Joseph Biden

December 11, 2007

Joe Biden links war rhetoric with troubled economy

Senator Biden responds to a question on Iran at the Nevada Democratic debate:

We had a vote in the United States Senate on declaring the Qods Force -- their special forces -- and the Revolutionary Guard to be a terrorist organization. A lot of people voted for that; 70 some voted for it. It's a serious, serious mistake because what it does, it was completely counterproductive. What it did was, ma'am, what it did was it convinced the rest of the Muslim world this is really a war against Islam and not a war in Iraq; and number two, it rose the -- it caused the price of oil to head to $100 a barrel. We're paying $30 a barrel for what they call a risk premium. And it helped destabilize the situation both in Iran -- I mean Afghanistan and Pakistan.

So the way to do this is to keep quiet, hush up, and do what I told the president personally and what I've said as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. If he takes the country to war in Iran without a vote of Congress, which will not exist, then he should be impeached.

November 06, 2007

Presidential Candidates Assert that Bush has No Authority to Attack Iran

In a letter sent to President Bush on Thursday, thirty senators warned against attacking Iran, saying that Bush has “no authority.” The letter also expressed concern about aggressive rhetoric from the White House. Bush recently insinuated that if Iran even gained the “knowledge necessary” to make a nuclear weapon it could lead to World War III.

Signers of the letter included presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Joseph Biden.

Senators Hillary Clinton and Chris Dodd are both cosponsoring a Senate Resolution “affirming that any offensive military action taken against Iran must be explicitly approved by Congress before such action may be initiated.”
Hillary Clinton also recently cosponsored senate bill S-759, a bill to block funding for an Iran attack.
ABC reported that “tucked inside”  Bush’s massive $196 billion Iraq spending bill is $88 million to equip B-2 stealth bombers to carry the “Big Blue” bunker busting bomb. The Big Blue weighs in at an incredible 30,000 lbs--15 tons--and the B-2s need to be outfitted with a special rack to be able to carry just one bomb.

The request referred to “an urgent operational need from theater commanders.” As Rebecca Griffin of Peace Action reported, there is no practical application of this weapon in Iraq or Afghanistan. Iran’s hardened and buried nuclear facilities, however, would seem a likely target.

Meanwhile, Zogby publicized the results of a telephone survey claiming that 52% of Americans ¬would support a U.S. military strike to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon, and 53% believe it is likely that the U.S. will be involved in a military strike against Iran before the next presidential election,

Hillary Clinton led the survey as the candidate “best equipped to deal with Iran” with 21% of the total vote. Rudy Giuliani and John “bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” McCain were the second and third choices. 

October 28, 2007

Biden's Plan For Iraq

In August, Senator and Presidential Candidate Joe Biden wrote a Washington Post editorial titled, "A Plan To Hold Iraq Together." It describes a plan conceived with Les Gelb, the Council On Foreign Relations president emeritus, to "de-centralize" Iraq's government and give more power to regional, ethnically based municipalities. Under this new system, regional governments would be created for Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish populations. Baghdad would not be a part of any one region, and instead would act as a hub for the federal government, which would be in charge of common interests such as border security and distribution of oil wealth. (Biden calls oil "the glue that binds the country together.") In addition to changes in political structure, the plan also calls for a troop reduction, although Biden says that troops would still be necessary to "keep neighbors honest" and fight terrorists.

In September Biden's plan gained serious traction in the Senate, which passed a non-binding resolution supporting the plan with strong bipartisan support.

In the Mideast, Biden's plan has not been so popular. US Labor Against War recently publicized a communication they received from Hassan Juma’a Awad, president of the Iraq Federation of Oil Unions/General Union of Oil Employees in Basra. Here is his letter:

I would like to convey to you the opinion of Union of Gas and Oil in Iraq on the latest statement  of the US Congress regarding the partitioning of Iraq.  The General Union of Oil and Gas denounces the statements from the US Congress that suggest the partitioning of Iraq into different parts. At the same time that we are denouncing such statements, we also reject this cowardly act that is aimed at the security and stability of our country, Iraq.  Such a statement on the part of the US Congress demonstrates clearly that US occupation forces have failed to control Iraq.

Iraq will be united in spite of what the US says.  We are calling on the Iraqi government and Iraqi Parliament to reject such statements that signify the US government's hatred and meanness toward the people of Iraq - the people who managed to confront all sorts of conspiracies and ill-fated schemes during the past period.

In neighboring Syria, President Bashar al-Assad warned that dividing Iraq, particularly the creation of a separate Kurdish state, could cause the region to “explode.” He called on nations in the region to support Iraq’s unity.

