MR. RUSSERT: But make no mistake about it, the bill that you voted for authorized the president to go to war.
SEN. BIDEN: It allowed the president to go to war. It did not authorize him to go to it. You make it sound like it said, “Mr. President, go to war.” It said, “Mr. President, don’t go to war.” It said “go to the United Nations. Mr. President, don’t go to war, try to get a deal here. Mr. President, get the inspectors back in. Mr. President, tell us that that’s what you’re about to do. And, Mr. President, if all else fails, you have authority to use force.” That’s what it said.
These are interesting statements. He says to "go to the United Nations"...the same UN that unanimously issued Resolution 1441, threatening Iraq to disarm? Biden says "get the inspectors back in". The same inspectors that Saddam hadn't complied with? The same inspectors that President Clinton and others said Iraq had failed to comply with and had interfered with?
In fact, reviewing Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq shows nothing of the sort. It states nothing about inspectors, except to say "Whereas Iraq...attempted to thwart the efforts of weapons inspectors to identify and destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction stockpiles and development capabilities", and "Iraq persists in violating resolutions of the United Nations Security Council" and "Whereas United Nations Security Council Resolution 678 authorizes the use of all necessary means to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution 660". This all seems to indicate the willingness to proceed with military efforts.
Furthermore, the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002states the same. This resolution provided authorization as follows:
AUTHORIZATION- The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to--This sounds pretty clear to me, and it should to Senator Biden to...after all, he voted for it.
(1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and
(2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.
Mr. Biden, in the early stages of his presidential bid, is doing his best to distance himself from his earlier statements and his vote.
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