Unethical Comment of the Week: Vice-President Joe Biden

“I wouldn’t call him a dictator, no.”

-Vice-President Joe Biden, answering a reporter’s question about whether soon-to-be ex-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is a dictator.

President Mubarak is a dictator. By what measurement would we conclude otherwise? He has been in power, via rigged elections, for 30 years. The country is under so-called “Emergency Rule.” He can have anyone tortured, arrested or killed that he wants. H just shut down the Internet, on his orders alone. He has no opposition in the government; he can dictate whatever policies he chooses. What powers of a dictator doesn’t Mubarrak have?

Yet Joe Biden, the internationalist among President Obama’s key advisors, says otherwise. Here are the various ways this short statement is so unethical. (Not all of them can apply at once.):

1. When high elected officials utter obvious lies like this one, it undermines trust of the entire government by raising the natural question, “If they will lie about something so obvious, even when they know it can’t be believed, how can I trust them regarding things that are no so obvious?” How indeed.

2. In the alternative, if something is obvious to everyone but we take Biden’s word that it is not obvious to him, this undermines trust in the competence of those in charge of our government.

3. If indeed Biden is telling the truth, then he is displaying an unethical, irresponsible, dangerous level of incompetence.

4. Or, perhaps, he is being coy, saying, “I wouldn’t say he is a dictator”—because Egypt is an important ally and if he somehow wiggled out of his current fix we don’t want him ticked off at us. If Biden leaves that part out, as he did, however, he is being deceitful…and sounding like he’s willing to lie or too dumb to be a heartbeat from the presidency.

5. He’s just blatantly lying to the press, the public, and the world.

Whichever of these applies (1, 2, and one of the remaining three), it is remarkably silly, unethical statement.

Even for Joe Biden.



17 thoughts on “Unethical Comment of the Week: Vice-President Joe Biden

  1. Yes, this is the corner we’ve painted ourselves into with this attitude of ‘he’s a tyrant, yet he’s OUR tyrant’ attitude our NeoCon-Artists foreign policy we’ve had in place – and now is the time to recognize it publicly and evolve past it. Our Leaders and diplomats are walking on the razor blade of trying to appear like they want ‘democracy’, while supporting the NWO Corporate Fascist Global regime that is attempting to enslave the globe. Biden can’t appear to piss them off, but can’t appear to not support the process of ‘democracy’ either… it’s a tough position to be in for sure. Dude.

  2. Re Marshall’s and Blakeart’s commentary: The US has ALWAYS picked the dictators it holds close to its heart, or its (supposed) national security. No news there.

    No news either that Biden sticks his foot in his mouth at every single opportunity. Much as I am opposed to most of Obama’s policies and plans, the really scary thing is that Biden actually is a “heartbeat away” from the presidency.

      • Also, do you believe Obama’s heart is as likely to stop as that of an 80 year old with previous heart surgeries?

        [/end attack of random off top statement]

      • No, but someone who makes verbal gaffes as often as Biden does raises a rebuttable presumption that he’s unfit. Biden’s proportion of gaffes to coherence is, I’d say, worse than Sarah Palin’s and everyone seems willing to agree that she’s unfit. The difference is that the media likes Joe.

        • Really? Palin makes gaffes IN WRITING. I think that’s a step beyond.

          Also, her gaffes aren’t the reason I go for unfit. It’s her lack of experience, lack of demonstrated knowledge, and general belief that anything that makes her look bad is unfair, no matter how accurate it is.

          • That’s unfair—Biden doesn’t write at all. I give Palin props for having the guts to do her own writing. facebook and twitter gaffes don’t count, or I’m in trouble. We both are. I’d also give her a break on the fairness issue, since I think she is the most unfairly treated politician in my lifetime. It’s like bigotry…how does someone who is the victim of discrimination know when they are being criticized justifiably? Please…I had to be writing about Sarah all weekend…don’t make me do more.

  3. As was politically noted above, the U.S. leaders have always been extremely duplicitous in foreign policy. “He’s a tyrant, we’re bring democracy” is enough reason to invade a country whose policies we don’t like. It’s also completely irrelevant if we do like their policies.

    I’m just going to add Biden to my list of every other President, Vice President, and Secretary of State who has ever commented on foreign policy.

    • If I wasn’t clear, the issue is that the U.S.’s essentially official position is that dictators are necessarily worse than democracies. This has been used as a means of drumming up support for actions the governement wants to take against specific dictators.

      Essentially, we can’t unring the bell, and no official is willing to say “we lied and tricked you into supporting our wars. We really believe friendly dictators are better than hostile democracies.”

      Instead, we get hemming and hawing about who is and who isn’t a dictator. Of your list, this is #4. It’s a tried and true practice of our elected officials.

      It’s still not right though.

  4. It’s arguable whether Mubarak is a dictator. Dictators usually don’t put up with a vocal (albeit limited) opposition, nor do they put up with criticism. Mubarak has. I give Biden a pass: he weaseled out of frank talk, but he didn’t lie.

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