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Professor Slams Biden In Scathing Editorial


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#1    supercar

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 11:26 AM

Biden, Iraq, and Obama's Betrayal
Stephen Zunes | August 24, 2008

Incipient Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama’s selection of Joseph Biden as his running mate constitutes a stunning betrayal of the anti-war constituency who made possible his hard-fought victory in the Democratic primaries and caucuses.

The veteran Delaware senator has been one the leading congressional supporters of U.S. militarization of the Middle East and Eastern Europe, of strict economic sanctions against Cuba, and of Israeli occupation policies.

Most significantly, however, Biden, who chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during the lead-up to the Iraq War during the latter half of 2002, was perhaps the single most important congressional backer of the Bush administration’s decision to invade that oil-rich country.

One of the most important differences between Obama and the soon-to-be Republican presidential nominee John McCain is that Obama had the wisdom and courage to oppose the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Obama and his supporters had been arguing correctly that judgment in foreign policy is far more important than experience; this was a key and likely decisive argument in the Illinois senator’s campaign against Senator Hillary Clinton, who had joined McCain in backing the Iraq war resolution.

However, in choosing Biden who, like the forthcoming Republican nominee, has more experience in international affairs but notoriously poor judgment, Obama is essentially saying that this critical difference between the two prospective presidential candidates doesn’t really matter. This decision thereby negates one of his biggest advantages in the general election. Of particular concern is the possibility that the pick of an establishment figure from the hawkish wing of the party indicates the kind of foreign policy appointments Obama will make as president.

Obama’s choice of Biden as his running mate will likely have a hugely negative impact on his once-enthusiastic base of supporters. Obama’s supporters had greatly appreciated the fact that he did not blindly accept the Bush administration’s transparently false claims about Iraq being an imminent danger to U.S. national security interests that required an invasion and occupation of that country.  At the same time Biden was joining his Republican colleagues in pushing through a Senate resolution authorizing the invasion, Obama was speaking at a major anti-war rally in Chicago correctly noting that Iraq’s war-making ability had been substantially weakened and that the international community could successfully contain Saddam Hussein from any future acts of aggression.

In Washington, by contrast, Biden was insisting that Bush was right and Obama was wrong, falsely claiming that Iraq under Saddam Hussein – severely weakened by UN disarmament efforts and comprehensive international sanctions – somehow constituted both “a long term threat and a short term threat to our national security” and was an “extreme danger to the world.” Despite the absence of any “weapons of mass destruction” or offensive military capabilities, Biden when reminded of those remarks during an interview last year, replied, “That’s right, and I was correct about that.”

It is difficult to over-estimate the critical role Biden played in making the tragedy of the Iraq war possible. More than two months prior to the 2002 war resolution even being introduced, in what was widely interpreted as the first sign that Congress would endorse a U.S. invasion of Iraq, Biden declared on August 4 that the United States was probably going to war. In his powerful position as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he orchestrated a propaganda show designed to sell the war to skeptical colleagues and the America public by ensuring that dissenting voices would not get a fair hearing.

As Scott Ritter, the former chief UN weapons inspector, noted at the time, “For Sen. Biden's Iraq hearings to be anything more than a political sham used to invoke a modern-day Gulf of Tonkin resolution-equivalent for Iraq, his committee will need to ask hard questions – and demand hard facts – concerning the real nature of the weapons threat posed by Iraq.”

It soon became apparent that Biden had no intention of doing so. Biden refused to even allow Ritter himself – who knew more about Iraq’s WMD capabilities than anyone and would have testified that Iraq had achieved at least qualitative disarmament – to testify. Ironically, on Meet the Press last year, Biden defended his false claims about Iraqi WMDs by insisting that “everyone in the world thought he had them. The weapons inspectors said he had them.”

Biden also refused to honor requests by some of his Democratic colleagues to include in the hearings some of the leading anti-war scholars familiar with Iraq and Middle East. These included both those who would have reiterated Ritter’s conclusions about non-existent Iraqi WMD capabilities as well as those prepared to testify that a U.S. invasion of Iraq would likely set back the struggle against al-Qaeda, alienate the United States from much of the world, and precipitate bloody urban counter-insurgency warfare amid rising terrorism, Islamist extremism, and sectarian violence. All of these predictions ended up being exactly what transpired.  

Nor did Biden even call some of the dissenting officials in the Pentagon or State Department who were willing to challenge the alarmist claims of their ideologically-driven superiors. He was willing, however, to allow Iraqi defectors of highly dubious credentials to make false testimony about the vast quantities of WMD materiel supposedly in Saddam Hussein’s possession. Ritter has correctly accused Biden of having “preordained a conclusion that seeks to remove Saddam Hussein from power regardless of the facts and . . . using these hearings to provide political cover for a massive military attack on Iraq.”

