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I Was a Fan of Joe Biden Last Night—For the Most Part.

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Posted on September 10 2010 3:00 pm
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Vice President Biden appeared on The Colbert Report last night for the show’s week-long special celebrating the end of combat operations in Iraq. Say what you will about the vice president, but he genuinely cares about our soldiers. He said some things that needed to be said, calling on all Americans to support the troops substantively, such as by offering to babysit their kids or cut their grass. We’ve got to go beyond a simple “Thank you.”

But that doesn’t mean he said all the things that should be said. Stephen Colbert praised General Odierno for making the surge work and bringing victory—and I don’t believe he was being sarcastic at all. He even pressed Biden on the issue, saying how he’s been criticized for not giving President Bush any credit. Biden did thank Bush for supporting the troops and defended his integrity (something I wish I saw more of between 2001 and 2008) but still did not credit the surge.

Watch Biden after the jump:

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Joe Biden
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes 2010 Election Fox News

Although it was probably self-serving, Biden did mention that the timeline for withdrawal was originally signed under the Bush Administration. This provides some cover for the Obama Administration but also gives some credit to its predecessor for ending the war successfully.

Biden was quick to clarify that it was Colbert, not the Obama Administration, declaring victory. I understand that if the Iraqi government collapses or if casualties spike, the White House will suffer politically as its critics say the declaration of victory was premature. I get it, but I can’t help but be disappointed.

Let’s think back to World War II. The Allies overthrow Nazi Germany and dismantled its apparatus but still faced a long reconstruction effort and guerilla attacks—yet they still declared victory. And they were right. If post-war Germany collapsed after Hitler fell, does that mean the Allies lost? Of course not. And I see it the same way today. The Coalition and Iraqi forces have won. A disaster could happen in a short period of time, but that’s true of many countries, not just Iraq. If we hold to this definition of “victory,” we’re decades away from that word ever being used.

That said, Biden deserves credit for what he said about the troops and challenging the American people. Last night, I was a fan of Biden (for the most part)—even if he referred to his “home state of Dover.”

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