Biden praises Afghan war critic for ‘speaking out’

Vice President Joe Biden praised Afghanistan war critic Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) Thursday for speaking his mind.

“I encourage you, old buddy, to speak out,” Biden said at a fundraiser for Schrader in Portland, Ore.

The freshman Democrat has emerged as a fierce critic of the war in Afghanistan.

“It’s a waste of resources, a waste of America’s best and brightest,” he recently told The Oregonian newspaper. “I’m for fighting a war on terrorism, not a war in Southwest Asia that Alexander the Great couldn’t win, the British Empire couldn’t win, the Soviet Union couldn’t win. That’s stupid. We need to be bringing these men home.”

Biden praised Schrader for being “independent.”

“You’re independent. Don’t let anybody take that out of you,” he said, according to the pool report.

Schrader last week voted against a key motion in the House version of legislation that provides funding for the war in Afghanistan. The motion ultimately passed, but by a close vote. Another “no” vote by Schrader and other anti-war Democrats could complicate the bill’s passage.

Biden said providing funding for American troops is a “sacred obligation.”

“This nation has one truly sacred obligation, that we provide for those we send into war, and we provide for those who come home,” Biden said. 

He noted that Portland recently broke ground on a new women veteran’s center. “That is, as I’m wont to say, a big deal,” Biden said, chuckling. “Thank God my mother wasn’t alive,” he joked.

The Biden event raised some $165,000 for Schrader’s campaign. The lawmaker is being challenged by state Rep. Scott Bruun (R).