President Joe Biden claimed, during a set of Wednesday remarks, his late son Beau Biden “lost his life in Iraq.” Beau Biden, who did deploy to Iraq from 2008 to 2009, actually died at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, due to brain cancer.
While at an event announcing his decision to designate Camp Hale — a defunct U.S. Army training facility — a national monument, the president began speaking about Beau.
Biden led into his remarks about Beau while describing how Camp Hale was used to train the soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division.
“American soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division scaled that 1,800-foot cliff at night, caught the Germans by surprise, capted [sic] — captured key positions, and broke through the German defense line at a pivotal point in the war,” Biden said. “Just imagine — and I mean this sincerely, I say this as a father of a man who won the Bronze Star, the Conspicuous Service Medal, and lost his life in Iraq — imagine the courage, the daring, and the genuine sacrifice, genuine sacrifice they all made.”
While Beau died in the U.S. years after his deployment to Iraq, Biden has for years attributed his son’s fatal brain cancer to his exposure to toxic burn pits. Beau had worked near burn pits as a civilian training judges and prosecutors in Kosovo and then as a Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG) officer in the Delaware Army National Guard in 2008.
In a 2018 interview with PBS “Newshour,” Biden admitted he did not have “any direct scientific evidence” linking his son’s cancer to burn pit exposure, but said there is “a lot higher incidence of cancer [is] coming from Iraq now and Afghanistan” where burn pits were commonly used.
As president, Biden has promoted legislation expanding healthcare benefits for troops sickened by burn pits and other toxic exposures.