Biden claims Romney wants war with Iran and Syria
September 2nd, 2012
04:34 PM ET
6 years ago

Biden claims Romney wants war with Iran and Syria

(CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden claimed Sunday that Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, might engage in war with Syria and Iran if elected president in November.

"He said it was a mistake to end the war in Iraq and bring all of our warriors home," Biden said at a campaign stop in Pennsylvania. "He said it was a mistake to set an end date for our warriors in Afghanistan and bring them home. He implies by the speech that he's ready to go to war in Syria and Iran."

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While Romney supports President Barack Obama's deadline of September 2014 for withdrawing all troops from Afghanistan, he says timelines like Obama's cause allies to question America's commitment to helping countries recover from war. The Iraq withdrawal, completed at the end of last year, drew criticism from Romney, who characterized the move as either inept or driven by political motives.

"I believe that you listen to the commanders on the ground and understand from them what the timetable is to transition entirely to the Iraqi military," Romney said in October.

On Iran, Romney has sought to adopt a tougher tone than Obama on preventing the country from developing nuclear weapons, though in terms of policy Romney has not offered anything markedly different from what Obama currently has in place. He has not, as Biden suggested, said that he would wage outright war with Iran.

Romney acknowledged the similarity between his own viewpoint on Iran and Obama's position in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer in July, saying "our president has said and I have said that it is unacceptable for Iran to become nuclear."

If all else fails, Romney said, "A military option is one which would be available to the president of the United States."

On Syria, Romney has accused Obama and his administration of being similarly weak in dealing with President Bashar al-Assad, and has called for the United States and allies to arm Syrian rebels.

The White House has avoided taking that step, saying the U.S. doesn't know enough about the opposition fighters to offer weapons.

In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour in July, Romney foreign policy adviser Richard Williamson said the candidate thinks "we should have people working with the opposition, trying to identify the moderate forces and help them unify."

But when Amanpour pressed Williamson on other options to try and weaken al-Assad, he said Romney was more reluctant than members of his own party to take additional steps.

"He won't join his friend John McCain and others who are calling for no-fly zones and safe havens," Williamson said, adding those measures were "not something you can put off the table."

Foreign policy has not been at the forefront of the 2012 presidential campaign as Americans struggle with high unemployment and stagnant wages. The economy and jobs are generally ranked higher in polls of voters' top issues.

With that in mind, Biden stuck mainly to the economy at his Pennsylvania stop, using harsh attack lines to criticize the economic plans offered by his rivals.

"There's nothing new about this plan," Biden said. "It's not only not new, it's not fair and it's not right. It won't grow the economy, it didn't do it before. Folks we seen this movie before and we know how it ends."

Romney's campaign responded by pointing back to the economic policies from Obama and Biden, saying the current jobs situation spoke for itself.

"It's clear that we need to move in a different direction, but Vice President Biden only brought the same failed policies and tired attacks to Pennsylvania that have not turned around our economy or helped the middle class," Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg wrote.

Filed under: Iran • Joe Biden • Syria
soundoff (306 Responses)
  1. CBR

    Mr. Romney's stance on foreign policy issues and exactly how he would deal with Iran are worrisome. He has not had any experience with the military. His performance on his tour showed his lack of foreign policy experience.

    He will be suing much of the same team that helped George Bush. How many of us want these wars to continue? How many of our children, wives, husbands, friends and neighbors must go to Iraq and Afghanistan to fight this war that has gone on longer than any in history. Who paid for this war? Can you slay deficit? Congress did not insist that the war be funded. Instead there was a deficit before the 2008 election.

    So far we have heard that we need to confront Iran because that is the only way that the USA can remain a world leader. Just how ridiculous is that thinking. We cannot force any government to do what we say. Diplomacy is the best tool. Working with other governments to bring about a satisfactory resolution would make much more sense.Unless of course you find it satisfactory to send our military into these areas and are not concerned abouth their welfare and safety. We did that in Iraq and Afghanistan – we allowed our troops to go into battle without the proper equipment and without a proper plan in place.

    How callous are with with the lives of our military. How little we seem to care about their families and the number of deployments of individual soldiers, sailors and marines.

    Haliburton got contracts without bidding. The military industrial complex got paid handsomely.

    September 2, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  2. Patrick

    The United States of America can't afford to "go to war" with anybody the moment, but then again can the USA really afford NOT TO? On the other hand why would a greatcountry like the USA take it upon themselves to be "the police " of the world and then finally realize that the cost of THAT very idea, may put them into bankruptcy and the loss of even more countless valuable American Lives and for what?

