Former Vice President Joe Biden inaccurately claimed during the Democrat Debate in Iowa on Tuesday that he opposed the Iraq War from the beginning.
Biden was asked by the debate’s moderators to expand on his foreign policy judgments, especially in light of his support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The former vice president, although admitting he regretted his vote for the Iraq War, claimed he only supported the conflict as a tool to convince Saddam Hussein to allow United Nations weapons inspectors into his country.
“It was a mistake to trust they weren’t going to go war,” Biden said. “They said they were not going to go 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 it was a big, big mistake. And from that point on, I moved to bring those troops home.”
The former vice president, though, did not oppose the war as soon as it began. In fact, Biden supported the effort until 2005 when he came out against then-President George W. Bush’s handling of the conflict — not the reasoning for the war itself.
“It was a mistake to assume the president would use the authority we gave him properly,” the former vice president said during an appearance on Meet the Press in November 2005. “We gave the president the authority to unite the world to isolate Saddam. And the fact of the matter is, we went too soon. We went without sufficient force. And we went without a plan.”
Further evidence also disputes Biden’s claim that he believed the authorization vote could be used as leverage against Hussein. During a 1998 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Biden argued that U.N. weapons inspectors would never succeed in Iraq while Hussein remained in power.
“Many of us believe here, as long as Saddam is at the helm, there is no reasonable prospect … [any weapons] inspector is ever going to be able to guarantee that we have rooted out … the entirety of Saddam’s program relative to weapons of mass destruction,” Biden said at the time.
As Breitbart News reported on Monday, the former vice president urged the U.S. to pursue efforts to “dethrone” Hussein as early as the late-1990s.