From the Wall Street Journal
In the popular media wisdom, Sarah Palin is the neophyte who knows
nothing about foreign policy while Joe Biden is the savvy diplomatic
pro. Then what are we to make of Mr. Biden's fantastic debate voyage
last week when he made factual claims that would have got Mrs. Palin
mocked from New York to Los Angeles?
Start with Lebanon, where Mr. Biden
asserted that "When we kicked -- along with France, we kicked Hezbollah
out of Lebanon, I said and Barack said, 'Move NATO forces in there.
Fill the vacuum, because if you don't know -- if you don't, Hezbollah
will control it.' Now what's happened? Hezbollah is a legitimate part
of the government in the country immediately to the north of Israel."
The U.S. never kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon, and no one else has
either. Perhaps Mr. Biden meant to say Syria, except that the U.S. also
didn't do that. The Lebanese ousted Syria's military in 2005. As for
NATO, Messrs. Biden and Obama may have proposed sending alliance troops
in, but if they did that was also a fantasy. The U.S. has had all it
can handle trying to convince NATO countries to deploy to Afghanistan.
Speaking of which, Mr. Biden also averred that "Our commanding
general in Afghanistan said the surge principle in Iraq will not work
in Afghanistan." In trying to correct him, Mrs. Palin mispronounced the
general's name -- saying "General McClellan" instead of General David
McKiernan. But Mr. Biden's claim was the bigger error, because General
McKiernan said that while "Afghanistan is not Iraq," he also said a
"sustained commitment" to counterinsurgency would be required. That is
consistent with Mr. McCain's point that the "surge principles" of Iraq
could work in Afghanistan.
Then there's the Senator's astonishing claim that Mr. Obama "did not
say he'd sit down with Ahmadinejad" without preconditions. Yet Mr.
Biden himself criticized Mr. Obama on this point in 2007 at the
National Press Club: "Would I make a blanket commitment to meet
unconditionally with the leaders of each of those countries within the
first year I was elected President? Absolutely, positively no."
Or how about his rewriting of Bosnia history to assert that John
McCain didn't support President Clinton in the 1990s. "My
recommendations on Bosnia, I admit I was the first one to recommend it.
They saved tens of thousands of lives. And initially John McCain
opposed it along with a lot of other people. But the end result was it
worked." Mr. Biden's immodesty aside, Mr. McCain supported Mr. Clinton
on Bosnia, as did Bob Dole even as he was running against him for
President in 1996 -- in contrast to the way Mr. Biden and Democratic
leaders have tried to undermine President Bush on Iraq.
Closer to home, the Delaware blarney stone also invited Americans to
join him at "Katie's restaurant" in Wilmington to witness middle-class
struggles. Just one problem: Katie's closed in the 1980s. The mistake
is more than a memory lapse because it exposes how phony is Mr. Biden's
attempt to pose for this campaign as Lunchbucket Joe.
We think the word "lie" is overused in politics today, having become
a favorite of the blogosphere and at the New York Times. So we won't
say Mr. Biden was deliberately making events up when he made these and
other false statements. Perhaps he merely misspoke. In any case, Mrs.
Palin may not know as much about the world as Mr. Biden does, but at
least most of what she knows is true.