News Release

Biden’s Deceits on * Busing * Iraq War


JONATHAN KOZOL, jonathankozol at
Kozol is the National Book Award-winning author of Savage InequalitiesThe Shame of the Nation, and other books on race and education. Earlier this month, he wrote the piece “When Joe Biden Collaborated With Segregationists.”

In response to Joe Biden’s claim at the Thursday night debate, “I did not oppose busing”:

Kozol said today: “Biden should not be allowed to get away with this bald-faced lie. As I noted this week in The Nation, Biden flatly said, ‘I oppose busing’ in an interview with a Delaware paper in 1975. ‘I’ve gotten to the point where I think our only recourse to eliminate busing may be a constitutional amendment.’ In the U.S. Senate, he didn’t merely give support to Southern segregationists. He introduced legislation of his own to prohibit busing for school integration. All this is in the public record. And it’s a shameful record for a potential Democratic nominee.” Also see news release: “Kozol: Biden Opposed School Desegregation, Refuses to Disown, It Wasn’t About ‘Civility.'”

STEPHEN ZUNES zunes at, @SZunes
Zunes is a professor of politics and coordinator of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco.

Rachel Maddow asked Biden last night: “You made your decades of experience in foreign policy a pillar of your campaign, but when the time came to say yes or no on one of the most consequential foreign policy decisions of the last century, you voted for the Iraq war. You have since said you regret that vote. But why should voters trust your judgment when it comes to making a decision about taking the country to war the next time?”

In fact, what is often cited as Biden’s “regret” was a 2005 statement from him that mostly blames Bush: “It was a mistake to assume the president would use the authority we gave him properly.”

Zunes said today: “It was not just the matter that he was among the right-wing minority of Democrats to vote for the war authorization as Bush requested. Biden had actually called for ‘boots on the ground’ to remove Saddam Hussein as far back as 1998. As head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2002 prior to the war vote, he only allowed a day and a half of hearings and stacked the testimony heavily in favor of war supporters. He continued to defend Bush’s decision to go to war even after he acknowledged that his claims about Iraq having chemical weapons, biological weapons, a nuclear program, and sophisticated delivery systems were all untrue. Scores of prominent Middle East specialists from academia and the Foreign Service briefed him and his staff that an invasion of Iraq beforehand would be illegal, unnecessary, and a total disaster, yet he voted for it anyway. He very well could get us into another similar tragedy.” See news release: “Biden’s Deceitful Record on Iraq Invasion” from earlier this year and from 2008: “Anti-War Candidate, Pro-War Cabinet?

Further background, see:

And news release: “Biden’s Record: Segregationists, Wall Street, War.”