Orf vs. the Memory Hole: Biden Repeatedly Confuses Ukraine, Russia, and Iraq

by Matt Taibbi and Matt Orfalea | Feb 22, 2024

Not long ago, in the wake of the release of special counsel Robert Hur’s devastating report describing our president as an “elderly man with a poor memory,” an angry Joe Biden went on TV in an effort to show fitness and forgot a series of things, among them calling Abdel Fattah El-Sisi the president of Mexico.

The forgetting in itself was painful, but it happens. Donald Trump and other politicians also frequently reach for names and come up empty, though most cover up better than Biden. The issue was that Biden brought up El-Sisi in the context of the southern border of Israel and Gaza, and his brain was clearly calculating Below Southern Border + Crisis = Mexico. Logical, but you’d prefer the chief executive to distinguish between crises.

There’s a lot of scary stuff in Matt Orfalea’s “Biden Repeatedly Confuses Ukraine, Russia, and Iraq” above — the word Biden substituted for inflation sounds like an ear parasite — but the most unnerving is the frequent substitution of Iraq for Ukraine. A few reasons why:

The line at around 2:05 in which he talks about how “they’re pulling back from Fallujah… I mean from the… the… Kherson,” as well as a reference to disrupted oil prices, shows a remarkably detailed delusion.

This should matter for a few reasons. One is that Joe Biden was among the most enthusiastic blue-caucus supporters of the Iraq invasion, though he shamelessly ran from his record in the 2019-2020 election cycle. Ironically, many in the press gave his Iraq evasions a pass on the grounds that his memory was fading, describing outright deceptions as “gaffes” or “verbal slip-ups.” For instance, he contended he immediately knew his vote for war was a mistake, but he was out there nine months after the invasion telling the Brookings Institution, “It was a right vote then, and it’ll be a correct vote today.”

Ukraine and Iraq are two very different situations, among other things because the military adversary in this case can actually fight back and is much more believable as a geopolitical threat. But Biden mixing them up in his mind suggests he hasn’t reached the stage of really regretting the Iraq war, except perhaps as a political error. In the same way his brain is making Mexico = Egypt connections, he’s making That Unending Conflict We Must Support = Iraq = Ukraine connections here.

Iraq was “unwinnable” in the same sense as many military occupations, but the Bush administration added the additional burden of hoping to use occupied Iraq as a kind of staging area for the spread of democracy in the Middle East, a fantastical, bizarre idea. That, and the fact that there was no reason to invade in the first place, made it a terrible decision with deep costs in blood and treasure. It is the defining American foreign policy disaster of the 21st century, and it sure looks like Biden is demanding we repeat it.

The Iraq invasion never made sense as a response to 9/11. It did make sense in the context of modern American interventionist policies, which threw out old Realpolitik concepts in favor of “benevolent hegemony,” a policy of spreading “democracy promotion” everywhere by force, with resistant countries to be dubbed enemies. This concept is at least a subtext of the Ukraine war, thanks to the decades of NATO expansion that preceded Russia’s invasion. It’s also a policy that overlaps with the wishes of Raytheon, Lockheed-Martin, General Dynamics, etc., who clearly don’t regret a minute of the expansion of Fortress America to the Middle East and beyond.

An old man with dementia can be expected to mix up the names of sons, wives, mistresses. If Iraq and Ukraine are in the same mental sock drawer for President Biden, we have a seriously under-noticed problem. You can watch Orf’s video for laughs, but this one is more horror movie than most of his productions.

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