Joe Biden

Excerpts of Remarks in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

November 29, 2007

[Portsmouth, NH (November 29, 2007) - Today in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Sen. Joe Biden discussed the failure of President Bush's surge strategy to produce political reconciliation. Sen. Biden is the only candidate to have offered a political solution for the Iraqi civil war, so that we do not leave chaos behind. He also explained the connection between the Bush administration's rhetoric on Iran and the higher energy prices Americans are paying at the pump. Sen. Biden delivered his remarks at the Pease International Tradeport.]

"Security in Iraq is better, though it remains an incredibly dangerous and violent place," said Sen. Biden. "That's great news and it is due in no small measure to the extraordinary skill and bravery of our troops. They will accomplish any mission we give them. Over and over again, they've done their job in Iraq.

"The problem is, the President has not done his.

"Remember, the stated purpose of the surge was to allow Iraqis to come together politically. There is no evidence - none - that that has happened. And there is no evidence - none - that it will happen so long as the Bush administration and its supporters stick to the failed strategy of trying to build a strong central government in Iraq that wins the trust of its people.

"There is only one path to a durable political settlement in Iraq and it's the one I proposed more than a year ago and that 74 other senators recently endorsed: decentralize power… give Iraqis local control over the police, jobs, education, services… keep a limited central government to distribute oil revenues… and bring in the UN to oversee this political settlement."

Sen. Biden also discussed how the rising cost of gasoline for America's working families is tied to the mismanagement of our relationship with Iran.

"There's another consequence to having 160,000 American soldiers stuck in Iraq: it dramatically undermines our credibility and flexibility to deal with other challenges, starting with a country right next door: Iran," said Sen. Biden.

"Right now, you're paying on average $3/gallon for gas. And heating oil costs about $3.23/gallon, a full dollar more than it did this time last year.

"What does that have to do with our Iran policy? Everything. Just connect the dots.

"The price of every barrel of oil includes what the energy experts call a 'security premium' - an extra cost directly tied to tension and the risk of conflict in the Middle East. The more tensions rise, the higher the security premium goes, because people betting on the long term price of oil anticipate supply disruptions.

"Right now, a barrel of oil costs 100 dollars. But a full 30 dollars of that is the security premium. That's right: nearly one-third of the cost of oil pays for that security premium.

"So what happens when President Bush or Vice President Cheney start talking about "World War III" with Iran… or when Congress votes to designate a large chunk of Iran's military a "terrorist organization?"

"First, it plays right into President Ahmadinejad's hands because it allows him to distract the Iranian people from the terrible failures of his leadership.

"But second, it ratchets up tension with Iran, which means the security premium goes up and oil prices go through the roof.

"That security premium comes right out of your pockets here in New Hampshire. And it goes right into the coffers of the Iranian government, propping up their President and his extreme policies.

"It's hard to think of a more self-defeating policy."

Joseph R. Biden, Excerpts of Remarks in Portsmouth, New Hampshire Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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