    The world is becoming increasingly violent and explosive so maybe we should hold our firepower for the upcoming real threats which currently and directly threaten to put the North American way of life, at stake.

    Eg:"President",Vladimir Putin verbaly threatening nuclear war, regarding the USA involvement in the EU regarding early warning defence systems to "pick up" any deviant plans from "Iran". It didn't seem like Putin was "drunk" at the time when he said it, just incredibly arrogant and completely disrespectful with of course...a puffed out a mad dog.

    It's pretty obvious that Russia's corrupt alliance with Communist China has created a whole new meaning of the word "world bullies"!

    September 2, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  3. carlos

    whatever,we just don't wana see obama banana for another term.

    September 2, 2012 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  4. FastEddie

    Rule of Acquisition #34: War is good for business.

    September 2, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  5. Sam Adams

    If the leaders were to listen to military leaders, they would not go to war in the first place.

    The Iraq war was based on what that administration called WMD. That information was false and shown to be so by the UK government that informed the US administration in no uncertain terms. The US administration decided to issue the big lie made famous by the regime of Germany in the 1930s.

    Pres Eisenhower warned America of the growing danger of the military-industrial complex that would grow without limit, suck up resources, waste precious American lives, and tempt the government to become an aggressive world power. Eisenhower's prediction came to pass. The US started the first war of aggression against Iraq.

    Now, the GOP political leaders are counter to Eisenhower's warning given as our nation's highest military leader and president. They want the US to engage in military intervention in regime change in other countries, abandoning diplomacy in favor of rash rush to armed conflict, not listening to our military leaders but acting only to gain political advantage.

    September 2, 2012 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  6. HenryMiller

    Being "ready," as in prepared, is a long, long, way from wanting it, and even Joe "The Stooge" Biden knows that.

    September 2, 2012 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  7. rlr1

    I believe the VP is correct and Willard will get us into a war in Iran. Why else would he have gone to Isreal to smooge with their PM?

    September 2, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  8. Bubba Rydel

    biden's like that crazy old retired opinionated uncle that shows up at family events. completely out of touch with the working culture and the daily struggles endured by families. obama would do himself a huge favor if he would replace this baffoon with a well respected young Democrat who understands what it is to have a student loan, a job in the energy sector, children in school, a working wife and a country in trouble.

    September 2, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  9. rlr1

    Of course he does, how else does the gop base make their money

    September 2, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  10. Patrick

    Vote Obama ! He needs another term, in order to get the United States of America "BACK ON TOP"!

    September 2, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  11. StXavier

    Romney will do an say what his handlers tell him to do an say, this is why Romney doesn't have an thoughts of his own. Think about it fokes, do you want a president who knows how to think or a puppet for a president.

    September 2, 2012 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  12. Reagan80

    Biden's stupid remark of the day.

    September 2, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  13. "He's Dead Jim."

    It's natural for Biden as a Democrat to attack Romney in this sort of manner. Republicans always desire war as the answer. Those wars always turn out as egg on our faces; wars meant to do good. Iraq: we wanted to oust Saddam Hussein and the remainder of the Bath Party elements. We wanted to get rid of (real or imagined WMD), we ridded Iraq of the former, as to the latter; who knows for sure? What we really did was bring less stability to the middle eastern region and, effectively hand the Iranians a more porous neighbor to exert their influence upon. Afghanistan will in the end, most likely remain to be what it has long been; the land un-conquerable and the land most easily influenced and ruled by it's neighbors who have more in common with her people than we and "our" interests do. Democrats on the other hand seem very much to rely on the non-answer (area of strategic non-importance) (no oil or technology to chase; just dead people)... don't do anything because it will tarnish their clean presidential democrat hands, rely on Europe, Nato, the UN, diplomacy, or sanctions until they realize that a few hundred thousand people are dead because it does not work either. The truth of the current matters look a lot more like this: Iran – Obama and Biden don't want war with them. Sanctions are the order of the day, even though; Iran has a network of nations and corporations helping them to bypass the sanctions. Romney cannot really want war with them either – we already have been involved in a three front war since 911: Iraq, Afghanistan, the war on terror. Even with Iraq off of the war menu, we would have a three front war if we include Iran. Include the likes of Iran's network of terrorist cells, China and Russia. What do we wind up with then? A cluster-front war. I don't think Romney, Obama or anyone else in America really want a war with Iran. I also don't think that it makes any since for our leaders or wanna-be leaders to give each other grief over the Iran issue... here's why: Iran, Iran's terrorist networks surrounding Israel, having a presence in South America, and likely having sleeper agents in America, North Korea, China, Russia, Pakistan, Venezuela, Iran's allies in the middle east and maybe even Turkey. What do they all have in common? They are building a united front to what they choose to call American hegemony. Have our leaders or wanna-be leaders been building a counter to such a large scale containment plan? Not from what I'm reading. So the truth goes more like: Obama and Romney both lack a plan for action on Iran, Syria, and the so-called middle east uprisings. If you are not building allies as well as your enemies are, you have too little to enact policy with, be your policy war or false peace. Don't waste our time or yours with slinging the "usual mud" come up with a plan and work it.

