Joe Biden Apologizes for Telling the Truth
By Carol Giacomo
It used to be that lying got politicians into trouble. For Vice President Joe Biden, it’s truth-telling that causes a stir.
The latest furor started after he spoke at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government last Thursday. Mr. Biden said American allies including Turkey, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates had extended unconditional financial and logistical support to Sunni fighters trying to oust the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad. [..]
There is little doubt that his basic facts are accurate, confirmed by news reports in The Times and other media and by Western officials. Yet Mr. Biden was forced to officially apologize to Turkey late Saturday after Mr. Erdogan demanded it. He issued another apology on Sunday after the United Arab Emirates also took umbrage. [..]
In the current instance, Mr. Biden should have exercised some restraint and not publicly shared his conversation with President Erdogan. But the basic truth – that Turkey and other countries enabled Islamic State and other extremists – can’t be wished away. The United States, Turkey, Qatar, the U.A.E. and other countries in the region have a mutual need to work together to counter ISIS or ISIL. That means owning up to the mistakes that have allowed the group to flourish and correcting them, including shutting down Turkey as a transit corridor for ISIS revenue, weapons and foreign fighters.