On Special Report with Brit Hume on Fox News, 13 December, 2005, Senator Joe Biden (D, Delaware) said the following in reply to President Bush’s third policy speech on Iraq, in Philadelphia yesterday:
“Failure to get a consensus constitution spells doom for our policy in Iraq. So what is the plan, Mr. President? That is still lacking.”
After saying that means participation by the UN, NATO, and Iraq’s neighbors, Biden added:
“If this time next year nothing has changed concerning in terms of our success rate, we will be out of Iraq. The American people will not sustain this.”
The transcript of this is not up yet, but these quotes are TiVo’ed and accurate.
The full answer to these historically foolish statements by Senator Biden were given by President Bush in the first ten minutes of his speech in Philadelphia, on Monday. Bush began by recounting the history of America writing its own Constitution. He took time to note that our first attempt to draft an acceptable constitution was an abject failure. Under the Articles of Confederation, our government failed financially, and there were armed rebellions in the streets.
As the President carefully pointed out, it took us “eight years to write our Constitution.” The Battle of Yorktown effectively ended the American Revolution in 1781. It was not until 1789 that our Constitution was both written and ratified, to replace the Articles of Confederation, which had failed.
So the first historical nonsense stated by Senator Biden was that the American people will not “sustain” more than a one-year wait to obtain workable constitution.
But the worse error in Senator Biden’s remarks, as compared to America’s own constitutional history, was his claim that to be successful, Iraq had to write a “consensus constitution,” acceptable to its neighbors. Is the Senator totally ignorant of recent history? Money, fighters and weapons are leaking into Iraq across its borders with Iran and Syria. Just today, Americans captured a tanker truck that came in from Iran which concealed thousands of forged ballots for the current Iraq election.
[By Wednesday, the "forged ballot" story seems to have been false. However, the leakage of men, weapons and supplies across both these borders is well-established.]
What kind of constitution would Iraq have, if its neighbors who want it to fail, had any kind of approval rights over it? None.
The same answer comes from American history. What kind of Constitution would we have written and ratified if it had to be by “consensus” with our neighbors? Our neighbors were then Britain, which still controlled Canada, and France, which still controlled the Louisiana Territory. We, too, would have never achieved our Constitution, under conditions like those that Senator Biden said are essential.
But Americans in reading or watching the news would be totally unaware of the American history which demonstrates that Senator Biden’s remarks are foolish, from the MSM coverage of Bush’s speech. Only 6 of the 128 hits from “Articles of Confederation” on Google News are news stories. Most of the rest are the full text of the Bush speech. Most Americans don’t read the whole text of speeches, nor watch them live in full on TV.
The simple fact is that the MSM, because they are lazy, foolish or biased, buried the lede. The important comparison between American and Iraqi constitution writing, including initial and major failures, was edited out of almost all news stories about that speech. So, the comparison which demonstrated in advance that Senator Biden’s remarks are downright foolish, wasn’t presented.
Contrary to the way that history is (mis)taught in American schools today, history did not begin yesterday. The history of America’s constitution writing is directly relevant to the current history of Iraq’s similar efforts today. And these facts were presented by the President, but largely ignored by the MSM.