The Lingering Effects of Iraq War Lies

[The Progressive March 27, 2023] Twenty years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the country remains unstable, with one of the most corrupt and dysfunctional governments in the world. It is unable to provide Iraqis with many of the basic services previous generations had known. Rival militia groups are battling for influence, and serious human rights abuses are ongoing. Thousands of U.S. troops remain in the country to this day, ostensibly to counter the presence of ISIL/ISIS cells and Iranian militia groups, both of which emerged as a direct result of the 2003 invasion.
The cumulative cost of the war for American taxpayers will end up at well over $3 trillion, adding to the national debt and giving deficit hawks the excuse to resist needed expansions, and even to impose cuts in important domestic spending. On the environmental front, the war is estimated to have resulted in the release of hundreds of millions of additional metric tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere…

Biden and Other Democrats Helped Colin Powell Spread George W. Bush’s Iraq Lies

While the death of former Secretary of State and retired Gen. Colin Powell has elicited praise-filled eulogies in the mainstream media and officials in Washington, many Americans still carry bitter feelings over Powell’s support for the illegal, unnecessary and predictably disastrous war in Iraq. In particular, critics cite his February 2003 speech before the UN Security Council in which he put forward a litany of demonstrably false statements in making the case that Iraq had compiled a dangerous arsenal of “weapons of mass destruction” and was actively supporting the al-Qaeda terrorist network. [FULL LINK]

If Biden Wants to Protect Troops, He Should Bring Them Home — Not Bomb Syria

Truthout, March 2, 2021: The US has bombed Syria more than 20,000 times over the past eight years, so last week’s attack on a border post in northeastern Syria, which killed 22 militiamen and apparently no civilians, may not seem surprising to some… it is nevertheless disappointing that President Biden appears determined to continue the failed policies of his predecessors… Some members of Congress challenged Biden’s authority to order such an attack, which contravenes both international law and the US Constitution. [FULL LINK]

INTERVIEW: Biden’s Sponsorship of the Invasion of Iraq

The Scott Horton Show. Skip ahead to 29:30 for Zunes’ segment.
Stephen Zunes talks about Joe Biden’s shameful history helping to advocate for the invasion of Iraq in 2002 and 2003. These days he claims he was caught up in the aftermath of 9/11 and was simply mistaken about the intelligence, like everyone else who voted for the war. But Zunes reminds us that Biden was chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at that time, with a Democratic-majority congress. With his influence, he probably could have stopped the war single-handedly. If that weren’t enough, Zunes says that Biden was actually advocating “boots on the ground” to depose Saddam Hussein before 9/11. On this issue alone, Biden should be disqualified from the presidency, and Zunes and Scott expect a poor showing in the general election, should he end up with the Democratic nomination.

Interview: Today’s US-Iran Crisis Is Rooted in the Decision to Invade Iraq

Truthout January 20, 2020 also at
The ramifications of the illegal, unnecessary and predictably tragic U.S. decision to invade Iraq are still with us. This includes the ongoing crisis with Iran, which brought us perilously close to all-out war in early January, resulted in the tragic downing of a civilian airliner and remains in a hair-trigger situation. [FULL LINK]

Biden’s Support of Iraq War Shows How He Would Run the White House

[Truthout & OpEd] Supporters of presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden are probably hoping that Democratic voters will see his key role in pushing through the Iraq War authorization as simply a “mistake” which should not be a factor in the 2020 presidential race. Indeed, Biden now claims that, “From the moment [the invasion] started … I was opposed to the effort, and I was outspoken as much as anyone at all in the Congress” despite his statements at the time and subsequently that he supported Bush’s decision to invade even after inspectors returned and no “weapons of mass destruction” were found. Not only was Biden one of the most important Democratic supporters of the Iraq War, but that support says much about the kind of president he would be…

