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Washington Post: Biden's Go-To War Story Is Wrong

Former VP seems to have jumbled up 3 different events
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 29, 2019 2:02 PM CDT
Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019, at a town hall for his Democratic presidential campaign in Spartanburg, S.C.   (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)

(Newser) – Joe Biden has been under fire for gaffes on the campaign trail, but the Washington Post is out with a report about an inaccuracy of a whole different order. It seems that Biden likes to tell a story about how, as vice president, he shrugged off the risk of danger, traveled to Afghanistan, and pinned the Silver Star on a Navy captain who had rappelled down a ravine under enemy fire to retrieve the body of a fellow soldier. “He said, ‘Sir, I don’t want the damn thing!’” Biden told an audience in New Hampshire Friday night. "'Do not pin it on me, Sir! Please, Sir. Do not do that! He died. He died!'" Moving stuff, and the "God's truth," says Biden. But then comes this devastating critique from Matt Viser and Greg Jaffe of the Post: "Almost every detail in the story appears to be incorrect."

They interviewed more than a dozen troops, commanders, and Biden campaign officials, concluding that it "appears as though the former vice president has jumbled elements of at least three actual events into one story of bravery, compassion and regret that never happened." For example, Biden did visit Afghanistan—as a senator, not as VP, and he pinned no medals on anyone during the trip. The service member who performed the heroism described by Biden was a young Army specialist, not an older Navy vet, and Biden never pinned a medal on him. President Obama did, though it was the Medal of Honor. As VP, Biden did pin a medal on a service member who didn't think he deserved it, but it was a Bronze Star, and it went to an Army staff sergeant who tried unsuccessfully to rescue a comrade from a burning Humvee. (Read more Joe Biden stories.)

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