From: Laub, Karin
Sent: Thursday, March 10, 2016 5:13 PM
To: Goodman, Meghan K. EOP/OVP; Sanders, Valentine J. EOP/WHO (Associate)
Subject: pool report/biden/4
All, here is the first part of the vice president’s remarks to U.S. troops at the Joint Training Center, a compound near the city of Zarqa.
In the quote about Islamic State at the end, I initially couldn’t hear the “because.” I have added it, and high-lighted where I made the change. The second half of the transcript will follow shortly.
“Hey, guys, my name is Joe Biden, and I came to say thanks. And you know one of the things that all your families back home understand is that you’re deployed and we still have a whole helluva a lot of people deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq, and folks are still being shot at. And you are training a lot of people to be better soldiers, better Marines, better airmen.
And I just came first and foremost to say thank you. You know, what I think is underestimated, you know only 1 percent of you are doing all the fighting and all the training, in all of America, 1 percent. And 99 percent of the country owes you. And I know that unlike my generation in Vietnam, there is respect for you all. But one of the things I regret is, having been in and out of Iraq 26 times, in xxx (inaudible) valley, in a FOB, with six kids getting the shit, excuse me, the stuff kicked out of them every day, sitting by themselves on a mountainside, to Helmand, from there to Afghanistan and Helmand Valley and Iraq. I wished they could see what you do. I wished they could see how consequential you are. I wished everybody understood just the job that you do.”
“You are the finest _ and this is not hyperbole _ you are the finest group of warriors the world has ever known. That is a fact. That is not hyperbole. That is a fact. You are the best-trained, you are the most competent fighting force in the history of the world. And one of the things is going on right here. Your colleagues, the Jordanians, are first-rate. But the thing is, who is going around the world, training everybody? You are deployed all over the world.
I was talking with another world leader in the Middle East just a little while ago, it was three days ago. He was talking about how we had to do more. I said we are doing a helluva lot. I said in addition to that, we got to do everything to make sure the South China Sea stays open, to making sure that the situation in Colombia with the FARC is in place.
You are just the most incredible group of warriors ever assembled. And you know they talk about my father’s generation as the greatest generation in history, the World War II generation. The truth of the matter is they were incredible, but no more incredible than you. You know since 9-11, over 4,700,000 of you have raised your right hand and you joined, knowing with almost certainty that you are going to be deployed in harm’s way. Over 2,800,000 of you deployed to that moonscape of Afghanistan or the burning sands out there in Iraq. I’ve watched you. It’s incredible, incredible what you do.
You know, every single day I have my staff contact the Pentagon at 5:30 in the morning. I got a card. This is my schedule. On the back the card, every single day, I have this little box. The little box has on it daily U.S. troop update. U.S. number of troops died in Iraq and Afghanistan _ 6,740. Not over 6,000, not 6,725 _ 6,740. Number of wounded, 52,365. I want to know the exact number every single day, because every one of those fallen angels, every one of those wounded represents an entire community back home. No generalizations. And every one of you represents not just your family, but an entire community back home.
And how many of you have been deployed more than once? Raise your hands. More than twice? More than three times? Four times? No other generation has ever done that. Deployments in World War II were longer. But how hard is it to go home and come back out, leave your families again. Go home, come back. Go home, come back. And a lot of you, if your families don’t live on bases, a lot of you live in communities. And you have kids, husbands and wives. And everybody else thinks everything is normal, man, everything is absolutely normal, what’s going on. But your kid sits there and looks at that empty chair on her birthday, or on her first communion or when they just won the basketball championship. And people, they care about you, they just, they don’t know.
There is an expression from John Milton talking about military families. He said they also serve who only stand and wait. (inaudible). And your families know what you have seen, and they worry. When my son, the attorney general of Delaware, Maj. Biden, was deployed in Iraq, I would watch his mother every morning, for the year he was there. She is a professor, she teaches community college, she gets up earlier than me, and she’d be leaving the house first. I’d walk into the submarine kitchen that’s on the second floor of the VP residence. She’d be having her coffee, looking out the window and mouthing a prayer, mouthing a prayer, everything is going to be ok. Because you cross their minds one, three, five, ten times a day. Ten times a day. So I want to say, pass it on to your families how much, how much we appreciate, appreciate what they do, what they do.”
You know, most of you are like my son Beau. He accomplished a lot, but .. the single proudest thing he ever, ever, ever had and cared about, until he took his last breath, was being a soldier. The proudest thing he ever did was don that uniform.
And so you know, guys and ladies out there, we really, really, really appreciate what you are doing, generally appreciate it, because as I said, only 1 percent of you, of the entire population, are doing it. You are all volunteers, you are all doing such an incredible job.
We are going to defeat ISIL. They are already on their heels. It’s going to take a long time, going to take a long time. They are no existential threat to the United States because we’ve got you and the people you are training (and) the finest military tactics in the world.”
From: Laub, Karin
Sent: Thursday, March 10, 2016 3:54 PM
To: Goodman, Meghan K. EOP/OVP (email@example.com) (firstname.lastname@example.org); Sanders, Valentine (Associate) (email@example.com) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: FW: pool report/biden/3
Corrects spelling of king’s name
Vice President Biden and Jordan’s King Abdullah II visited the Joint Training Center near the Jordanian city of Zarqa, U.S. troops have been training Jordanian forces at the center for several years. The vice president and the king watched a fly-over of two F-16 fighter plans and eight helicopters, including Blackhawks and Cobtras.
The vice president and the king flew to the training center from the Husseiniya Palace in Amman in an Osprey helicopter.
After viewing the fly-over, the vice president spoke to U.S. troops in a mess hall in the Joint Training Center. Biden said he appreciates their service.
“We are going to defeat ISIL. They are already on their heels. It’s going to take a long time. Going to take a long time. They are no existential threat to the United States. We’ve got you and the people you are training, the finest military tactics in the world.”
Full transcript of Biden remarks to follow.