Wednesday, February 28, 2007
"Two weeks ago, Congress made clear its opposition to President Bush's plan to send more US troops to Iraq.
Opposing the surge is only a first step. There needs to be a radical change in course in Iraq. The pressure is building on Congress -- especially Republicans -- to act if the president will not.
The best next step is to revisit the authorization Congress granted Bush in 2002 to use force in Iraq.
We gave the president that power to destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and, if necessary, to depose Saddam Hussein. The weapons of mass destruction were not there. Saddam Hussein is no longer there. The 2002 authorization is no longer relevant to the situation in Iraq.
Together with Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I will offer legislation to repeal that authorization and replace it with a much narrower and achievable mission for our troops in Iraq.
Congress should make clear what the mission of our troops is: to deny terrorists a safe haven, train Iraqis, and help Iraq defend its borders. We should set as a goal removing from Iraq all US combat forces not necessary for this limited mission by early 2008, as the bipartisan Iraq Study Group recommends.
Congress also should make clear that the troops should not stay in Iraq indefinitely and get mired in a civil war.
Repealing and replacing the 2002 authorization is not micromanagement from Washington, it is matching our soldiers' mission to the changing realities in Iraq.
Revisiting the 2002 authorization is the right next step but it cannot be the last step. The United States must also answer a two-word test: "What next?"
Everyone wants to get the troops out of Iraq as soon and as safely as possible. There is great political reward in saying, "I can get us out the fastest."
But while leaving Iraq is necessary, it is not a plan. There needs to be a plan for what we leave behind so that we do not trade a dictator for chaos that engulfs Iraq and spreads throughout the Middle East.
Nine months ago, Leslie Gelb of the Council on Foreign Relations and I proposed a plan, which offers a roadmap to a political settlement in Iraq that gives its warring factions a way to share power peacefully and us a chance to leave with our interests intact.
The plan would decentralize Iraq and give Kurds, Shi'ites, and Sunnis control over their daily lives; bring the Sunnis in by guaranteeing them a fair share of the oil; enlist the support of Iraq's neighbors and the world's major powers to promote the plan with the Iraqis; and withdraw US combat forces by 2008. You can read the details at PlanForIraq.com.
The Bush administration has bet everything on a future that will not happen: Iraqis rallying behind a strong central government that protects the rights of all citizens equally.
Since the onset of sectarian war, there is no trust within the central government, no trust of the government by the people and no capacity by the government to deliver services and security. There is no evidence that we can build that trust and capacity any time soon.
There are two other ways to govern Iraq from the center: A foreign occupation that the United States cannot sustain or the return of a strongman, who is not on the horizon.
That leaves federalism -- an idea a majority of Iraqis have already endorsed in their constitution.
Our plan offers a way to make federalism work for all Iraqis. And it offers the possibility -- not the guarantee -- of producing a soft landing in Iraq. That would be the best possible outcome for Iraq and for America."
Monday, February 26, 2007
"Senator Joe Biden will campaign across the Granite State this Tuesday, February 27th and Wednesday, February 28th making stops in Hanover, Concord, Henniker and Bedford. In Hanover and Henniker, Sen. Biden will hold town hall meetings to discuss the current situation in Iraq and his plan to introduce legislation to revisit the original 2002 Iraq War resolution and replace it with a much narrower mission statement for the troops. Nine months ago, Biden, along with Council on Foreign Relations President Emeritus Leslie H. Gelb, unveiled their plan for a political solution in Iraq. For more information on the plan, visit: www.PlanForIraq.com."
Tuesday, February 27th
Senator Biden will hold a Town Hall Meeting on Iraq Alumni Hall, Dartmouth College
Wednesday, February 28th
Senator Biden will speak at Granite State Independent Living Center
Senator Biden will hold a Town Hall Meeting on Iraq,New England College Simon Center
Senator Biden will attend a reception with Bedford Town Democrats, Bedford Public Library
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Sen. Joe Biden today addressed more than 500 American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employee (AFSCME) members and retirees at the first 2008 Democratic Presidential Forum in Carson City, Nevada.
In his remarks, Biden addressed the need for a new direction in American foreign policy and a new focus on middle class concerns saying, “We are under tremendous pressure – there’s a lot of challenges in the United States of America right now. We have a war in Afghanistan, genocide in Darfur, there are two nations out there developing nuclear weapons - and at home we need a healthcare policy, access to college education, and beyond that, an energy plan.”
“We cannot fix these other problems unless we deal with Iraq. It affects every other aspect of our policies.” Biden said. “If we do it right – we’ll regain the flexibility, the credibility and our ability to deal with all the problems you’ve heard talked about today. But if we don't get it right, we are going to be shackled financially and in every other way for a long time to come.”
In his closing, Biden stressed that President Bush has left the next president of the United States with no for margin for error, telling the audience that in the next election, “The American people, we have an incredible opportunity to change the world.”
Sunday, February 18, 2007
The speech was entitled Iraq's Future and America's Interests and Biden outlined the following five points in his plan.
First, maintain a unified Iraq by decentralizing it and giving Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis breathing room in regions – as the Iraqi constitution provides. The central government would be responsible for common concerns, like guarding Iraq’s borders and distributing its oil revenues.