Rather than being a hapless victim of the Bush administration’s lies and manipulation, Biden was calling for a U.S. invasion of Iraq and making false statements regarding Saddam Hussein’s supposed possession of “weapons of mass destruction” years before President George W. Bush even came to office.

As far back as 1998, Biden was calling for a U.S. invasion of that oil rich country.
Even though UN inspectors and the UN-led disarmament process led to the elimination of Iraq’s WMD threat, Biden – in an effort to discredit the world body and make an excuse for war – insisted that UN inspectors could never be trusted to do the job. During Senate hearings on Iraq in September of that year, Biden told Ritter, “As long as Saddam’s at the helm, there is no reasonable prospect you or any other inspector is ever going to be able to guarantee that we have rooted out, root and branch, the entirety of Saddam’s program relative to weapons of mass destruction.”

Calling for military action on the scale of the Gulf War seven years earlier, he continued, “The only way we’re going to get rid of Saddam Hussein is we’re going to end up having to start it alone,” telling the Marine veteran “it’s going to require guys like you in uniform to be back on foot in the desert taking Saddam down.”

When Ritter tried to make the case that President Bill Clinton’s proposed large-scale bombing of Iraq could jeopardize the UN inspections process, Biden condescendingly replied that decisions on the use of military force were “beyond your pay grade.” As Ritter predicted, when Clinton ordered UN inspectors out of Iraq in December of that year and followed up with a four-day bombing campaign known as Operation Desert Fox, Saddam was provided with an excuse to refuse to allow the inspectors to return. Biden then conveniently used Saddam’s failure to allow them to return as an excuse for going to war four years later.

In the face of widespread skepticism over administration claims regarding Iraq’s military capabilities, Biden declared that President Bush was justified in being concerned about Iraq’s alleged pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. Even though Iraq had eliminated its chemical weapons arsenal by the mid-1990s, Biden insisted categorically in the weeks leading up to the Iraq war resolution that Saddam Hussein still had chemical weapons. Even though there is no evidence that Iraq had ever developed deployable biological weapons and its biological weapons program had been eliminated some years earlier, Biden insisted that Saddam had biological weapons, including anthrax and that “he may have a strain” of small pox. And, even though the International Atomic Energy Agency had reported as far back as 1998 that there was no evidence whatsoever that Iraq had any ongoing nuclear program, Biden insisted Saddam was “seeking nuclear weapons.”

Said Biden, “One thing is clear: These weapons must be dislodged from Saddam, or Saddam must be dislodged from power.” He did not believe proof of the existence of any actual weapons to dislodge was necessary, however, insisting that “If we wait for the danger from Saddam to become clear, it could be too late.” He further defended President Bush by falsely claiming that “He did not snub the U.N. or our allies. He did not dismiss a new inspection regime. He did not ignore the Congress. At each pivotal moment, he has chosen a course of moderation and deliberation.”

In an Orwellian twist of language designed to justify the war resolution, which gave President Bush the unprecedented authority to invade a country on the far side of the world at the time and circumstances of his own choosing, Biden claimed that “I do not believe this is a rush to war. I believe it is a march to peace and security. I believe that failure to overwhelmingly support this resolution is likely to enhance the prospects that war will occur.”

It is also important to note that Biden supported an invasion in the full knowledge that it would not be quick and easy and that the United States would have to occupy Iraq for an extended period, declaring, “We must be clear with the American people that we are committing to Iraq for the long haul; not just the day after, but the decade after.”

In response to the tragic consequences of the U.S. invasion and the resulting weakening of popular support for the war, Biden has more recently joined the chorus of Democratic members of Congress criticizing the administration’s handling of the conflict and calling for the withdrawal of most combat forces. He opposed President Bush’s escalation (“surge”) of troop strength early last year and has called for greater involvement by the United Nations and other countries in resolving the ongoing conflicts within Iraq.

However, Biden has been the principal congressional backer of a de facto partition of the country between Kurdish, Sunni Arab, and Shia Arab segments, a proposal opposed by a solid majority of Iraqis and strongly denounced by the leading Sunni, Shia, and secular blocs in the Iraqi parliament. Even the U.S. State Department has criticized Biden’s plan as too extreme. A cynical and dangerous attempt at divide-and-rule, Biden’s ambitious effort to redraw the borders of the Middle East would likely make a violent and tragic situation all the worse.

Yet it is Biden’s key role in making possible the congressional authorization of the 2003 U.S. invasion that elicits the greatest concern among Obama’s supporters. While more recently expressing regrets over his vote, he has not formally apologized and has stressed the Bush administration’s mishandling of the post-invasion occupation rather than the illegitimacy of the invasion itself.

