Former US Vice President Joe Biden voted for the Iraq War when he was a senator, and many Democrats won’t let him forget it.
When his vote came up during last month’s debate, Biden said Americans could trust his judgment on questions of war because, as vice president, he was in charge of pulling all US combat troops from Iraq. Weeks later, he made a similar claim at a campaign stop in Iowa.
Biden had a big hand in withdrawing US forces from Iraq during President Barack Obama’s first term. It was a sensitive role and one Biden relished, by many accounts. But he was still the vice president during Obama’s second term, when thousands of US troops returned to the country. It’s puzzling to see him leave that out of his remarks on the campaign trail and in the debate.
The Biden camp argues that these are two very different conflicts and that the troop levels were much higher pre-2011 and much lower post-2014. However, as top Obama administration officials have said in public, the two conflicts are inextricably linked. ISIS gained a foothold in Iraq in large part because US forces had withdrawn.