Former Vice President and Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden said Monday that he “didn’t believe” former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction but still voted to authorize military force in Iraq in 2002.
So did we all miss the part where Biden said on MSNBC yesterday that he “didn’t believe” that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction yet voted to invade Iraq anyway with an explanation that makes no sense? pic.twitter.com/GMmKU5GDGE
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) March 10, 2020
In an interview on MSNBC’s “The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell” in Michigan, Biden was asked:
Two soldiers killed yesterday in Iraq. You say that your vote on the Iraq war was based on President Bush’s representations this wasn’t about going to war, it was about presenting a clear at least threat to Saddam Hussein. Bernie Sanders says I saw right through that. I was right. I knew what George Bush was up to. When we look back on it, can we say that Senator Sanders’ judgment on that was better than yours?
The reason I voted the way I did was to try to prevent a war from happening because, remember, the threat was to go to war. The argument was because Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. So he said I need to be able to get the Security Council to agree to send in inspectors to put pressure on Saddam to find out whether or not he’s using — he’s producing nuclear weapons. And at the time, I said that’s your reason all right, I get it. The rational was that’s the way not to go to war because I didn’t believe he had those nuclear weapons. I didn’t believe he had the weapons of mass destruction.
He went on to tout his efforts as Vice President in the Obama administration to end the war in Iraq while acknowledging that “it was a mistake,” as it was later determined that Saddam did not in fact possess nuclear weapons. (RELATED: ‘Trump Is More Anti-War Than Joe Biden’: Veteran Accuses Biden On Video of Enabling Iraq War)
Biden’s statements at the time, however, do not corroborate his claim on MSNBC that he did not believe Saddam had WMDs.
Biden on MSNBC last night said of his vote for the Iraq War, “I didn’t believe he had those nuclear weapons. I didn’t believe he had those weapons of mass destruction.”
He said his vote was for inspectors to prove they didn’t have WMDs.
This isn’t backed by our reporting. pic.twitter.com/O3Tq0Ihzxt
— andrew kaczynski???? (@KFILE) March 10, 2020
“I know there’s enough circumstantial evidence that if this were a jury trial, I could convict you,” Biden said at the time of the Bush administration’s case about weapons of mass destruction. “I am not opposed to war to remove weapons of mass destruction from Iraq… I am not opposed to war to remove Saddam from those weapons if it comes to that.”
In 2002, Biden was one of 77 Senators who voted to give the Bush administration authorization to use military force in Iraq. This vote has been a frequently criticized by his opponent, Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who voted against the resolution.
After his strong showing on Super Tuesday, Biden is narrowly leading Bernie in the delegate count going into another round of Tuesday primaries.