Iran’s pro-regime Tasnim news agency reported Friday that U.S. President Joe Biden’s mental health is “under question again” after a “gaffe” during a speech in North Carolina in which Biden claimed the coronavirus has killed more people than all the wars of the 20th Century combined, including an American war in Iran that did not actually occur.
The Tasnim article largely plagiarized a piece in the New York Post on Thursday, copying much of it word-for-word without attribution, including the punctuation. Tasnim’s writers threw in a few more scare quotes to make Biden seem even more eccentric, especially when he referred to the non-existent American invasion of Iran.
“We lost 600,000 dead in America in about a year. That’s more than every life lost in World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, Iraq, Iran, across the board. Afghanistan. More lives lost in a year than every major war in the 20th Century and the 21st Century,” Biden said in North Carolina on Thursday.
Biden was more or less correct about the number of American deaths attributed to the Wuhan coronavirus, which stood at 618,702 on Friday. Hideous as this total might be, it is far less than “every life lost in World War I” alone, let alone “every major war in the 20th Century and 21st Century.” At least 16 million people died in the First World War, including about 8.5 million soldiers from all combatants. The Second World War was considerably deadlier than the first.
Assuming Biden meant “every American life lost” in those wars makes for a much closer comparison, provided one leaves out the Korean War, which Biden forgot to mention. It is still a strange factoid to toss around as a talking point, even before Biden slipped up and added Iran to the list of major American military conflicts.
The New York Post quoted a few anonymous Twitter users mocking the president’s remarks – “Did Joe Biden just declare war on Iran?” – which Tasnim dutifully reproduced in its article to support the headline about the president’s “mental cognition” being questioned. The Post suggested Biden might have been thinking of the eight American soldiers killed in President Jimmy Carter’s disastrous 1980 attempt to rescue U.S. hostages from Iran, but Tasnim decided not to repeat that part.
Tasnim also needled Biden for confusing the Tuskegee Airmen with the Tuskegee syphilis study, during the same bizarre passage of his speech where he speculated Latinos (who he insists on referring to as “Latinx,” a term invented and used by left-wing transsexual activists but generally despised by actual Latinos) are resistant to getting inoculated against the coronavirus because “they’re worried they’ll be vaccinated and deported.”
“The reason why it’s been harder to get African Americans, initially, to get vaccinated is because they are used to being experimented on — the Tuskegee Airmen and others,” Biden said.
The Tuskegee Airmen, also known as the “Red Tails,” were a group of pioneering black military pilots who fought in World War II, earning over 150 medals for their courageous service.
The program that began bringing black candidates to the Tuskegee Army Air Field for aviator training in 1940 was occasionally referred to as the “Tuskegee Experiment,” but that term is much more commonly used today for the syphilis program Biden was thinking of.
Officially known as the Tuskegee Syphilis Study today, and titled “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male” at its inception, the study began in 1932 and involved leaving hundreds of black men untreated for the potentially crippling or lethal disease. Some of the subjects unwittingly passed syphilis along to their children. Many died, went blind, or were driven insane.
The study was exposed in 1972 and shut down amid public outrage, and is today viewed as a loathsome example of human experimentation. High levels of coronavirus vaccine hesitancy in black Americans have been attributed to the cultural legacy of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, prompting elected officials, medical personnel, and descendants of syphilis study victims in Tuskegee to make special efforts to convince African Americans nationwide that the coronavirus vaccines are safe.