Biden Has Defended US Allies’ Use of Lethal Force Against Civilians

[Truthout November 4, 2019] On an October evening in 2002, while quietly embroidering on the porch of her home in Nablus in the West Bank, 60-year-old Shaden Abu Hijleh was shot and killed by Israeli occupation forces. A grandmother and community activist involved in promoting the arts, women’s and children’s advocacy, serving the needy and nonviolent resistance to the occupation, she had no links to any violent or extremist organizations. No protests or other violent disturbances were taking place nearby, and her killing is widely believed to have been a targeted assassination… Abu Hijleh and Saada were just two of scores of Palestinian activists murdered by Israeli assassins in the early 2000s…

This Isn’t the First Time the US Has Abandoned the Kurds

[Truthout October 10, 2019] President Trump’s decision to give a green light for a Turkish invasion of Kurdish-populated regions of northern Syria has been faced with swift bipartisan opposition. Apparently, no one in the diplomatic, military or intelligence community — much less the leadership of the self-governing Kurdish enclave the U.S. has armed and supported and is now under siege — was consulted beforehand. U.S. troops should indeed be withdrawn from Syria, but the U.S. soldiers removed from the border area where Turkish forces are now attacking are not being sent home, and instead are simply being redeployed elsewhere in northeastern Syria. Trump’s sudden and apparently impulsive move following a conversation with authoritarian Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (one of a number of autocratic leaders with whom Trump has developed a close relationship) is dangerous and irresponsible….

Biden Is Doubling Down on Iraq War Lies

[Truthout &, August 8 & 10, 2019] For the second consecutive Democratic debate, Joe Biden has failed to come to terms about his critical role in supporting the illegal, unnecessary, and predictably disastrous US invasion and occupation of Iraq. There is nothing new about this. Biden has a long history of inaccurate claims regarding that oil-rich country. For example, in the lead-up to the critical Senate vote authorizing the invasion, Biden used his role as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to insist that Iraq somehow reconstituted a vast arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, a nuclear weapons program and sophisticated delivery systems that had long since been eliminated. Polls at the time showed that the only reason Americans would support going to war would be if Iraq constituted a threat, so it was to the advantage of war proponents to make people think that Iraq — which, according to former U.N. inspectors and others, had reached at least qualitative disarmament — had somehow obtained such potentially dangerous military capabilities…

The Other Reason Biden Shouldn’t Run

[The Progressive, April 22, 2019] Anyone wondering about former Vice-President Joe Biden’s fitness for the presidency ought to be concerned about the recent allegations of inappropriate touching. But there is another issue that deserves consideration: his key role in making possible an inappropriate and utterly disastrous war. As chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2002, Biden stated that Saddam Hussein had a sizable arsenal of chemical weapons as well as biological weapons, including anthrax, and that “he may have a strain” of smallpox, despite UN inspectors reporting that Iraq no longer appeared to have any weaponized chemical or biological agents. And even though the International Atomic Energy Agency had reported as far back as 1997 there was no evidence whatsoever Iraq had any ongoing nuclear program, Biden insisted that Saddam was “seeking nuclear weapons”…

We Know They Lied about Iraq’s WMDs, but It Gets Worse

The Progressive July 13, 2016
   Sir John Chilcot’s report on Great Britain’s role in the Iraq War confirmed what many have long assumed: the government of Prime Minister Tony Blair—and, by extension, the administration of President George W. Bush—deliberately misled us, exaggerating the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and Iraq in order to justify the 2003 invasion of that country… The thousands of American casualties, trillions of dollars of expenditures, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi casualties, and the rise of sectarianism, terrorism, Islamist extremism, and the other negative consequences of the invasion have been disastrous. But even worse, even if Iraq really did have the proscribed “WMDs”, delivery systems, and weapons programs at the time of the invasion, the war would have still been illegal and unnecessary. Here’s why…

Hillary Clinton’s Iraq War vote still appalls

The Progressive April 14, 2016
   In 2002, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York voted to authorize the Iraq War; her rival for the Democratic nomination for president, Bernie Sanders, opposed it. Clinton’s vote continues to haunt her on the campaign trail – and for good reason. First, there are the consequences of that illegal and unnecessary war: 4,500 American soldiers killed and thousands more permanently disabled; hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths; the destabilization of a region with the rise of the Islamic State; and a dramatic increase in the federal deficit, resulting in major cutbacks to important social programs. Clinton’s vote, which she now professes to regret, raises troubling implications regarding her role as a potential commander-in-chief. The United Nations charter forbids member states from using military force unless they are under direct attack or receive explicit authorization by the U.N. Security Council.

