Sen. Joe Biden’s helicopter was “forced down” in Afghanistan mountains crawling with al-Qaeda? That’s what he told a National Guard audience in Maryland today. From Jake Tapper (emphasis mine):
“If you want to know where Al Qaeda lives, you want to know where Bin Laden is, come back to Afghanistan with me,” Biden said. “Come back to the area where my helicopter was forced down, with a three-star general and three senators at 10,500 feet in the middle of those mountains. I can tell you where they are.”
… [E]arlier this month at a fundraiser, he made a similar remark, when discussing how he doesn’t care about the Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s controversies like whether she sold a state plane on eBay, or when she went from supporting to opposing the Bridge to Nowhere.
“What I care about is: What in God’s name is she going to do — along with John McCain — about the thousands of people who don’t have health care?” Biden said according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Biden said he would ask Palin about “The superhighway of terror between Pakistan and Afghanistan where my helicopter was forced down…John McCain wants to know where Bin Laden and the gates of Hell are? I can tell him where. That’s where Al Qaeda is. That’s where Bin Laden is. It’s not in the country of Iraq.”
OK…when Joe Biden tells — actually, no, let’s say, when a normal person tells a National Guard audience that his helicopter was forced down in the middle of what he says is a hotbed of al Qaeda activity, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Yes, of course, you wonder how he managed to survive the rest of the attack. In other words, you get the impression that his helicopter was forced down by enemy activity.
What Biden doesn’t mention is that his helicopter was grounded by weather, and he and his travel-mates were driven back to base without incident before they traveled elsewhere. Tapper again:
In February 2008, Biden — along with Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Chuck Hagel, R-Neb. — was on a chopper that made an emergency landing in the mountains of Afghanistan.
A snowstorm had forced them down.
No one was injured, and the Associated Press reported at the time that “the senators and their delegation returned to Bagram Air Base in a motor convoy, and left for Turkey.
Sen. Kerry was not quite so traumatized by the ordeal as Sen. Biden evidently was:
[Kerry told the AP at the time] We sat up there and traded stories.” Kerry joked, “We were going to send Biden out to fight the Taliban with snowballs, but we didn’t have to do it…Other than getting a little cold, it was fine.”
Given Biden’s well-documented history of creative self-aggrandizement, I doubt he was unaware how his harrowing tale of being forced out of the air in the epicenter of al Qaeda activity might sound, especially in front of a military audience. You would think that he might have learned something from Hillary Clinton’s “tall tale” about dodging nonexistent sniper fire in Bosnia. I know the prospect of Sinbad making me look stupid would definitely make me think twice about spinning yarns that transform me into a combat veteran.