Biden’s support for the resolution was not simply poor judgment, but a calculated rejection of principles codified in the UN Charter and other international legal documents prohibiting aggressive wars. According to Article VI of the Constitution, such a rejection also constitutes a violation of U.S. law as well. Biden even voted against an amendment sponsored by fellow Democratic senator Carl Levin that would have authorized U.S. military action against Iraq if the UN Security Council approved the use of force and instead voted for the Republican-backed resolution authorizing the United States to go to war unilaterally. In effect, Biden has embraced the neo-conservative view that the United States, as the world’s sole remaining superpower, somehow has the right to invade other countries at will, even if they currently pose no strategic threat.

Given the dangerous precedent set by the Iraq war resolution, naming one of its principal supporters as potentially the next vice president of the United States has raised serious questions regarding Senator Obama’s commitment to international law. This comes at a time when the global community is so desperately hoping for a more responsible U.S. foreign policy following eight years of Bush.

Early in his presidential campaign, Obama pledged to not only end the war in Iraq, but to challenge the mindset that got the United States into Iraq in the first place. Choosing Biden as his running mate, however, raises doubts regarding Obama’s actual commitment to “change we can believe in.”
-------------------------------------------------------

(Stephen Zunes is a professor of politics and chair of Middle Eastern studies at the University of San Francisco and serves as a senior analyst for Foreign Policy in Focus)

http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/5492





  




#2    IrishAidan07

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 11:29 AM

If it's true - just proves what I been saying: Biden is a phony prone to plagiarism.

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#3    zitro1987

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 02:37 PM

I agree, I don't think Obama made a good choice here and I don't like Mr. Plagiarism.


#4    Fluffybunny

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 04:40 PM

Quote

Rather than being a hapless victim of the Bush administration’s lies and manipulation, Biden was calling for a U.S. invasion of Iraq and making false statements regarding Saddam Hussein’s supposed possession of “weapons of mass destruction” years before President George W. Bush even came to office

So(refer to my bolding) does that mean that everyone is finally on the same page that bush lied and manipulated his way into Iraq? I mean if you are using this article to justify your point, you must finally see the light of bushs' lies about iraq...thats not my opinion, but the opinion of the article you posted...





Too many people on both sides of the spectrum have fallen into this mentality that a full one half of the country are the enemy for having different beliefs...in a country based on freedom of expression. It is this infighting that allows the focus to be taken away from "we the people" being able to watch, and have control over government corruption and ineptitude that is running rampant in our leadership.

People should be working towards fixing problems, not creating them.

#5    Guardsman Bass

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 11:08 PM

It's a good editorial, and the basic point he makes is right: Biden was a big enabler of the Iraq War from his perch in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. But let's face it; most elected Democrats of that period (2002-2003), along with nearly all of the major media (aside from McClatchy) and much of the populace, colluded with Bush to set up and do the invasion. Part of this is probably genuine belief on many of their minds that Saddam did have a connection to 9/11, but just as important was the climate of fear - Bush and cronies basically managed to create a political climate where opposing the war meant that you would be portrayed in the media and public as some kind of Un-American coward, probably French-supporting as well.

What this means is that while Obama no doubt would love to take on a helper who wasn't tainted by the whole business, he just doesn't have many choices in that regard. He had to pick the one that overall did the best for his candidacy.

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours." -Sir Charles Napier

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#6    pendora

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 11:12 PM

I was under the impression that this forum required (to refrain from copyright infringement) a paragraph or two quoted, plus the source of the article, but not the whole article.

Maybe I was mistaken.



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#7    Guardsman Bass

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 11:19 PM

I've always despised that rule, and wondered why they keep it; I've been on numerous other forums that ignore that rule. I think it inhibits discussion out of an unreasonable fear of being sued.

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours." -Sir Charles Napier

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#8    pendora

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 11:37 PM

As a writer/author, I feel it's very fair.

That work is someone else's.  Not ours to reprint here or anywhere else.

Property respect.  

I wouldn't give out your plans if you were an architect.

I wouldn't post your calculations if you were a physicist.

Property respect.



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#9    Guardsman Bass

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 12:45 AM

Even though the content is free for viewing on the internet, and we're not using it for profit? There is such thing as Fair Use.

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours." -Sir Charles Napier

"The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted."  — D.H. Lawrence

#10    pendora

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 01:54 AM

Fair use has its limits.

This forum isn't for an educational purpose, among other things.

It's about respecting others property as you would want your property respected.

