With the 2020 election season underway, there’s been no shortage of media-driven mudslinging about presidential candidates, as well as scandals both real and manufactured.
It may, therefore, seem pretty unremarkable that a few journalists have rehashed Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden’s reputation for using his political career to turn favors for family members and business partners.
But in season and out, my mission is to stand in solidarity with the vulnerable.
That means particularly those with the least access to media megaphones. I’m no investigative journalist, but for that mission, I can play the role of truffle pig. And when it comes to Joe Biden, I smell a big one–the one scandal if any that must not be lost amid this election season’s mud.
Joe Biden’s track-record of wheeling and dealing is more than what journalists, congressional investigative bodies, and even President Trump have made of it.
How big is it?
Well, imagine if President Harry Truman, after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, used his political position to give his own family a multi-billion-dollar contract to rebuild cities in Japan.
A Deadly Foreign Policy for Kicks?
Make no mistake: What Joe Biden did in 2011 is hardly less scandalous.
It was in June of that year that HillStone International, a relatively new homebuilding concern, landed a $1,500,000,000 contract to build homes in Iraq.
Vice President Biden’s brother, James Biden, had landed an executive position at HillStone just months earlier.
To understand just how grave, how corrupt, how unseemly this is, consider the backdrop to Biden’s 2011 family deal-making.
Starting in 2009, just after then Vice President Biden took oversight of the Obama administration’s Iraq policy, the U.S. began to withdraw from a mangled Iraq.
The withdrawal, completed in 2011, only made things worse for the people of Iraq.
If the initial invasion broke their means of maintaining order and securing their own towns and families, the withdrawal went one, brutal step further.
Under Biden, the U.S. abandoned those vulnerable Iraqis while creating a power vacuum that aided their enemies–merciless Jihadist militants.
Over the coming months and years, much of Iraq was reduced to rubble.
As I reported when I returned from a visit to the region:
Here’s what the locals told me. After the U.S. invaded, dissolved their army, fitfully tried to keep order, then finally — under Obama — cut and ran, those towns were captured by ISIS. The men and boys were hunted, the girls kidnapped and raped. The survivors hid out in the hills. Then U.S. airstrikes flattened all the buildings. Then ISIS booby-trapped the rubble and burned whatever was left. And that’s what is left of much of Iraq.
The Biden Family Event Found Ways to Loot Corpses.
Even as that tragedy began to unfold, one of its high architects, 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden, had already found a way to enrich his family at the expense of the most vulnerable people of Iraq.
The Bidens denied it, but Irvin Richter, founder of HillStone’s parent company Hill International, was very forthcoming about the value he saw in taking James Biden onboard as Executive Vice President of Hillstone’s housing development in November 2010.
According to a person who was present, Richter told a group of investors that it really helped to have “the brother of the vice president as a partner.”
In 2012, Richter boasted to the Fox Business Network: “People who have important names tend to get in the door easier,” and even joked that if James Biden “had the name Obama he would get in the door easier.”
The same year, the New York Post’s Charles Gasparino reported on what he called a “good deal for [Hillstone International], a relative newcomer to building homes — and for James Biden, who as one partner will get a good share of that $1.5 billion.”
But by the beginning of 2014 the deal had already evaporated, and Richter, who could hardly contain his boasts about the deal just 14 months earlier, told the magazine Arabian Business that Hill had been “wrong” to enter into it.
Beyond that, Richter seemed to shrug off the whole thing, citing a lack of “experience” in the market. Today, Hill still has offices in Baghdad, and project management contracts–for sums in the low millions.
Again, I am no investigative journalist, but some enterprising reporter might do well to ask Joe Biden why the 2011 deal disappeared so quickly, almost as soon as his brother James had secured his “good share of that $1.5 billion.”
In fact, I’d love a moderator to ask him at a Democrat debate.
Not Just Another Scandal.
This isn’t just another of the many, ultimately unmemorable scandals of the 2020 presidential election season.
In the eyes of Iraqis gutted by the rudderless Obama-Biden foreign policy it isn’t, and it shouldn’t be to us.
At the very least, it’s a public diplomacy issue bound to repulse our neighbors.
I’ve heard Iraqis murmur about it myself. In one breath they’ll complain of modern American war profiteers like the Biden family, and then of the early-20th-Century Sykes-Picot agreement which carved up Middle Eastern homelands into maps that benefited thoughtless, haughty Westerners but gashed through the hearts of local cultures.
And the Biden family isn’t even acting in accordance with some such grand design. No, their motives seem to be nothing more than sheer, reflexive, animal self-interest. “Oh, there’s something to be had? Well then, let’s have it!”
It’s as if, after Biden’s son Hunter got himself thrown out of our armed forces for drug use, the Biden family would return to the battlefield as scavengers, to loot corpses.
Biden 2020? No Way.
A new poll finds that, if she entered the race, Hillary Clinton would immediately beat out Joe Biden as the new Democratic frontrunner.
I’m not surprised.
As his dealings in Iraq show, Joe Biden is a politician so avaricious and shameless that it makes you long for a Hillary Clinton. She’s a vicious ideologue, but one who at least has a vision, dystopian though it be, and isn’t driven merely by her stomach.