WASHINGTON — As Iraq edges toward chaos, Joe Biden is having a quiet I-told-you-so moment.
In 2006, Biden was a senator from Delaware gearing up for a presidential campaign when he proposed that Iraq be divided into three semi-independent regions, for Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds. Follow his plan, he said, and U.S. troops could be out by early 2008. Ignore it, he warned, and Iraq would devolve into sectarian conflict that could destabilize the whole region.
The Bush administration chose to ignore Biden. Now, eight years later, the vice president's doom-and-gloom prediction seems more than a little prescient.
Old sectarian tensions have erupted with a vengeance as Sunni militants seize entire cities and the United States faults the Shiite prime minister for shunning Iraq's minorities. While the White House isn't actively considering Biden's old plan, Mideast experts are openly questioning whether Iraq is marching toward an inevitable breakup along sectarian lines.
"Isn't this the divided Iraq that Joe Biden predicted eight years ago?" read an editorial in the Dallas Morning News last week.
The public musings about Biden's being ahead of the curve haven't gone unnoticed by his supporters — even if Biden is staying quiet about his 2006 plan. Biden's office declined to comment.
"He's been right," said former Sen. Ted Kaufman, the longtime Biden aide and confidant who replaced him in the Senate. "But you'll be hard pressed to find an 'I did this' or 'I did that.' He's not an 'I told you so' kind of guy."
Other Biden predictions on Iraq have proved less prophetic. In 2010, as the United States was pulling its troops out, Biden professed optimism that Iraq was moving toward a stable, representative government. "This could be one of the great achievements of this administration," he said.