September 28, 2007

Biden: Torture Does Not Work

Asked a hypothetical question regarding using torture to protect America in last night’s Democratic Presidential debate, Senator Biden vowed never to use torture, warning that it can lead to misinformation.

“It [torture] does not work. It is part of the reason why we got the faulty information on Iraq in the first place is because it was engaged in by one person who gave whatever answers they thought they were going to give in order to stop being tortured.”

Breaking ranks with other Democrats, Biden gave an explicit hard line approach towards torture:

“It should be no part of our policy ever – ever.”

Debate transcript available at The New York Times

July 06, 2007

"A Plan to Hold Iraq Together" by Joseph Biden

No number of troops can solve this problem. The only way to hold Iraq together and create the conditions for our armed forces to responsibly withdraw is to give Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds incentives to pursue their interests peacefully and to forge a sustainable political settlement. Unfortunately, this administration does not have a coherent plan or any discernible strategy for success in Iraq. Its strategy is to prevent defeat and hand the problem off when it leaves office.

Meanwhile, more and more Americans, understandably frustrated, support an immediate withdrawal, even at the risk of trading a dictator for chaos and a civil war that could become a regional war.

Both are bad alternatives. The five-point plan Les Gelb and I laid out offers a better way.

Read the full text of Senator Biden's plan at the Washington Post

Joseph Biden On Iraq

Q: I have read the paper that you wrote with [former president of the Council on Foreign Relations] Leslie Gelb advocating a tripartite federal system for Iraq that divides the country among the Shia, the Sunnis and the Kurds. But given the rate at which things are deteriorating in Iraq, is there a point at which it becomes impossible for this plan to be implemented when a new president takes office on Jan. 20, 2009?

What I have been straightforward about saying all along is that I believe what I have recommended would, if implemented now, work. But I have also said that I may be left on Jan. 20, 2009, with no option but to withdraw and contain. To literally have inherited a fractured country. Not just a divided country, but a fractured country where there is no way to put Humpty-Dumpty back together.

For me, the first step here for a political solution to have a chance of working is to disengage from this civil war, limit the mission and provide circumstances where the political option, led by the international community, is there.

When Les [Gelb] and I laid out that plan [in May 2006], had President Bush accepted that plan, he could have implemented that plan as a made-in-America idea. Today, we have so little credibility in the world and the region that you have to have the international community as the one putting its stamp on this.

That's an example of how we have limited our ability to affect outcomes, having lost our credibility so profoundly that you have to have the permanent five [members of the United Nations Security Council] being the catalyst for this political solution. And who knows what happens in 20 months.

- from They Don't Own the Democratic Party, interview with Walter Shapiro at

June 21, 2007

Joe Biden's Votes on Iraq

Voted for Iraq war in 2002, but now a war critic. (Nov 2006)
Voted NO on redeploying troops out of Iraq by July 2007. (Jun 2006)
Voted YES on investigating contract awards in Iraq & Afghanistan. (Nov 2005)
Voted YES on $86 billion for military operations in Iraq & Afghanistan. (Oct 2003)
Voted YES on authorizing use of military force against Iraq. (Oct 2002)


View the Peace Action West 2006 Congressional Scorecard (600k)

June 19, 2007

Clinton, Edwards, Biden on Iran

June 13, 2007

Joseph Biden On Iran

"Now we need to focus on the other serious issues with Iran, including their nuclear program and Iraq. Tensions with Iran contribute to a regional tinderbox that could ignite with one wrong move. The only thing worse than a poorly planned, intentional war is an unplanned, unintentional war. We have to put a premium on hard-headed diplomacy with Iran, which is the best way to achieve our objectives. Some of Iran's leaders may choose confrontation over cooperation. The Iranian people must know that we are not the ones standing in the way of peaceful co-existence."

Press Release, April 4, 2007

Joseph Biden On Iran

"Well, first of all, I would do away with the policy of regime change. What we're saying to everybody in Iran is, "Look, by the way, give up the one thing that keeps us from attacking you, and after that we're going to attack you. We're going to take you down." It's a bizarre notion, number one.

Number two, understand how weak Iran is. They are not a year away or two years away. They're a decade away from being able to weaponize exactly what the question was, if they put a nuclear weapon on top of a missile that can strike. They're far away from that.

Number three, in fact, we're going to - we have to understand how weak that government is. They import almost all of their refined oil. By 2014, they're going to be importing their crude oil. There's much better ways, if we had to get to the point of being real sanctions, of doing economic sanctions on them forcefully that way. But at the end of the day, if they posed the missile, stuck it on a pad, I'd take it out."

Democratic Presidential Debate, June 3, 2007

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