Nematt: Why Iraq Hates Biden
Salameh Nematt, writing for the newly-minted Daily Beast, has an interesting and timely piece out today: Why Iraq Hates Joe Biden.
Good stuff. But what's missing from the piece is reference to Biden's speech on May 1, 2006 during which he first introduced his grand 'Biden Plan'. This was Biden's most ambitious foreign policy initiative, ever. This was supposed to be the keystone of his presidential ambitions.
Biden unfurled his speech at the 90th birthday celebration for eminent Middle East historian Bernard Lewis. In fact, Biden was seated next to Judy Miller, formerly of the New York Times, before he took to the stage.
Vice President Dick Cheney gave the keynote address a short while later.
Biden deliberately chose this venue to first publicize his plan: Dr. Lewis was the White House's go-to historian on all matters Middle East, and Biden wanted to be all in Cheney's face.
Biden's plan was to cut up Iraq into three statelets, grant the Sunnis-Kurds-Shias some breathing room apart, and then give the three statelets the option of re-integrating should they choose to do so. I remember it vividly, as I was in the audience.
But as Nematt points out, the Biden Plan was received with wide-ranging hostility and derision. It was the 'Mother of All Gaffes', if you may. Senator McCain dismissed it at the time by saying that Biden wants to "partition bedrooms in Baghdad"; last night in the third debate, McCain again referred to the plan and called it a "cockamamie scheme".
Later, Biden tried to tweak his plan to make it more acceptable, but he inadvertently (or maybe purposely) plagiarized the federalist concept as adopted by the Iraqi National Congress back in the Salahuddin Conference of October 1992. But even then, the revised Biden Plan was a moot point, since the INC's concept had already been codified into the current Iraqi Constitution (ratified by national referendum on October 15, 2005; six months before Biden came up with his "original" idea).
Do you hear that "whoooosh" sound? That's the sound of all this going over the heads of the media...