Mark Steyn notes Joe Biden’s tale of his journey to Afghanistan, describing the “superhighway of terror where my heliocopter was forced down.” By weather, it turns out. What’s easily forgotten is that this isn’t the first time Biden has told tales of being under enemy fire that turned out to be… not so easily verified.
“Let’s start telling the truth,” he said. “Number one, you take all the troops out — you better have helicopters ready to take those 3,000 civilians inside the Green Zone, where I have been seven times and shot at. You better make sure you have protection for them, or let them die, number one.”
When asked for a detailed account of the experience, Biden described three incidents on two separate Iraq trips in which he felt that he was shot at or might have been shot at. Only one of them took place inside the Green Zone, he said, and involved a “shot” landing outside the building where he and other senators were staying. He added that the vehicle he was traveling in the day before might also have been hit.
Biden said the incident happened in the morning while he and at least one other senator were shaving. Although he said it shook the building, he wasn’t rattled enough to duck and cover.
“No one got up and ran from the room—it wasn’t that kind of thing,” he said. “…It’s not like I had someone holding a gun to my head.”
Thinking about it now, he said, a more accurate comment would have been: “I was near where a shot landed.”
Biden aides have provided greater details of the three incidents in an e-mailed account: In December 2005, Biden and his staff spent the night in the Green Zone. At about 6:30 a.m., they heard mortars fired a few hundred yards away, which shook the aides’ trailer and rattled the building where Biden was getting ready for the day.
“A soldier came by to explain what happened and said if the mortar fire continued, they would need to proceed to a shelter,” according to the aides.
During the same December 2005 trip, a bullet narrowly missed the helicopter that Biden and his aides were flying in en route to the Baghdad airport from the Green Zone. But the most harrowing episode, according to an aide present, took place in December 2004, while Biden was leaving Iraq in a C-130 cargo airplane. The plane’s anti-missile system was triggered, indicating that they had been fired upon by a surface-to-air missile.
“When mortars are fired into the Green Zone or surface-to-air missiles are fired at a plane, they don’t have names or addresses on them,” Biden spokeswoman Elizabeth Alexander wrote. “The nuance of being shot at or shot near means nothing in a war zone. The point Sen. Biden was making is that Iraq is a dangerous place — for our troops, for Iraqis, for everyone.”
(I can hear it now from readers — “No, no, the insurgents were shooting at Neil Kinnock!”)
UPDATE: If you’re a Democratic primary voter, who decided in favor of Obama because you were disturbed by Hillary’s tale of dodging snipers in Bosnia… what do you do now?