Accuracy in Media

The Washington Post’s Fact Checker gave two Pinocchios (e.g. significant omissions and/or exaggerations.) to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s claim that he got “150,000 combat troops out of Iraq.”

The Post’s Salvador Rizzo wrote that “Biden voted for the Iraq War when he was a senator, and many Democrats won’t let him forget it.”

To defend his vote for the Iraq War, Biden now on the campaign trail and the debate stage has been claiming that he was the one who oversaw the troop drawdown in Iraq. But Biden leaves out the rest of the story: America had to send more troops back after that drawdown resulted in a power vacuum filled by ISIS.

“In his first term, President Barack Obama gave Biden oversight of the U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq,” writes Rizzo. “But the history is much more checkered than what Biden recalls. For starters, Obama sent U.S. troops back into Iraq in his second term. Biden was still the vice president … Obama considered leaving behind several thousand troops in 2011. Two and a half years later, with no U.S. forces in the picture, the Islamic State terrorist group began to take control of parts of Iraq. Obama by 2016 had sent 5,000 U.S. troops back into the country to beat back the ISIS tide. Biden was still the vice president, but he left this inconvenient history out of his remarks in Iowa and his response in the Democratic presidential candidate debate.”

Rizzo concludes that it’s “puzzling” why Biden would fail to note the return of U.S. troops to Iraq due to ISIS — which Obama erroneously called the “JV squad,” however the answer is simple: political convenience.

“It’s puzzling to see him leave that out of his remarks on the campaign trail and in the debate,” Rizzo writes. “The Biden camp argues that these are two very different conflicts and that the troop levels were much higher pre-2011 and much lower post-2014. However, as top Obama administration officials have said in public, the two conflicts are inextricably linked. The Islamic State gained a foothold in Iraq in large part because U.S. forces had withdrawn.”

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