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World Socialist Website report - August 19, 2020

"... Overall, the four-day event has been a highly scripted act of political theater, full of trite clichés and empty rhetoric.

The most notable element of yesterday’s proceedings was the decision to feature remarks from former general Colin Powell and a video highlighting the “unlikely friendship” between Biden and former Republican presidential candidate and Senator John McCain.

A Biden/Harris administration, the Democrats emphasized, would be prepared to wage war.

In his remarks, Powell, who served as Secretary of State under the administration of George W. Bush, declared that Biden, as “commander-in-chief,” will “trust our intelligence agencies” and “stand up to our adversaries with strength and experience. They will know we mean business.”

Powell will forever be associated with the lies manufactured by the Bush administration to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq. On February 5, 2003, Powell appeared before the United Nations to claim that the Iraqi government was stockpiling “weapons of mass destruction”—a claim that was false and he knew was false. It was the climax of the Bush administration’s campaign to justify an unprovoked invasion of Iraq, a horrific war crime that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and destroyed one of the most advanced societies in the Middle East.

The war in Iraq is associated with some of the most horrific atrocities, including the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, the destruction of Fallujah and the massacre of civilians at Haditha in 2005. American society itself suffered terrible consequences, including the death of nearly 4,500 soldiers and the maiming of tens of thousands more.

Powell’s remarks were preceded by a speech from John Kerry, Secretary of State under Obama, who helped oversee the 2014 regime-change operation in Ukraine, spearheaded by fascistic groups, and the US-backed civil war in Syria. Kerry denounced Trump’s foreign policy, particularly focusing on what is seen within the military-intelligence agencies as the administration’s insufficiently aggressive attitude to Russia. “Our interests,” Kerry said, “can’t afford four more years of Donald Trump.”

Kerry referred to the strength of Biden’s “moral compass,” citing his support for war in Yugoslavia in the late 1990s, though avoiding reference to his vote to authorize the invasion of Iraq."

The Progressive reports:

"... An in-depth report in Defense One on June 30, based on interviews with dozens of Biden insiders, explained how his foreign policy views have reassured military-industrial interests that were worried by the impact of the growing progressive movement on the Democratic Party.

“Biden may not radically change the nation’s military,” Defense One concluded, “or even slash the bottom line of the Pentagon’s $700 billion budget.”

These conclusions are consistent with Biden’s record as a Senator and Vice President. Biden only once voted against a U.S.-led war, the first Gulf War in 1991. And that was largely a party line vote, in which 45 out of 55 Democratic Senators voted against the use of military force to overturn Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, at the behest of its royal family.

But Biden seems to have learned a perverse lesson from that war, since he later expressed regret for his vote and never voted against a war again. The next time Congress voted on a bill to authorize the use of military force, over Kosovo in 1999, Biden wrote the bill himself. His war bill failed in the House in a rare 213-213 tie, but the United States and NATO attacked Yugoslavia anyway, in a war that was illegal under both U.S. and international law.

As the bombing campaign escalated, killing thousands of civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure from Kosovo to Belgrade, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan warned that the United States and NATO’s decision to go to war without U.N. Security Council approval had set the world “on a dangerous path to anarchy.” Biden responded, “Nobody in the Senate agrees with that. There is nothing to debate. He is dead, flat, unequivocally wrong.”

Biden then played a key role in the propaganda blitz for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. As John Feffer and Stephen Zunes wrote later, “In his powerful position as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he orchestrated a propaganda show designed to sell the war to skeptical colleagues and the American public by ensuring that dissenting voices would not get a fair hearing.”

During his final twelve years in the Senate, Biden never once voted against a military spending bill. As Vice President, despite the illusion of Obama as a “peace President,” which even fooled the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, Biden was a senior member of an administration that set a post-World War II record for military spending and dropped more bombs and missiles on more countries than Bush and Cheney did."