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InTheseTimes - January 15, 2020

"This pattern of dishonesty is nothing new. Biden has come under criticism during the campaign for repeatedly telling a moving war story thatnever actually happened, at one point telling his audience it was “the God’s truth” and they had his “word as a Biden.” Last year, his campaign made headlines when several passages from Biden’s climate plan turned out to beplagiarized. The candidate has also revived an old lie for this election,telling crowdsthat he had “come out of the civil rights movement,” and that he had “got involved in the civil rights movement as a kid.”

What’s notable about this particular lie is that it was one of the things that had ended Biden’s election hopes back in 1987. Though that presidential campaign had largely gone down in flames over aseparate plagiarism scandal, it had also died a death by a thousand cuts over a series of other revelations calling into question Biden’s honesty."

One running theme of the bipartisan outrage at Donald Trump and his administration has been the constant stream of falsehoods emanating from the White House since he took office.

Ever since Kellyanne Conway defended the Trump administration’s use of “alternative facts” following the president’s inauguration, nary a week has gone by without a string of stories criticizing the president for his lies and mischaracterizations. The New York Times made a mosaic comprised of them, news outletskeep a running tally of them, and othersrankthem in end-of-year lists. The media, academics, institutions and other prominent individuals have charged that this “post-truth” politics is “dangerous,” rewiring our brains, leading to creeping fascism, and corroding, subverting, and otherwise threatening democracy.

And with former Vice President Joe Biden remaining a frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, it’s safe to say that Trump’s mendacity is a large part of the reason many Democratic voters are putting their faith in Biden to unseat the president this year. Yet as Tuesday night’s debate showed, playing unabashedly fast and loose with the facts is one of the very things Biden shares with Trump.

Tuesday’s debate saw yet another instance of Biden being confronted about his role in leading the country to war in Iraq, and choosing to lie about it.

“It was a mistake to trust that they weren’t going to go to war,” he said in relation to his October 2002 vote to authorize the war. “They said they were not going to war … The world, in fact, voted to send inspectors in and they still went to war. From that point on, I was in the position of making the case that it was a big, big mistake and from that point on, I moved to bring those troops home.”

As fact-checkershavepointed outrepeatedly, and as I detailedmultiple times for In These Times, almost every part of this statement is a lie. Biden knew George W. Bush’s ultimate goal was regime change because he himself spoke openly about the need to remove dictator Saddam Hussein from power as early as February 2002. By June of that year, when asked about a leaked White House directive for the CIA to help capture and kill Saddam, Biden gave it his nod of approval on CBS’s “Face the Nation” and said that “if the covert action doesn't work, we'd better be prepared to move forward with another action, an overt action,” which the Associated Press reported as an endorsement of an invasion. That month, Biden’s aides told Roll Call that the then-senator had told Bush he supported regime change in Iraq.

The next month, Biden said on “Fox News Sunday” that Bush would have the authority to pre-emptively invade Iraq if it was revealed that Saddam was in league in al-Qaeda—“justifiably given the case being made,” as he put it. And after voting to authorize the invasion, Biden embarked on a world tour to drum up support for the impending war, traveling to neighboring Jordan, Israel, Qatar and even to Kurdish-run northern Iraq, speaking to the Kurd parliament and assuring them the United States would stand with them.

Once the Iraq war began, far from “making the case that it was a big, big mistake,” Biden remained perhaps its most implacable cheerleader, even as the rest of the Democratic Party rapidly turned against it. Biden insisted in July 2003 that he would “vote to do it again,” referring to the invasion of Iraq, told the Brookings Institution that “Iraq was a problem that had to be dealt with sooner rather than later,” and flatly replied “No” when asked if Howard Dean’s steadfastly anti-war views should become the consensus of the Democratic Party. Instead of moving to bring the troops home, in August, Biden called for an infusion of 20,000-50,000 more U.S. soldiers into the country. ...
Read full report at InTheseTimes