While Biden and his surrogates like John Kerry continue to falsely claim that he was not for the Iraq invasion, the Sanders camp has rightly highlighted more documentation, including video, of his support for the Iraq invasion after it happened, like his statement about Bush at the Brookings Institution in July 2003: ‘The president of the United States is a bold leader and he is popular.”
But it’s the tip of the iceberg. That address to Brookings (video) itself contains brazen pro-war falsehoods, with Biden 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.’
It’s a pack of lies. The Iraqi government released a massive amount of information in 2002, it agreed to allow the 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regime, UNSCOM, was ended in 1998 not because Saddam Hussein kicked them out, but because Bill Clinton ordered them withdrawn on the eve of his scheduled impeachment vote to make way for the Desert Fox bombing campaign.
It’s remarkably fitting that the Biden camp has put out 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 Party nominee and lost to George W. Bush.
When I questioned Kerry in 2011 about his vote for the Iraq invasion, he claimed that ‘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 position even more militaristic that 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 Biden was chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has been criticized by leading analysts and weapons inspectors for the hearings he presided over that led to war. Tulsi Gabbard, viewed by many as an antiwar candidate, has outright let Biden off the hook. At a debate last year, Gabbard said of Biden: ‘He was wrong — he said he was wrong.’ Thus, Biden may be positioned to become the Democratic nominee — and face Trump in the general election — with minimal scrutiny for his major role in the worst policy decision of our lifetimes. He’s also in a worse position to take on Trump’s phony ‘America First’ isolationism than Hillary Clinton was in 2016.