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Joe Biden voted in favor of war in Iraq

Joe Biden, then chair of the Senate Committee, voted for military invasion in Iraq on Oct 11th, 2002 amidst miscalculated threats to national security

Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic candidate, held in esteem for his foreign policy expertise, became the subject of criticism for his vote in favor of the war in Iraq on October 11th, 2002. He was one of 77 senators to authorize the use of military force in Iraq. At the same time, 23 of his colleagues, who were highly doubtful about the danger Iraq posed to the nation, stood in opposition to then-President George W. Bush's request to invade. Joe Biden is unable to accurately account for his vote that he began publicly acknowledging as a 'mistake' in 2005.

On the campaign trail this election cycle, he has suggested he opposed the war and Mr. Bush's conduct from the beginning, but these claims do not match the historical record. In an NPR interview, he misspoke, according to his campaign manager, that he was immediately opposed to the war the moment it started. Fact checks from The Washington Post and CNN KFile's reviews show how Biden continued to make the case that going into Iraq was justified in the months after the invasion.

According to a Guardian report, Biden did vastly more than just vote for the war. When the war was debated and then authorized by the US Congress in 2002, Democrats controlled the Senate and Biden was chair of the Senate committee on foreign relations. Biden himself had enormous influence as chair and argued strongly in favor of the 2002 resolution granting President Bush the authority to invade Iraq. The Guardian reports further that he also had the power to choose all 18 witnesses in the main Senate hearings on Iraq. And he mainly chose people who supported a pro-war position. Further, intelligence agencies all clarified that the threat to American national security was far-fetched and miscalculated since Iraq was devastated by economic sanctions, had no weapons of mass destruction, and was known by the most pro-war experts to have no missiles that could come close to the United States. But Biden did not choose a diverse pool of experts for the hearing who could have made the following cases, the Guardian reports.

However, an NYT report states that Biden's supporters see his vote for the war due to his spirit for consistent bipartisan compromise as a Senate dealmaker. At the same time, critics say this quality of his has colored his judgment during some of his career's most significant moments.

The Guardian reports that the Iraq war has generally been seen as one of the worst US foreign policy blunders in decades. It fuelled the spread of terrorism and destabilised the Middle East and parts of north Africa. President Obama noted that Isil is a direct outgrowth of al-Qaida in Iraq, that grew out of the US invasion. More than 4,500 US soldiers, and nearly as many US military contractors, lost their lives; tens of thousands were wounded, with hundreds of thousands more suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Estimates of Iraqi deaths run as high as 1 million.

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