Common Dreams - September 2019
Count his role in supporting the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq as another part of Joe Biden's long political career that the former vice president—who voted for the war as a senator—doesn't quite remember correctly.
In an interview with NPR published Tuesday morning, Biden told reporter Asma Khalid that he opposed the war from the very moment it began in March of 2003 despite voting for its authorization just months earlier.
Biden said that he believed then-President George W. Bush's claim that Bush needed the threat of war to pressure Iraq to give up its weapons program and therefore voted for the authorization to use military force. But once Bush unleashed the "shock and awe" bombing campaign on the country, the former senator said he had a drastic change of heart.
"Immediately, that moment it started, I came out against the war at that moment," said Biden.
As Khalid pointed out in her report from the interview, that's not backed up by the historical record:
In multiple public remarks made after the invasion began in 2003, Biden openly supported the effort. Biden publicly said his vote was a mistake as early as 2005, but not immediately when the war began in 2003.
"Nine months ago, I voted with my colleagues to give the president of the United States of America the authority to use force, and I would vote that way again today," Biden said in a speech at the Brookings Institution on July 31, 2003. "It was a right vote then, and it'll be a correct vote today."
In a statement, Bush spokesperson Freddy Ford told NPR that Biden was misremembering the events in question.
"I'm sure it's just an innocent mistake of memory," said Ford, "but this recollection is flat wrong."
Biden's continued support for military action—even if he was publicly "against" the war—is no better, Stephen Zunes wrote in April:
Biden supported the subsequent bloody counter-insurgency war for the rest of his Senate career, speaking out against bringing the troops home or even setting a timetable for withdrawal. He even became a major advocate of splitting Iraq along ethnic and sectarian lines, seen by most people familiar with the region as very dangerous and irresponsible.
The question asked by NPR was simple, wroteSplinter's Paul Blest on Tuesday, "but because this is Joe Biden giving an interview in the year 2019, he was physically unable to get through the whole thing without saying something that was obviously bullshit." ...
Read full report at Common Dreams