Second, secure support from the Sunnis – who have no oil – by guaranteeing them a fair share of oil revenues. Allow former Baath party members to go back to work and reintegrate Sunnis with no blood on their hands.
Third, increase economic assistance to Iraq and its regions. Insist that the oil-rich Gulf states put up most of the money, tie it to the protection of minority rights, and create a major jobs program to deny the militia new recruits.
Fourth, initiate a major diplomatic offensive to enlist the support of Iraq’s neighbors. Create an oversight group of the U.N. and the major powers to enforce their commitments. These countries have a profound stake in preventing chaos in Iraq and the credibility we lack to press for compromise by all Iraqis. If a political settlement fails to take hold, these same countries are vital to any strategy to contain the fall out within Iraq.
Fifth, instruct the military to draw up plans for withdrawing U.S. combat forces from Iraq by 2008. Leave behind a small force to take on terrorists and train Iraqis. The best way to focus Iraq’s leaders on the political compromises they must make is to make it clear to them that we are leaving.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Monday February 19th, 2007
600 PM Biden will keynote a Washoe County Democrats Dinner
Tuesday February 20th, 2007
945AM Biden will speak to the Carson City Democratic Party
700PM Biden will speak to the Nevada Committee on Foreign Relations
Topic: Iraq’s Future and America’s Interest
Wednesday February 21st, 2007
1200 PM Biden will participate in the AFSCME Candidates Forum
Full Details here.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
"Among Democrats, Biden's crystal ball clearest on Iraq"
WASHINGTON — Nearly four years ago, just days before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, then-presidential candidate Howard Dean asked: "What I want to know is what in the world some of these Democrats are doing supporting the president's unilateral intervention in Iraq?"
He was cheered by California Democrats at their convention. At the same gathering, both John Kerry, the party's eventual 2004 nominee, and John Edwards, Kerry's eventual running mate, were booed for supporting the invasion.
Today, Dean presides over a party that is steadily steering toward an anti-war base, while four Democratic presidential candidates who voted to give President Bush the authority to invade Iraq, are trying to explain their votes in the context of a war that has turned increasingly bloody and murky.
The four are Edwards, who left the Senate, and Sens. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and Joe Biden, D-Del.
Before joining 73 other senators in favor of the resolution in October of 2002, all four had warned of the consequences of not building enough international support for the war and of inadequate post-war planning.
But of the four, Biden was the most prescient and specific in warning about the sectarian violence that has since wracked Iraq, leading to increasing pressure to withdraw American troops. Given the record, Biden's plan to extricate the United States from Iraq could be his biggest selling point in a long-shot battle for the '08 nomination.
"There is a danger that Saddam's downfall could lead to widespread civil unrest and reprisals," Biden said on the Senate floor on Oct. 10, 2002.
Biden warned in that speech that "one-third of that population (in Iraq) hates the other two-thirds of the population. They say Iraq will quickly be able to organize itself politically, economically, and militarily, into a peaceful, unified nation, free of weapons of mass destruction.
The American people need to know that most experts believe Iraq will require considerable assistance politically, militarily, and economically. Indeed, they say we should speak not of 'the day after,' but of 'the decade after.' "
On one point, the four Democrats were in accord with the Bush administration leading up to the war. They all publicly proclaimed that Iraq had an active weapons-of-mass-destruction program and desired more, including nuclear weapons. No WMD were discovered after the invasion.
In a pre-vote speech that October, Clinton went one step further, asserting that while there was no connection between the 9/11 attacks and Saddam, she believed Saddam had given "aid, comfort and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaida members." War critics dispute that claim, saying Saddam saw the terrorist group as a threat to his regime.
Dodd agreed that Saddam posed a threat but couched his vote as a diplomatic tool to force Saddam to allow weapons inspectors, banned for four years, back into Iraq. "My main reason for supporting the resolution is that I believe the chances of avoiding war with Iraq are enhanced substantially if this country is united as a nation," Dodd said on Oct. 9, 2002.
A day later, Edwards called Saddam "a grave threat to America and our allies, including our vital ally, Israel." But, he complained, "We have not heard nearly enough from the administration about its plans for assisting the Iraqi people as they rebuild their lives and create a new, democratic government. The president has said the U.S. will help, but he hasn't offered any details about how."
But five months later, just four days before the invasion commenced, Edwards — by then a prospective presidential candidate — defended the decision to go to war at that stormy meeting of California Democrats.
"I believe that Saddam Hussein is a serious threat and I believe he must be disarmed, including the use of military force if necessary," Edwards said, as assembled Democrats booed.
In the days before the invasion, Biden and Clinton expressed concern that all diplomatic avenues had not been explored but said they were full-scale behind the troops about to go into battle.
Today, Biden, Dodd, Clinton and Edwards are all varying critics of the way President Bush led up to and conducted the war.
Edwards has apologized for his vote and calls it a test of "political courage" to oppose Bush's plan to send an additional 21,000 troops to help quell violence, especially in Baghdad. "We have to stand up against George Bush's escalation of this war," Edwards told the Democratic National Committee earlier this month.
