December 13, 2011
Contact:
Cara Philbin, NPR


   

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN TELLS NPR NEWS THAT U.S. EXPECTS
"STABLE, DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT" IN IRAQ AFTER U.S. WITHDRAWAL

IN INTERVIEW ON NPR'S "ALL THINGS CONSIDERED"

EXCERPTS AND FULL TRANSCRIPT BELOW; AUDIO AVAILABLE AT 7PM (ET) AT NPR.ORG

In an interview airing tonight on NPR's All Things Considered, Vice President Joe Biden spoke with host Robert Siegel about the Obama administration's expectations for Iraq once the remaining American troops have withdrawn, nearly nine years after the start of the war. The Vice President also discussed the inevitable relationship Iraq will have with neighboring Iran and whether there is an appropriate limit to Iranian influence in the region.

The conversation between Biden and Siegel airs tonight and the full transcript follows below. The full audio will also be available at 7PM (ET) at: www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/12/13/143658026/biden-iraq-will-be-a-partner-history-will-judge-if-war-was-worth-it. Excerpts follow:

On the expectations the Obama administration has for Iraq once the remaining American troops have withdrawn, Biden said: "Well, we're not looking for an ally; what we're looking for is a stable, democratic government that is not beholden to anyone in the region and is able to be secure within its own borders and have its own policy. I'm confident because of the – what we call the strategic agreement we're now working on with them, we will be deeply involved within every aspect of their government from helping them improve their agriculture, to train air traffic controllers, to train pilots for the F-16s they’re buying. So we'll have a deep relationship."

When asked whether he thinks the war in Iraq was worth it, Biden said: "I think history is going to be the only judge of that. But I can tell you that when we came to office, we had – we had over 150,000 folks there, a war with no political end in sight. And after three years, we've met our commitment, brought the war to a responsible end, and by December 31st of this year, there'll be no more troops in Iraq."

Explaining why the White House avoids using the word "ally" in reference to its relationship with Iraq, Biden said: "To be an ally is a formal military alliance. And we have a formal military alliance in NATO. But we are partners with other countries all across the world. And they're – they will be a partner."

When asked if he believed that the Arab Spring only happened because there had been a war in Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein, Biden said: "No, I do not believe that at all. I think the Arab Spring is a consequence of – a consequence of the passage of time and history and the exposure of that part of the world...to quote my buddy Tom Friedman, a flat world."

All excerpts must be credited to "NPR's All Things Considered." Broadcast outlets may use up to sixty (60) consecutive seconds of audio from the interview. Television usage must include on-screen chyron to "NPR's All Things Considered" with NPR logo. Audio will be available at 7PM (ET) at: www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/12/13/143658026/biden-iraq-will-be-a-partner-history-will-judge-if-war-was-worth-it

All Things Considered, NPR's signature afternoon newsmagazine, is hosted by Melissa Block and Robert Siegel, and reaches more than 12 million listeners weekly. To find local stations and broadcast times for the program, visit www.npr.org/stations