Former President George W. Bush went viral for making an awful Joe Bidenesque flub accidentally referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine as Iraq.
He said: “In contrast, Russian elections are rigged, political opponents are imprisoned or otherwise eliminated from participating in the electoral process. The result is an absence of checks and balances in Russia, and the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq…I mean of the Ukraine.”
He appeared to say under his breath “Iraq too, anyway,” which was met with laughter from the audience. He then joked about his age reminding them he was 75.
Donald Trump Jr. said: “I wish he would have been this honest and critical of himself 20 years, countless lives, and trillions of dollars ago.”
And while Bush deserves the criticism it is important to remember he didn’t do it alone. He had help.
From people like Joe Biden. Proving again that Biden has been wrong about everything most of his career.
The simple truth is that Biden voted to give Bush broad power to go to war with Iraq. He did so as a top-ranking Democrat in the Senate: the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. And he did so at a time when the majority of Americans did not support taking immediate military action.
The Bush administration’s campaign for war powers began in the summer of 2002. Vice President Dick Cheney declared definitively that Saddam Hussein was building an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction — a claim echoed by American intelligence officers, who were called to Congress to detail those weapons, and by the media outlets who quoted them.
As we know now, those claims were based on flimsy evidence and turned out to be incorrect.
Bush also said he needed war authorization to add teeth to a diplomatic effort through the United Nations to get inspectors on the ground in Iraq.
I wish he would have been this honest and critical of himself 20 years, countless lives, and trillions of dollars ago. pic.twitter.com/d8nhcZ981d— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) May 19, 2022
But the administration wasn’t prioritizing diplomacy; they were asking for a broad war authorization that gave the White House immense freedom to use military force in Iraq.
Biden bought into the Bush administration’s argument. He elevated the administration’s concerns about Hussein in the press.
And in the months leading up to the vote authorizing war, he organized a series of Senate hearings, in close coordination with the White House, during which he echoed the administration’s talking points about weapons of mass destruction.
“In my judgment, President Bush is right to be concerned about Saddam Hussein’s relentless pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and the possibility that he may use them or share them with terrorists,” Biden said at an August hearing.
“These weapons must be dislodged from Saddam Hussein, or Saddam Hussein must be dislodged from power,” he continued.
“President Bush has stated his determination to remove Saddam from power, a view many in Congress share.”
Those hearings have been characterized by his supporters as Biden’s attempt to seriously and methodically weigh the price of war.
And, to be sure, Biden did note: “If that course is pursued, in my view, it matters profoundly how we do it and what we do after we succeed.”