… last night's foreign policy. Mr. Biden said this:
Q: In March of last year, President Obama explained the military action taken in Libya by saying it was in the national interest to go in and prevent further massacres from occurring there. So why doesn't the same logic apply in Syria? Vice President Biden?
Different country. It's a different country. It is five times as large geographically, it has one-fifth the population, thatThis is the sort of thing not often served up in these debates, a statement of nonsubjective checkable facts. So we checked.
is Libya, one-fifth the population, five times as large geographically.
The land area of Syria is 185,180 sqk, with a population of 22,530,746. The land area of Libya is 1,759,540 sqk (9.5x Syria, Mr. Biden off by a factor of 2), with a population of 5,613,380 (25% of Syria, Mr. Biden off by a factor of 4). Oh, you say, the man just got his facts wrong. Yes, yes he did, but he used the inverted numbers to argue administration policy. If he really understood what he was saying -- if an actual Syrian policy were based on a Libyan geography and population density model -- he would have realized that his numbers were wrong, that his argument was turned on its head. That makes it both a conceptual and a comprehension error, not simply an error of fact. How many post-debate analysts caught this? [Maddening suspense.] Not a one that we know of. Yet everyone was very impressed with Mr. Biden on substance.