Biden convenes hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the eve of the Iraq War.
Jeremy Kuzmarov – Covert Action Magazine Jan 19, 2021
Part II of our series on Joe Biden and the political skeletons in his closet
Joe Biden presents himself as an empathetic guy who is willing to go the extra mile to help people overcome their personal tragedies.
However, Biden has throughout his career endorsed policies that caused countless personal tragedies for millions of people.
The best example is his support for the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.
It led to the deaths and wounding of thousands of U.S. soldiers, killing of an estimated one million Iraqis, and destabilization of a wide swath of the Middle East.
In 2002, Biden was riding high, as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in his 30th year in the Senate.
Having supported Ronald Reagan’s invasion of Grenada in 1983 and bombing of Libya in 1986, Biden went on to embrace George H.W. Bush’s invasion of Panama in 1991, and Bill Clinton’s bombing of Kosovo in 1999.
When Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein (1979-2003) invaded Kuwait in 1991, Biden did vote against invading Iraq, believing that Bush had not made the case for war and that Hussein could be contained through an international embargo.
However, once Bush went to war, Biden declared that he was giving Bush his total support, and praised Bush for displaying real “leadership,” never mentioning the 110,000 civilians who died.
Following the 9/11 attacks, Biden supported the invasion of Afghanistan and tried to raise funds for a Marshall Plan-type program to fund the country’s reconstruction.
Biden was so well connected to President George W. Bush in this period that he had a secure phone line to the White House set up in his home and met with Bush privately to plot out a public relations message for the Afghan War.
The New Republic termed Biden “the Democratic Party’s de facto spokesman on the war against terrorism.”In a CSPAN talk before the Council on Foreign Relations in October 2001, Biden framed the War on Terror as an apocalyptic struggle between civilization and a trans-national terrorist entity who would bring violent disorder and chaos to the world.
Biden called for a strong U.S. commitment to the Middle East to defeat al-Qaeda and help empower “moderate Muslims,” while pushing for better efforts at public diplomacy.
When asked about Iraq, Biden said he was not in favor of immediate invasion, but rather for imposing a “smarter sanctions” policy and generating consensus for a multilateral coalition that would support the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
Several months later, Biden told a crowd of 400 Delaware National Guard officers that, “if Saddam Hussein is still there five years from now, we are in big trouble … It would be unrealistic, if not downright foolish, to believe we can claim victory in the war on terrorism if Saddam is still in power.”
“Take This Son of a Bitch Down”
Biden’s support for regime change in Iraq went back to the late 1990s.
After the first Persian Gulf War, Saddam had agreed to destroy Iraq’s chemical weapons stockpile and to allow weapons inspectors into the country.
Senator Biden supported President Clinton’s decision to remove the weapons inspectors in 1998 in order to launch a four-day bombing campaign, despite being warned that it would likely end Saddam’s cooperation. Subsequently, Biden insisted that “Saddam kicked the [inspectors] out.”Scott Ritter, the chief UN weapons inspector, resigned in protest and accused the international community of not giving him and his colleagues the support they needed to carry out their job in Iraq.
Ritter was called to testify before the Senate in September 1998 where Biden, who was then the highest-ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, grilled him.
Biden told Ritter—whom he referred to condescendingly as “old Scotty Boy”—that no matter how thorough the inspections, the only way to eliminate the threat was to remove Saddam Hussein.
“The primary policy is to keep sanctions in place to deny Saddam the billions of dollars that would allow him to really crank up his program, which neither you nor I believe he’s ever going to abandon as long as he’s in place,” Biden said, characterizing the then Clinton administration’s policy.
You and I believe, and many of us believe here, as long as Saddam is at the helm, there is no reasonable prospect you or any other inspector is ever going to be able to guarantee that we have rooted out, root and branch, the entirety of Saddam’s program relative to weapons of mass destruction. You and I both know, and all of us here really know, and it’s a thing we have to face, that the only way, the only way we’re going to get rid of Saddam Hussein is we’re going to end up having to start it alone—start it alone—and it’s going to require guys like you in uniform to be back on foot in the desert taking this son of a bitch down. You know it and I know it.