    September 2, 2012 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  14. DrVonBrain

    Spending money on a war does stimulate the economy. One can't argue that. I'm sure Romney, once elected, has quite a few friends within the military-industrial complex to reward.

    September 2, 2012 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  15. Kim hyun

    War in iraq have a bis reason cuz if they are creat a nuclear weapon they will blast in american .if them blast in american then u and ur childs all will dead so u s troop sent to iraq that not was it security of world and especail u.s .muslim peoples very dangerous them will use it so u must think becarefull!

    September 2, 2012 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  16. David Hodes

    Iran is a fanatic nation determined to get nuclear weapons to destroy Israel and dominate the Mideast. This is its primary goal and it is willing to endure any "sanctions" to attain it. The United States could set back Iran's nuclear program for years with a concerted bombing and cruise missile attack. We have not done this because of President Obama's obsession with the ability of diplomacy to work despite its demonstrated ineffectiveness. Obama needs to reevaluate his thinking and develop an exit strategy from the negotiating table. Similar thinking should apply to Syria, though its lack of nuclear science makes it less dangerous.

    September 2, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  17. Joe Smith

    I think we will be at war before the election.

    September 2, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  18. Tom in San Diego

    The people who follow Biden of all people like a bunch of Sheep are about as bright as Biden himself. Old Joe doesnt even know where Iran is...The New York Times quoted him as asking if the rumor was true that Osama Bin Laden was really still alive and the SEALs moved him to a safe house in Cuba....Joe, Joe, Joe quit hittin Obama's Beer Kegs he just insalled in the Oval Office....

    September 2, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  19. frogleg

    Obama is the man.NO WAR,NO job.NO No Home,No ECONOMY. HuMmmm.. VOtE FOR Meeee. MY NAME IS Meeeee.

    September 2, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  20. Patricksday

    Its most important for the War Industry and their shareholders to have a windfall too, as if Romney stands a chance of winning the election in November. Romney represents an America of the Past that focuses on Greed, Selfishness and the raping of the Environment for ultimate Profits for the 1%. How is they have Billions of Dollars to send our dedicated soldiers to die for their bottom lines??

    September 2, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  21. Steve

    Bring it on if necessary. And only if necessary. At least Romney isn't a coward, hiding beneath his desk like a little school boy. If the choices Syria and Iran make force the United States to protect freedom around the world, then so it must be. That is what we have always done as a nation. Biden and Bama would have us hide and cower to other nations, ultimately resulting in chaos and anarchy around the world. After watching 2016, I genuinely think that's what Bama wants.

    September 2, 2012 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  22. SugarKube

    The hate and lies continue from the desperate Reidtards.

    September 2, 2012 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  23. "He's Dead Jim."

    I lean more Republican than Democratic in nature but, I have to ask these questions: What is Iran bucking to do? Are they building a war machine of a certain level of capability? What will that capability wind up being if left to develop without challenge? A nation "openly" calls repeatedly for the destruction of Israel. This same nation also encourages their people to chant, "death to America". Are they advancing their nuclear infrastructure for purely Islamic and peaceful purposes? Do they really want Israel to disappear in David Copperfield's next magic act? If they want Israel to go; is it far fetched to think they want us gone next? What happens if anyone makes war against Iran? Does this wind up being the end of the world? Does letting Iran do what they want to do without challenge create an end of the world environment? It all looks catch 22 from where I sit and read. Catch 22 for leaders Democratic and Republican alike.

    September 2, 2012 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  24. joe

    Stinks of desperation in here.

    September 2, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  25. Nietodarwin

    You notice not one speaker at the GOP convention mentioned the name Bin Laden? They are against birth control and abortion because they want plenty of soldiers to throw in the meat grinder. Young vets from these wars will vote more heavily for Obama, they know he has gotten better treatment for them. This is the EASIEST choice american voters have ever faced.

    September 2, 2012 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
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