And because something is posted on the internet, doesn't mean it's up for full quote.  It is copyrighted if marked so, just as most of wikipedia is free use/general use. It's an article by article situation.  

An AP article has very strict reuse policy and fair use is very limited in some respects.

It's always best to simply post a paragraph and a link to the rest.  It's respectful and if someone is too lazy to click a link to read the rest, then it's their loss.

Be respectful of intellectual property rights.

Pendora

Edited by pendora, 11 September 2008 - 01:55 AM.

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#11    KingTomis

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 02:43 AM

That rule really started to be implemented here when we would have 15 new threads a day with extremely long text from far out there leftist blogs posted up ad nauseum by a funny character who went by bob.

I might be wrong, but it's really the only time I saw it enforced.






#12    Guardsman Bass

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 02:56 AM

KingTomis on Sep 10 2008, 08:43 PM, said:

That rule really started to be implemented here when we would have 15 new threads a day with extremely long text from far out there leftist blogs posted up ad nauseum by a funny character who went by bob.

I might be wrong, but it's really the only time I saw it enforced.


I think I remember that guy. He would post those exorbitantly long entries that would hog up bandwidth.

At the same time, though, that guy was an extreme. You could probably still allow people to quote 1 or 2 page articles like those in the New York Times or Wall Street Journal, then decide who is violating the rule on a case-by-case basis. Or set a length limit - no articles over 3 pages long.

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours." -Sir Charles Napier

"The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted."  — D.H. Lawrence

#13    bathory

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 04:07 AM

Fluffybunny on Sep 10 2008, 05:40 PM, said:

So(refer to my bolding) does that mean that everyone is finally on the same page that bush lied and manipulated his way into Iraq? I mean if you are using this article to justify your point, you must finally see the light of bushs' lies about iraq...thats not my opinion, but the opinion of the article you posted...


comeon fluffy, enough with the leaps of logic

one of Obama's things is that he opposed the war in Iraq, that he showed better judgement on the issue than mccain
he kills this by selecting Biden as VP, just because the article asserts that Bush lied (and absurdly suggests Biden was lying long before) doesn't change the key point of the article.




#14    supercar

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 05:07 AM

Fluffybunny on Sep 10 2008, 11:40 AM, said:

So(refer to my bolding) does that mean that everyone is finally on the same page that bush lied and manipulated his way into Iraq?


Bush lied? Look at these statements from DEMOCRATS:

"Saddam Hussein certainly has chemical and biological weapons. There's no question about that"
- Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi,November 17,2002 DEMOCRAT

"For more than two decades, Saddam Hussein has sought weapons of mass destruction through every available means. We know that he has chemical and biological weapons.
- Senator John Edwards, Oct 10, 2002 DEMOCRAT

“Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime … He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation … And now he is miscalculating America’s response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction … So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real…”
- Senator John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003 DEMOCRAT

“I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force — if necessary — to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security.”
- Senator John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002 DEMOCRAT

“One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line.”
- President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998 DEMOCRAT

“If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program.”
- President Bill Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998 DEMOCRAT

“We must stop Saddam from ever again jeopardizing the stability and security of his neighbors with weapons of mass destruction.”
- Madeline Albright, Feb 1, 1998 DEMOCRAT

“He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983.”
- Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998 DEMOCRAT

“[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq’s refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs.”
Letter to President Clinton.
- (D) Senators Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, others, Oct. 9, 1998 DEMOCRAT

“Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.”
- Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998 DEMOCRAT

“Hussein has … chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies.”
- Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999 DEMOCRAT

“We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandate of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and th! e means of delivering them.”
- Senator Carl Levin (D, MI), Sept. 19, 2002 DEMOCRAT

“We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.”
- Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002 DEMOCRAT

“Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power.”
- Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002 DEMOCRAT

“We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction.”
- Senator Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002 DEMOCRAT

“The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons…”
- Senator Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002 DEMOCRAT

“There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years … We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction.”
- Senator Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002 DEMOCRAT

“In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members … It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.”
- Senator Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002 DEMOCRAT

“We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction.”
- Senator Bob Graham (D, FL), Dec. 8, 2002 DEMOCRAT

"Saddam is dangerous. The world would be a better place without him.
But the reason he poses a growing danger to the United States and its
allies is that he possesses chemical and biological weapons"
- Vice Presidential Candidate Joe Biden October 10,2002 DEMOCRAT


Here's the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1q9Q0OtJ4g

http://www.glennbeck.com/content/articles/article/198/4976/






#15    IrishAidan07

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 05:51 AM

Biden was. He is a disgusting pig. A cyst on the *** of humanity. A vile pig who should be removed from the gene pool.

An absolute pig, unworthy of being called human.

There is no emotion or sense in that man, I believe.



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