In a new Op-Ed, Sam Husseini accuses Biden of lying about his Iraq war record, writing “Biden keeps saying he opposed the 2003 Iraq invasion. That’s a lie. In fact, he was a huge enabler and cheerleader.”
It may fit with official agendas to focus on the dispute between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren at this week’s Democratic primary debate. At least partly, that’s because it lets former Vice President Joe Biden off the hook on Iraq, just as there is finally some attention to foreign policy.
People hear the word “mistake” and want it to end there, but Biden’s actual position on the Iraq invasion is indefensible. Biden and his surrogates, such as former Secretary of State John Kerry, continue to claim that he did not favor the 2003 invasion of Iraq. This is false.
Sen. Bernie Sanders’ camp has just highlighted a video of Biden speaking at the Brookings Institution in July 2003, after the invasion, in which he expresses support for “finishing this job” in Iraq and says: “The president of the United States is a bold leader and he is popular.”
BREAKING: Video emerges of @JoeBiden criticizing antiwar Dems, praising Bush for leading America into the Iraq War & promising he will support Bush's continuation of the war
"The president of the United States is a bold leader & he is popular…I & many others will support him" pic.twitter.com/Sx2zsdbSJV
— David Sirota (@davidsirota) January 12, 2020
As far as showing Biden’s support for the war, that video is the tip of the iceberg.
In that address to Brookings (video) Biden makes brazen pro-war falsehoods, claiming that Saddam Hussein “violated every commitment that he made. He played cat and mouse with the weapons inspectors. He failed to account for the huge gaps in weapons declarations that were documented by UN weapons inspectors and submitted by them to the UN Security Council in 1998, and every nation in that Council believed he possessed those weapons at that time. He refused to abide by any conditions.”
Pack of lies
That’s a pack of lies. The Iraqi government released a massive amount of information in 2002. It agreed to allow UN weapons inspectors in well before the congressional vote that authorized war — a vote that Biden has claimed was justifiable to give Bush a stronger hand in getting inspectors into Iraq.
Additionally, the prior weapons inspection regime, UNSCOM, was ended in 1998 not because Saddam Hussein kicked them out, but because then President Bill Clinton ordered them withdrawn on the eve of his scheduled impeachment vote to make way for the Desert Fox bombing campaign.
It’s fitting that the Biden camp has put Kerry on this issue since Kerry’s falsifications regarding Iraq are remarkably similar to Biden’s. Kerry might be the Democratic senator whose record helped the Iraq war as much as Biden’s. This notably led to his contortions in the 2004 election when he was the Democratic nominee and lost to George W. Bush.
When I questioned Kerry in 2011 about his vote for the Iraq invasion, he said, “I didn’t vote for the Iraq war. I voted to give the president authority that he misused and abused. And from the moment he used it, I opposed that.”
Another lie. Kerry actually attacked the notion of a withdrawal from Iraq at that point, even saying in December of 2003: “I fear that in the run-up to the 2004 election the administration is considering what is tantamount to a cut-and-run strategy,” effectively taking a position even more militaristic than that of Bush. Also see from August 2004 from CNN: “Kerry stands by ‘yes’ vote on Iraq war.”
It’s remarkable how little scrutiny Biden has gotten for his role in the Iraq invasion. Sanders has mostly criticized Biden’s vote, but beyond that, Biden was chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He has been criticized by leading analysts and weapons inspectors for the hearings he presided over that led to war.