WASHINGTON — Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said Thursday that he believed top officials in the Bush administration had privately concluded they had lost Iraq and were simply trying to postpone disaster so the next president would "be the guy landing helicopters inside the Green Zone, taking people off the roof," in a chaotic withdrawal reminiscent of Vietnam.
"I have reached the tentative conclusion that a significant portion of this administration, maybe even including the vice president, believes Iraq is lost," Biden said. "They have no answer to deal with how badly they have screwed it up. I am not being facetious now. Therefore, the best thing to do is keep it from totally collapsing on your watch and hand it off to the next guy -- literally not figuratively."
Biden made the comments in an interview as he outlined an ambitious agenda for the committee, including holding four weeks of hearings focused on every aspect of U.S. policy in Iraq.
Biden expressed opposition to President Bush's plan for a "surge" of troops, and said he had grave doubts that the current Iraqi government had the will or capacity to help implement a new approach.