OSKALOOSA, Iowa – On Monday evening, Former Vice President Joe Biden introduced his plan to keep America’s sacred obligation to veterans and their families at a Veterans Day town hall event.
Biden spoke to a group of approximately 150 people on the campus of William Penn University. He arrived on campus 40 minutes late because of flight delays due to winter weather Iowa experienced earlier.
Biden was introduced by Jim Mowrer, a veteran and two-time Congressional candidate, who was friends with Biden’s late son Beau.
Biden shared he had aspirations for higher office for his son.
“The person who I anticipated running for president this year was Beau Biden, not Joe Biden,” he admitted.
Beau Biden, served in the Delaware Army National Guard as an attorney in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps and was deployed to Iraq in 2008. His deployment came shortly after his election to become Delaware’s 44th Attorney General. He passed away in 2015 after a battle with glioblastoma which Vice President Biden later attributed in his remarks to exposure to toxins from burn pits in Iraq.
“I’ve always said during the last 35 years, we have only one truly sacred obligation, and it is sacred, for those who we send into harms way to give them all that they need to be protected whether it is an up-armored Humvee or whether or not it is the support they have where we are sending them. When they come home to care for them if they have been wounded, if they are lost, care for their families, and give them an opportunity,” he said.
He noted that the first aspect to his plan was to protect the VA and restore it as the “premier agency” for “ensuring veterans’ overall well-being and supporting all military families.”
Biden said he wanted to ensure vets are seen in a timely manner. He also stated that he wanted to expand the list of presumptive conditions to ensure that veteran who experienced a traumatic brain injury or who had exposure to burn pits or other environmental toxins will not go without access to VA health care and benefits.
He also stated that he wanted to ensure that disabled veterans who are amputees receive the most modern prosthetics technology available and that they are able to upgrade their equipment at no cost as new developments occur.
Biden also said he wanted to promote veterans’ mental health and overall well-being.
He said that within his first year in office, if elected, he wants to eliminate wait times for veterans who reach out with suicidal ideation.
During the question and answer period, Biden said he would address increasing VA staffing in part by eliminating the “awful tax cuts” that Republicans passed Biden says just benefits the super wealthy and those who “don’t need” a tax break.
Biden promised not to send troops overseas when there was not a national interest.
“One thing I will not do as President of the United States is to send them into war unless there is an overwhelming reason why the national interest of the United States is at stake and there is the support they need to accomplish the mission,” he said.
“We don’t need large standing armies in the Middle East,” he added. He reminded the audience that he was given responsiblity to oversee United States’ draw down of forces mobilized in Iraq.
“There are certain places where you have to make really difficult judgments about where do you deploy force. Most of what we use it for is to prevent wars, to dissuade people from doing to war. But what we need today is not to have your son be a part of a large invasion force going into any place in the Middle East or Syria or wherever,” Biden said.
He said instead the focus is on special operations units.
“We can’t be and I don’t want to be the policeman of the world,” Biden added.
Biden who is known to be gaffe-prone, also identified the location he was speaking as “Ottumwa” not “Oskaloosa.” Ottumwa is a community south east of Oskaloosa on Hwy. 163.
Watch the Biden’s full remarks:
Watch the question and answer time: