Biden's Most Confused Statement Ever: ISIS Winning in Syria Because 'No Boots on the Ground'

The shape of things to come?


In what seems like one of his worst gaffes—and is also possibly an indication of the shape of things to come—Vice President Joe Biden blamed ISIS's rapid advance in Syria on the fact that "there are no boots on the ground."

Some context: Biden was answering CBS's question about whether the Obama administration needed to re-think its Syria strategy. Here's a rough transcript of Biden's reply, if you don't want to watch the video:

"No, what we need to do is double down on our strategy. If you notice, we are making progress against ISIL… in Iraq, because in Iraq we now have a more unified government… and [ISIL is] losing ground. Losing ground… We're gaining in Iraq. Syria, there are no boots on the ground. Syria is a dysfunctional country with nobody in charge. The fact of the matter is we're working with our Arab allies and European allies to build coalitions to be able to take on both Assad and ISIL. It's a difficult process, it's going to take time. And there's no existential threat to the United States because of what's going on there, but there's a threat in the region. We are making progress."

Is Biden saying that ISIS is winning in Syria because there are no U.S. ground forces involved in the conflict yet—the typical implication of the phrase "boots on the ground"? I don't know who else's boots he could be talking about.

This is probably just a gaffe, and Biden didn't actually mean to imply a coming ground war against ISIS in Syria. But these remarks weren't confused merely because it was Biden making them—they were confused because the administration's ISIS strategy is incomprehensible. It relies on delusion about whether the current strategy of airstrikes and logistical support has meaningfully contained the terrorist group, vagueness about what the effort will look like post Congressional authorization, and denial about whether such authorization is constitutionally required.

No wonder Biden doesn't really know how President Obama plans to prevail against ISIS. No one else does, either.

Related: "SOTU: Obama Requests Authorization for War He Is Already Fighting."

Hat tip: The Washington Free Beacon

NEXT: Supreme Court Rules for Federal Whistleblower in Homeland Security Case

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I say we put boots on the ground, maybe 8 boots would be a good start. With the occupants of those boots being:

    Joe Biden
    John Kerry
    John McCain
    Lindsey Graham

    Yes, I realize that we have to send one extra person to show Biden how to put the boots on. I volunteer Diane Feinstein for that role.

    1. 1. Boots on the ground.
      2. ?
      3. Winning!

  2. “Syria is a dysfunctional country with nobody in charge.”

    What about that Assad fellow we used to hear about?

    1. Barack said we would not let him stay in power. Ergo, he is not in power.

      1. All right! Iran will never have a nuke!

  3. I rank the current pretenders to Barack’s throne as follows:

    1. Rand Paul
    2. Joe Biden
    3. Everybody else, because they are basically indistinguishable anyway.

    Rand is first because duh. Biden is second because, what the hell, we might as well have a few laughs on the way down.

    1. Contest! Who will be Biden’s running mate?

      I’ll kick it off with … Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

      1. Swing for the fences, man!

        It can only be: Sheila Jackson Lee.

        SHe ticks all the Dem VP boxes:

        (1) Makes the Prez look good by comparison. This is a particularly tough one with Biden heading the ticket.
        (2) Woman.
        (3) Black.
        (4) Disabled (mentally)/loony left.

        I mean, really, who is better, erm, qualified than her?

    2. 1. Stagnation
      2. Stagnation
      3. Disintegration.

  4. Somewhat OT: There was a report that a local thug, I mean cop, beat up a motorist who drove (driving while white, so maybe wasn’t shot instead) near Biden’s home after shots were fired last weekend. I’m surprised Reason didn’t cover it.

    1. Here is the most complete account that I can find.

      The occifers all went home that evening, so there’s nothing to see here, folks.

  5. What’s the difference between a Bushism, a Bidenism, and an Obamaism?

    A Bushism is a statement endlessly repeated as evidence of the speaker’s incompetence, a Bidenism is a statement of incompetence that is swept under the rug, and an Obamaism is a statement of incompetence that is praised as brilliance.

  6. There’s an even better line in that transcript Robby.

    “And there’s no existential threat to the United States because of what’s going on there…”

    i hope every progtard in America chokes on those words as they try and support this administration.

  7. Not only was that Authentic Frontier Gibberish…

    1. “I think he said the President is near?”

  8. There are a shitload of ‘boots on the ground’ in Syria if we’d just coordinate our actions in this country with the Kurds, or even with Assad if necessary.

    The initial invasion of Afghanistan actually went pretty well because we used The Northern Alliance as proxies and just supplied them with air support. The first American to die in Afghanistan was a CIA asset who died during a prison uprising – that’s how little involvement American ground troops actually had at that stage of the war.

    I don’t know why something similar couldn’t be done to beat ISIS, other than that Obama doesn’t actually seem to be serious about the issue. Jen Psaki actually said we didn’t even bother telling Assad about our planned airstrikes against ISIS and did not attempt to coordinate the strikes with him. Why not? We’re tacitly supporting the Assad regime by targeting ISIS in the first place, but there’s no way the airstrikes alone will be sufficient without ground troops. If we actually want to defeat ISIS we should coordinate with Assad in the south and Kurds in the North, but we’d rather ineffectually lob some missiles into the desert so we can pretend we’re ‘doing something’ than ally with a guy as bad as Assad in order to actually win.

    1. Apparently Turkey (as a condition for using air bases in their country) didn’t want us working with Assad, but if the Turks aren’t going to supply the necessary ground troops and are going to continuously squeeze the Kurds in northern Syria, then I don’t see any other option.

      1. Without knowing much about the strategic situation around Turkey, I can’t imagine why we coddle them the way we do.

        It seems I never read about Turkey doing anything other than shit we’d rather they didn’t.

    2. How about the US quit arming the rebels in Syria aka McCain’s Freedom Fighters and let Assad clean house. It seems to me it would be better to have a strong Assad than ISIS or ISIL or IS or whatever running amok. And by the way how come Obama calls them ISIL but most of the media calls them ISIS? Does he have some inside info on them? wink wink

  9. I wonder what Biden has to say about the Khorasan Group

    As the Obama Administration prepared to bomb Syria without congressional or U.N. authorization, it faced two problems. The first was the difficulty of sustaining public support for a new years-long war against ISIS, a group that clearly posed no imminent threat to the “homeland.” A second was the lack of legal justification for launching a new bombing campaign with no viable claim of self-defense or U.N. approval.

    The solution to both problems was found in the wholesale concoction of a brand new terror threat that was branded “The Khorasan Group.” After spending weeks depicting ISIS as an unprecedented threat ? too radical even for Al Qaeda! ? administration officials suddenly began spoon-feeding their favorite media organizations and national security journalists tales of a secret group that was even scarier and more threatening than ISIS, one that posed a direct and immediate threat to the American Homeland. Seemingly out of nowhere, a new terror group was created in media lore.

    1. Propaganda like this is self-defeating.

      It is obviously BS to anyone who pays any attention to Islamic militancy. BS propaganda makes the US less credible to friends. To militant Muslims, it affirms that the US is the author of lies and an agent of Satan. They have first-hand knowledge that the US is lying.

      1. “It’s not lying if you believe it!”
        – George Costanza

  10. Just another reason to thank Odin that we went with the intelligent choice and didn’t elect some dumb chick as Vice President back in ’08.

  11. Take on ISIL and Assad? So who’s going to control Syria? Perhaps we could prop up our own guys there, spend 15 years mucking about in dessert, then declare victory and leave. It worked in Iraq right?

  12. And this administration’s foreign policy is a total Charlie Foxtrot because there are no brains in the heads.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.