Hillary Clinton’s double standards on human rights

The National Catholic Reporter April 11, 2016
   During the 1980s, the United States was seriously divided over U.S. policy toward Central America. The Reagan administration was propping up a brutal military-backed regime in El Salvador that was responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people, including priests, nuns and catechists, along with labor, student and human rights leaders, as well as peasants who happened to live in areas supporting the opposition. The Reagan administration also attempted to bring down the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua by mining the country’s harbors; sabotaging oil installations; and organizing, training, arming and funding a mercenary army…
   Human rights groups, liberal organizations, peace activists, and Catholic and Protestant clergy and laity organized to challenge U.S. policy. Many activists traveled to Nicaragua in solidarity with the people of that besieged country. Among those was Bernie Sanders… the Hillary Clinton campaign has seized on the Vermont senator’s activism during this period as a means of attacking him as a supporter of communism.

The Five Lamest Excuses for Hillary Clinton’s Vote to Invade Iraq

In These Times February 1, 2016: Also published in:
Common Dreams, Counterpunch, Consortium News, Democratic Underground,,, Foreign Policy in Focus, My Trust In Conflict,,, Reddit, The Scott Horton Show radio, and referenced in other media. e.g.,

Former senator and secretary of state Hillary Clinton is the only candidate for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination who supported the invasion of Iraq. That war not only resulted in 4,500 American soldiers being killed and thousands more permanently disabled, but also hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths, the destabilization of the region with the rise of the Islamic State and other extremists, and a dramatic increase in the federal deficit, resulting in major cutbacks to important social programs. Moreover, the primary reasons Clinton gave for supporting President George W. Bush’s request for authorizing that illegal and unnecessary war have long been proven false. As a result, many Democratic voters are questioning — despite her years of foreign policy experience — whether Clinton has the judgment and integrity to lead the United States on the world stage.

The U.S. and ISIS

The Progressive August 26, 2014
At the start of classes one year ago, I was having to explain to my students why the United States appeared to be on the verge of going to war against the Syrian government… exactly one year later, I’m having to explain why the United States may be going to war against Syrian rebels… Already U.S. planes and missiles have been attacking ISIS forces in northern Iraq. Given the real threat of a heightened genocidal campaign against Yazidis and other minorities and the risks of ISIS control expanding into the Kurdish region, even some of those normally averse to unilateral U.S. military intervention abroad were willing to acknowledge it may have been the least bad option. Within days, however, there were already indications of “mission creep”…

The United States’ Tragic Role in Iraq

The Progressive June 20, 2014
[Republished by Common Dreams]
   The dramatic rise of the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)—which even al-Qaeda deemed too extreme to remain part of its network—is a tragedy by any measure.  It would also be tragic if we allowed the very forces that created this mess to explain it away. Despite claims by the Bush administration and its supporters to the contrary, outside of a few dozen fighters in a remote valley of the Kurdish autonomous region, there was no Al-Qaeda or related Salafi extremist presence in Iraq under the Saddam Hussein regime. But now, thanks to the U.S. invasion and occupation, the extremists control most of the northern and western parts of the country, including Iraq’s second largest city…

The US role in Iraq’s upsurge in violence

The Santa Cruz Sentinel & January 25, 2014
[Republished by Common Dreams, Huffington Post, National Catholic Reporter]
   The tragic upsurge of violence in Iraq in recent months, including the takeover of sections of two major Iraqi cities by al-Qaida affiliates, is a direct consequence of the repression of peaceful dissent by the U.S.-backed government in Baghdad and, ultimately, of the 2003 U.S. invasion and occupation…