2012 that he said “Mr. President, my suggestion is, don’t go — we have to do two more things to see if he’s there.”
Biden raised legitimate concerns over the lack of conferral with Congress and our allies. Moreover, Biden was stating eight years ago that he had serious concerns over the high-risk mission. These are all worthy points to consider, particularly the conditions under which we can kill a high-ranking military figure of another country. Frankly, I wish we could have a more civil and substantive discussion about the issues that Biden raised without all of the recriminations and attacks. Yet, all of that was overshadowed by a serious contradiction on a major historical and strategic question after the interview. It sounds almost Kerry-like that “I was against the killing before I was for it.” That is not the analogy that most Democratic candidates would relish.