Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg lambasted rival Joe Biden on Sunday for voting to authorize the Iraq War in 2002.
Speaking to Iowa Public Television, the 37-year-old South Bend, Indiana, mayor described the conflict as “the worst foreign policy decision by the United States in my lifetime.”
“I certainly respect the vice president, but this is an example of why years in Washington is not always the same thing as judgment,” said Buttigieg, whose limited government experience has come under fire on the campaign trail.
“He supported the worst foreign policy decision made by the United States in my lifetime, which was the decision to invade Iraq,” the mayor continued, referring to Biden.
Biden’s history on Iraq has come under renewed scrutiny as the race for the presidency heats up.
As a senator representing Delaware and the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Biden voted in 2002 to authorize the use of military force against Iraq if then-leader Saddam Hussein refused to relinquish what President George W. Bush’s administration erroneously characterized as the regime’s hidden cache of weapons of mass destruction.
The war resolution was passed with bilateral support and, in 2003, the military invasion into Iraq began.
Challenged during a July presidential primary debate on his decision to approve the resolution, Biden acknowledged that he’d made a “bad judgment.”
He said he’d cast his vote believing that Bush only intended to use the resolution to bolster U.S. diplomacy efforts ― and that he’d been opposed to the war from the very start.
“From the moment ‘shock and awe’ started, from that moment, I was opposed to the effort, and I was outspoken as much as anyone at all in the Congress and the administration,” Biden said.
But fact-checkers with The Washington Post have challenged Biden’s recollection of that time.
As the Post noted, though Biden had been critical of how the Bush administration managed the war and had repeatedly urged the president to explore all diplomatic options before using military force, it wasn’t until November 2005 that he conceded his vote was “a mistake.”
“It was a mistake to assume the president would use the authority we gave him properly,” Biden told NBC’s “Meet The Press,” adding: “We went too soon. We went without sufficient force. And we went without a plan.”