Clinton has been less apologetic, claiming senators get no "do-overs," but said recently that if she had been president in 2002 she would not have launched the invasion. In October 2002, the most explicit caveat she put on an invasion was that "international support and legitimacy are crucial" to any U.S. action in Iraq. But in the same statement, she also warned of the threats of "Saddam Hussein's biological and chemical weapons."
Dodd told the DNC this month that he was disappointed that the Senate was tied up over a non-binding resolution expressing disapproval of Bush's "surge" and that it was "time to send a bill to the president with real teeth in it." He supports a resolution requiring Bush to get congressional approval for any buildup.
Biden's plan may be the boldest. It would partition Iraq into three territories under a national government in an attempt to cool warring Sunni and Shiite factions. He told the DNC that Bush "took us to war unnecessarily ... without letting the weapons inspectors finish their work, without enough troops" and "most of all, without a plan — any plan" for reconstruction.
Friday, February 9, 2007
And it certainly is a busy schedule. I count 9 events, in the space of just over 2 days. That's real old school campaigning. Good to see.
Friday 16 February
3pm - Biden will speak about National Security at a Town Hall with Iowa Veterans Home Residents, Marshalltown
7 pm - Biden will be the keynote speaker at the Story County Democrats Soup Supper Collegiate, United Methodist Church, Ames
Saturday 17 February
830am - Biden will be the keynote speaker at "Women For a Stronger America" Breakfast, Des Moines
1130am - Biden will speak at the Hawkeye Labor Council, AFL-CIO's United Labor Alliance Luncheon, Cedar Rapids
1230pm - Biden will attend and speak at a lunch reception with the Linn County Phoenix Club History Center, Cedar Rapids
630pm - Biden will speak at the Scott County Democrats Red, Davenport
Sunday 18 February
830am - Biden will speak at a House Party hosted by former State Representative Jane Teaford and Bill Teaford, Cedar Falls
1230pm - Biden will keynote a "First in the Nation Series" Event at Wartburg College, Waverly
430pm - Biden will speak to Franklin County Democrats, Hampton
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
Speaking in the Senate yesterday, Joe Biden called on his Senate colleagues to allow general debate on the Iraq war.
Biden said that the Senate has a duty to debate the Iraq war and the prevention of a debate is a "total forfeiture of our responsibility."
He said that Iraq dominates our political debate and is on the minds of tens of millions of Americans.
The vote in the Senate yesterday fell 11 votes short of the 60 needed to debate the issue. Democrats however have vowed to find a way to send a strong message to President Bush not to escalate the war in Iraq.
Biden said that the only way to solve the problems in Iraq is through diplomacy.
Saturday, February 3, 2007
Having had a shaky start to his Presidential campaign, it was fitting that the words that opened Joe Biden's speech to the Democratic National Committee's Winter Meeting in Washington were, "So how was your week?" and then "It's been a hell of a week".
Yes, it has.
Biden apologised to the conference and said he expressed deep regret if his words in the New York Observer had offended. He said that those who know him, will judge him by his history and his heart.
It was a good start to the speech, and one that Biden needed. His apology was sincere, and it will go a long way to killing the issue in Democrats minds.
Biden then moved on to criticism of the Bush Administration, who he has said has dug America into a deep hole. He said that the President took America to an unnecessary war, without enough troops, without enough equipment and without a plan.
He said that the price of the failure in Iraq can be measured by the blood that has been shed by Americans - 3,067 dead, and over 20,000 injured. In addition, $350 billion has been spent on this failed policy.
Biden received a standing ovation as he declared with passion that "We must stop this war."
Talking up his credentials as a Democratic nominee, Biden cited his experience in foreign affairs, saying that what America needs right now is a President who understands these issues, who can bring an end to the war in Iraq and then turn to other hot spots around the world.
On domestic matters, Biden also spoke of the need for a new energy plan and of protecting the 47 million Americans without health insurance.
Biden said that he will "...fight for the values that unite us rather than the wedges that have sought to divide us."
Friday, February 2, 2007
Biden will reschedule the trip as soon as possible.
Thursday, February 1, 2007
Biden said of Barack Obama that he was "...the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.
Ok, there was a moment that we thought that Biden might have been misquoted, but he has confirmed that those are the words he said.
However, he has since said that he has been taken out of context, and what he meant was that Obama was something brand new that nobody has seen before. He also called Obama the most exciting candidate that either party has produced since he has been around.
Biden phoned Obama to explain, and we understand that was accepted, and Obama didnt take the comments personally. However, Obama did release a statement late yesterday to say that "African-American presidential candidates like Jesse Jackson, Shirley Chisholm, Carol Moseley Braun and Al Sharpton gave a voice to many important issues through their campaigns, and no one would call them inarticulate."
Biden has also released a statement saying "I deeply regret any offense my remark in the New York Observer might have caused anyone."
This isn't a great start for Biden. While he should have been riding high after his announcement, he was forced onto the back foot, defending a poor choice of words.
Some critics have called Biden's campaign for the nomination the shortest in history. It isn't over for Biden yet, but he would be wise at this point to go positive in the near future and stay well away from the negative.