Chase Madar in the London Review of Books blog:
When asked by Jim Lehrer, the host of Newshour on PBS, if Hosni Mubarak was a dictator, the US vice president, Joseph Biden, said: ‘Mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things and he’s been very responsible on, relative to geopolitical interests in the region, Middle East peace efforts, the actions Egypt has taken relative to normalising the relationship with Israel… I would not refer to him as a dictator.’
Here are some excerpts from the rest of Lehrer’s interview with Biden, containing more of the VP’s candid assessments.
On Darth Vader: Look, I know Darth fairly well, and Jim, I just want to mention that Darth has overcome asthma, some serious, serious asthma, and it’s just a really inspiring story, he’s written a children’s book about it, I gave a signed copy to my granddaughter for Christmas. Anyway our position is that before Darth blows up the planet Alderaan with his so-called Death Star, which is really just a large weather satellite with a few dual-use components, Darth should, you know, take some of that planet’s concerns into account. He should take their concerns seriously, and it should be a peaceful process. They have a right to protest against their planet getting blown up. But Jim, it’s a two-way street, and Alderaan shouldn’t be vandalising the Death Star’s weapon systems, which, of course, not that they exist. There’s been a concern that some of the more radical elements, you know, the Wookie Street, might try to do this. So no, we don’t think Darth Vader should resign. But if he does – if he does – we can find the recent appointment of Darth Maul as his acolyte Dark Lord of the Sith to be really, really encouraging from a human rights perspective. Just remember, the Empire is a fragile beacon of democracy in a turbulent universe.