News Release

Biden and Bloomberg Iraq War Lies — And Future Wars

STEPHEN ZUNES, zunes at usfca.edu, @SZunes

Zunes is a professor of politics and coordinator of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco. He is among several prominent analysts featured in a recently-released mini-documentary narrated by Danny Glover, “WORTH THE PRICE? Joe Biden and the Launch of the Iraq War,” and produced by Mark Weisbrot.

Biden has continued making misleading claims at many of the debates so far with minimal scrutiny. On ABC last month, Biden claimed “I trusted George Bush to keep his word. He said he was not going to go into Iraq. He said he was only using this to unite the United Nations to insist we get inspectors in to see what Saddam was doing.”

Zunes debunked this false narrative, which Biden has repeated over and over, in a piece last year, “Biden Is Doubling Down on Iraq War Lies.” Well after the invasion, Biden continued supporting Bush: “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 at the Brookings Institution on July 31, 2003. “It was a right vote then, and it’ll be a correct vote today.”

Zunes wrote: “Biden had been calling for a U.S. invasion of Iraq since 1998, pushed the war authorization through the Democratic-controlled Senate, and abused his role as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to suppress testimony by scholars, former U.N. inspectors, and other knowledgeable authorities opposed to the war. However, it is his support for the invasion long after it became evident that Iraq was not actually a threat to its neighbors — much less the United States — which raises the question as to whether his motivation was not in fact about national security as he claimed, but about oil and empire.

“Indeed, after the U.S. conquest, he began pushing the dangerous and destabilizing divide-and-rule strategy of splitting Iraq into three countries along ethnic and sectarian lines.”

Zunes said today: “Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, the former Republican mayor of New York, was a staunch supporter of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. As recently as last month, Bloomberg stated that he has no regrets over supporting the illegal conquest. Though he acknowledges that it was a ‘mistake,’ he insists that Bush, Cheney and others who pushed the country to war based on false claims that Iraq possessed dangerous weapons, weapons programs, and weapons systems ‘did it honestly.’ In the aftermath of the invasion when no such weapons were found, Bloomberg then tried to justify it by making the bizarre claim that the secular Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9/11 attacks by the Islamist Al-Qaeda network. As the war dragged on four years after the invasion and Congressional Democrats proposed legislation to set up timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. forces, he blasted the proposed legislation as irresponsible and ‘untenable.’ Like Biden, Bloomberg is a dangerous militarist who as president could very well get the United States involved in other illegal, unnecessary, and disastrous wars.”

For more: Sam Husseini, senior analyst with accuracy.org on the podcast “Intercepted”: “Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, and the Rewriting of Iraq War History” with journalist Jeremy Scahill. Also see Husseini’s piece from January on Salon: “Joe Biden won’t tell the truth about his Iraq war record — and he hasn’t for years” and relevant past accuracy.org news releases.