Senator Biden on Iraq, Bush

Senator Biden gave a wide-ranging interview with Pittsburgh media recently. Among the answers are more insight on how we got into Iraq and what our limited options are now:

What does he see as the likely future in Iraq?
“The fact of the matter is this has now we’re down to one thing. We have to get a consensus constitution in order for the Sunnis to buy in. If the Sunnis do not buy in to this new Constitution, … there will be a civil war; they’ll be a regional war, and all the kings horses and all the kings men will not be able to put Iraq back together again.'’

What should the U.S. do now in Iraq?
“Do exactly what you did in Afghanistan. We had the six-plus-two talks. We brought in the Iranians, the Pakistanis, the Waziris, the Russians, etc. We produced a guy named [President Hamid] Karzai, and it’s working. Its working. The same kind of pressure needs to be brought on the Shia and the Kurds, to make concessions in the constitution to get a buy-in of 60 percent of the Sunnis. If you can’t get that done, you don’t have enough troops to solve it.'’

Sen. Biden on President Bush’s complaints of his critics revisionism:
“We were misled and we were, in the case of Mr. Cheney, lied to.

[Sen. Biden pointed to a pre-war quotes from the Vice President Cheney which suggested that Iraq had reconstituted its nuclear weapons program.] “The vice president, I believe, flat lied. The president didn’t lie, he misled.'’

[Sen Biden pointed to the controversy over Iraq’s acquisition of aluminum tubes and whether they were evidence of a uranium enrichment program.] “Eighty percent of the intelligence community said no, 20 percent said yes, … What the president did … He led you to believe and everyone else to believe that the the entire [intelligence] community agreed on that. He led you to believe … and the American people to believe there was a consensus. There was no consensus.'’

“So I believe the administration deliberately chose to take the worst case scenario, take that portion of the intelligence that was in the minority and weave it into a whole cloth to convince the American people that Saddam Hussein either had or was on the verge of a nuclear weapons which he was no where near … and that he had weaponized other materials of mass destruction that he had not.”

Sen. Biden argued strongly against immediate withdrawal form Iraq.
“We have two goals, get our troops out and secure out national interests. It is not in our national interest if … Iraq becomes a haven of terror and an exporter of terror throughout the region. ‘’

“How do we leave and meet our objectives? The way to do that you change three things. You change way we train the security forces and how rapidly we trade them off for American forces, two, you bring in the rest of the world to put pressure on their various constituencies so that … all the parties buy into the constitution, and, three, you make more workable each of the agencies that exist there by taking up the English on their proposal that every major nation adopt an agency and bring in their bureaucrats to set up and begin to run the department of education, department of health, department of defense, the department of whatever. And Cheney and [Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld have stiff-armed the rest of the world for the last year and a half who have offered that help.

“It’s time to change, not to stay the course, change the course. The president has two-and-a-half months to get it right or we’re going to be in real trouble … [Without progress] we will continue to have Americans killed in iraq with no clear strategy for victory or two, which I predict will happen, the American people saying, ‘Enough is enough is enough. Bring them home even though we know bad things will happen to us as consequence of Iraq being in chaos.’”

Read the full article here.

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