News Release

Biden and Kerry’s “Experience”: “Right-Wing Minority” of Democrats Who Backed Bush on Iraq War

John Kerry is now actively campaigning for Joe Biden, touting his experience and ability to get things done. The two were the most notable Democratic backers of the Iraq invasion resolution in 2002, with Biden chairing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during the buildup to war.

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. In August, he wrote the piece “Biden Is Doubling Down on Iraq War Lies.”

Zunes said today: “Kerry [video] and Biden [video] were among the right-wing minority of Congressional Democrats who sided with Bush and Cheney over the Iraq War, rejecting pleas from Middle East scholars, State Department veterans, peace and human rights advocates and others who warned them that invading that oil-rich county was illegal, unnecessary, and would be utterly disastrous. Both men falsely claimed that Iraq had reconstituted illegal weapons, weapons programs, and weapons systems despite former UN inspectors and arms control experts informing them otherwise. And, despite claims to the contrary, both men strongly supported Bush’s decision to invade the country even after UN inspectors returned and no proscribed material was found. Kerry appears determined, as he did in endorsing Hillary Clinton against Bernie Sanders four years ago, to prevent the Democratic Party from having an anti-war nominee. Indeed, Biden is the only one of the twenty-odd candidates who actively supported the invasion. Kerry’s pro-war stance so alienated his anti-war Democratic base that it cost him a close election he otherwise would have won. Nominating Biden would likely have the same result.”

See recent piece by Norman Solomon, executive director of IPA: “Kerry’s Endorsement of Biden Fits: Two Deceptive Supporters of the Iraq War.”

Zunes wrote a piece on Kerry in 2013, noting: “To justify his claims of an Iraqi nuclear threat, Senator Kerry claimed that ‘all U.S. intelligence experts agree that Iraq is seeking nuclear weapons.’ The reality, of course, was that much of the U.S. intelligence community was highly skeptical of claims that Iraq was attempting to acquire nuclear materials, and this fact was widely circulated in academic journals, the mainstream media, and in intelligence reports.”

In an accuracy.org news release from 2013 titled “Kerry Covers up Iraq War Falsifications,” Sam Husseini of IPA noted: “When I questioned Kerry in 2011 about voting to authorize the Iraq war, he said: ‘I didn’t vote for the Iraq war. I voted to give the president authority that he misused and abused. And from the moment he used it, I opposed that.’ [see video at 2:30] However, a look at the record shows that after the Iraq invasion, Kerry did the opposite, outflanking Bush’s war stance in 2003: ‘I fear that in the run-up to the 2004 election the administration is considering what is tantamount to a cut-and-run strategy.’”

Zunes notes that just after Bush launched the Iraq invasion, “Senator Kerry praised him, co-sponsoring a Senate resolution declaring that the invasion was ‘lawful and fully authorized by the Congress’ and that he ‘commends and supports the efforts and leadership of the President.'” See from CNN in 2004: “Kerry stands by ‘yes’ vote on Iraq war.”