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Joe Biden update: If it's Thursday, this must be Iraq

Democrat vice president Joe Biden smiles at Afghan troop Trainees 1-11-11

Vice President Joe Biden -- remember him? -- has fled the non-political violence of the United States to visit the distant lands of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq not yet wracked by the violence of civilian peace times.

The ex-senator is putting on a lot of frequent-flier miles this week. He first showed up in Afghanistan unannounced. Well, actually, he wasn't unannounced. For security concerns, Americans back home had no idea where their vice president was.

But, it turns out, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and probably one or two others in that troubled land knew all about it last week.

And all the heavily-armed Afghan soldiers lined up for the foreigner's brief photo-op may have had a hint that someone important would soon be smiling around -- even if not everyone standing there holding a gun as they were told knew that the grey-haired grinning guy entered the U.S. Senate, whatever that is, when President Obama was a sixth-grader, whatever that is.

In all three countries Biden met with political and military leaders. Everyone was smiling and jokey for the 60 seconds that the traveling media pool was allowed to witness. Much of the usual talk about working together and increasing security and turning things over to whomever is left standing. And how the U.S. is only helping out and isn't interested in staying anywhere.

In Afghanistan, Biden chatted up some U.S. troops at breakfast, and when he discovered a bunch from somewhere called Delaware, he hung around to commiserate over football losses by the Eagles and the Delaware whatevers in the Div. II NCAA Championship game.

This morning in Iraq, as bombs exploded in the distance, the VP told reporters, "I'm here to help the Iraqis celebrate the progress they made. They formed a government. And that's a good thing. They have a long way to go."

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Pool via Getty Images (Biden smiles at Afghan Army trainees).

Comments () | Archives (4)

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Mr. Malcolm...I'm from Delaware, I take offense when you said the Vice President "discovered a bunch from somewhere called Delaware"...I'm sure that if you read any of the local papers, you would find a list of those in the armed forces who haved fought and died in Iraq AND Afghanistan from Delaware...Your distaste for the Vice President is well noted...I'm not too thrilled him, either...I suggest that you don't insult the fine people of Delaware simply because you don't like the Vice President..I"m also suprised that the The L.A. Times allowed this insult to stand...Oh, one last thing...The team is the University of Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens..not "whatever"

Smile insult was meant.Dont you dig well deserved irony.Glad to
know you aint no fan of the verbose one.What was it that Obama ever saw in
the bag of wind ?

The soldiers on the above photo are not sharing the euphoria that Biden
appears to be overwhelmed with.They seem to be waiting for the smiling
officer 's order to dismiss or perhaps an explanation of what is so funny.
Biden is famous for making people feel ill at ease and a good half dozen of
our main allies in europe have pleaded with Obama not to impose on them
another one of theese pointless Biden visits to their country.In this visit to
Afghanistan,president Karzai confided to the NYT reporter that he could not
believe his ears when Biden said he would try to persuade Obama to create
a US department of ''repression of vice and promotion of virtue''such as exists
in Afghanistan and many Islamic States.Karzai's words were :''This guy is
phonier than a 3 dollar bill and I can see why Obama sends him to all theese
far away places for extended periods of time.''

Whatever....The President reacently hailed from Chicago, "the windy city"....Maybe the President likes REALLY, REALLY, strong wind...(and no offense to the people of Chicago..)


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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