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Biden: Obama 'Doesn’t Want to Go' to Iraq and Afghanistan

9:04 AM, Feb 2, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
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At the Munich Security Conference today, Vice President Joe Biden revealed that President Barack Obama "doesn't want to go" to Iraq and Afghanistan. The audience laughed. 

Joe Biden official portrait crop

"It’s great to be back among friends," said Biden, according to a White House transcript of his remarks. "When I say among friends, I mean not only the distinguished guests that are from around the world who have joined us in this conference.  I also mean to be back here in Germany, to be back here in Europe.  I have traveled over 640,000 miles since I’ve been Vice President, and most of the time the President sends me to places that he doesn’t want to go.  (Laughter.)  So I’ve spent an awful lot of time with McCain and others in Afghanistan and Iraq, and so it’s nice to be here in Germany.  (Laughter.)  It’s nice to be invited back.  (Applause.)"

Nevertheless, Biden praised the Obama administration for accomplishments in this two countries. "Where we come from is a place that understands that this European alliance is critical to our interests.  When I came to Munich four years ago this week, I focused on the challenges of our time, and how this new administration in our first term of office planned on dealing with those challenges.  Those challenges included Iraq and Afghanistan; addressing the failure of Iran to meet the international obligations with regard to its nuclear program; managing the crisis of the global economy, which was in a precarious position at that moment; fighting terrorism; repairing our relationships between the United States and Russia."

"And today, I’m pleased to report on the undeniable progress that we’ve made together in each of these fields.  Four years ago, American foreign policy -- and the majority of the discussions with our friends and partners -- was dominated by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Today, we’re in the process of turning the page on more than a decade of conflict following the September 11, 2001 attack, and we ended the war in Iraq responsibly.  And together we’re responsibly drawing down in Afghanistan, and by the end of next year, the transition will be complete."

Biden also confused two former American senators in his remarks, getting Sam Nunn confused with Dick Lugar. "In each of our countries, we’ve had fine men and women who have made significant contributions while they were actively involved in the political process.  But many of them, upon leaving that political office they held, recede into private life and their contributions end.  I would suggest that Dick Lugar’s* [*sic- Sam Nunn’s] contributions have been as profound from the day he left the United States Senate and public elective office as they have been when he was in public office, and I believe you’ll see the same thing can be said of my very close friend, Sam Nunn* [*sic Dick Lugar]," reads the corrected White House transcript. 

 

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