Andy Worthington | AlterNet | Posted August 24, 2008.
Biden doesn’t have clean hands when it comes to Iraq, but he’s been a leader in re-establishing the rule-of-law in Bush’s terror war.
In the end, then, it came down to this: Barack Obama needed a vice-presidential candidate with well-established Washington credentials, foreign policy experience and an ability to connect with blue-collar workers.
And while Joe Biden — a 65-year old working class Irish Catholic, the Senator for Delaware since 1972, and the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — has a far from unblemished foreign policy record (most notoriously in his support for the invasion of Iraq, but also, arguably, in his strenuous support for armed intervention in Kosovo, which, like that of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, paved the way for justifying war on a basis other then that of self-defense), he has since recanted his position on the Iraq war, and has, for many years, also been unafraid to tackle other excesses of the Bush administration’s post-9/11 policies; in particular, through his persistent calls for the closure of the “War on Terror” prison at Guantánamo Bay.
Although he initially supported the invasion of Iraq (after trying, and failing, to persuade President Bush to first exhaust all diplomatic efforts), Sen. Biden has since become on of the war’s toughest critics in the Senate. He warned of the costs of a long occupation before the war even began, and in 2006 he proposed, with Leslie Gelb, the president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, a five-point plan for the future of Iraq, which called for a federalized system of three regional governments (Kurd, Sunni and Shiite) plus a centralized government for the management of “truly common interests” like oil and border defense.