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A Tortoise File

Beau and Biden

The constant companions

First published
Monday 13 September 2021

Last updated
Monday 13 September 2021

Why this story?

As America pulled out of Afghanistan, President Joe Biden gave a speech. In it he mentioned, briefly, his son Beau, who died of an aggressive brain cancer in 2015, when he was 46. Why? In a defiant speech defending the chaotic withdrawal that ended in devastation in Kabul, it was more than a reference to Biden’s own grief and loss, powerful forces in his life since he entered public life in 1972. It hints at a belief the president has about the causes of his son’s death; a belief that colours his view of America’s foreign interventions, and gives depth to our understanding of a president whose political career has been bookended by tragedy. Basia Cummings, Editor