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Issue Position: The War in Iraq

Issue Position

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"This Administration has dug us into a very deep hole internationally. We need to end the war in Iraq and to restore our place in the world." - Senator Joe Biden


The Way Forward: Senator Biden believes it is important to bring home our troops without leaving chaos behind in Iraq. The Senator and Les Gelb, President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, have a five-point plan that offers a political solution to ending the war. On September 26, 2007, the Senate voted 75-23 to endorse the central elements of the Biden-Gelb plan in an amendment offered by Senators Biden and Brownback.

1. Actively Support a Political Solution Based on Federalism

* Launch a diplomatic offensive to promote a political solution based on federalism and the creation of regions, in accordance with Iraq's constitution and laws. Help Iraqis build local control over the fabric of their daily lives, including the police, education, jobs and services.

* A limited central government in Baghdad would be in charge of common interests, like border defense, oil production, and the equitable distribution of revenues; and regional governments would be in charge of the fabric of daily life, such as security, schools, marriage, and jobs.

2. Share Oil Revenues

* agreement for the equitable distribution of oil revenues. Regions and provinces with little existing oil production, such as those areas where Sunni Arabs live, would need guarantees of receiving a share of oil revenues proportional to their population.

3. Make Iraq the World's Problem and Solution

* Convene an international conference under the leadership of the United Nations, where Iraqis can be encouraged to reach a political settlement based on the federalism provisions of the Iraqi Constitution and where Iraq's neighbors agree to support the settlement, respect Iraq's borders, and end their meddling in Iraq's internal affairs.

4. Responsibly Draw Down America's Troops

* Direct U.S. military commanders to develop a plan to withdraw most U.S. forces in 2008.

5. Increase Reconstruction Assistance and Create a Jobs Program

* Provide more reconstruction assistance, and insist other countries take the lead in funding reconstruction, especially the oil-rich Arab Gulf countries


The Totality of America's Strength: Having spent his entire career on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and now serving as its Chairman, Senator Biden understands today's significant global challenges. We have the rise of Russia and the use of oil as a weapon; the ascendancy of China, not only economically, but militarily; Iran and North Korea trying to get nuclear weapons or increase their nuclear arsenal; a genocide in Darfur; the deterioration of democracy in Latin America; and an axis of oil around the world where dictators would be of no consequence were they not swimming in a sea of high priced oil. He wants a foreign policy using the totality of America's strength - built on diplomacy, and our ideals and ideas, as well as our military might. Here's what he would do:

* Prevent Threats: Senator Biden believes we need to intercept threats like weapons of mass destruction from abroad with prevention - not military preemption. He would expand programs to secure and destroy loose weapons in the former Soviet Union, help partner countries build the capacity to disrupt extremist networks, and improve systems that can detect materials of mass destruction.

* Restore Partnerships: Senator Biden thinks that taking on radical fundamentalists alone is not smart and won't work. He wants America to rebuild effective alliances in law enforcement, intelligence, and financial circles with other countries.

* Advance Democracy: Believing democracy cannot be imposed by force, he would work to help fledging democracies, particularly in the Middle East, build institutions of democracy - such as political parties, effective governments, independent media, judicial systems, and labor unions - and bolster failing states, which can become breeding grounds for extremists.


* Stopping Genocide In Darfur: For three years, Senator Biden has been a leader in the effort to stop the tragedy in Darfur. He has pushed for a No Fly Zone, an international peacekeeping force, tougher sanctions and a peace process; he has traveled to the region and led a Congressional Delegation to the United Nations to make the urgency of the situation known to the international community.

* Leading the Way on Arms Control: For three decades, Senator Biden has been a forceful advocate for arms control agreements. He advocated for the SALT II treaty in the 1970s and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in the 1980s. He secured Senate passage of the convention banning chemical weapons. He has been a constant voice in favor of deeper reductions in nuclear arsenals, and of securing the stockpiles of dangerous weapons in the former Soviet Union.

* Bringing Peace to the Balkans: Senator Biden was the Senate voice championing U.S. intervention in the Balkans in the 1990s. First Bosnia, then Kosovo were being torn apart by ethnic cleansing, which threatened to engulf the Balkans. The United States stepped in and since then Bosnians and Kosovars have lived in peace.

* Helping Emerging Democracies of Eastern Europe: When democracies emerged in Eastern Europe in the 1990s, it was Senator Biden who led the successful effort to approve expansion of NATO to include Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. He also helped expand U.S. assistance to Eastern Europe and has been a firm supporter of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

* Fighting Fundamentalist Terror: On the eve of 9/11, Senator Biden warned that the Bush Administration was too focused on missile defense and not on other potential terrorist threats, which he predicted would more likely come "in the belly of a plane" among other methods. Since 9/11, he has introduced major legislation to protect American ports, rails, chemical plants, and major infrastructure from terrorist threats.

* Supporting the United Nations: He continues to fight for legislation to keep the U.S. financial commitment to the United Nations, building on the landmark Helms-Biden legislation that provided for payment of U.N. arrears conditioned on organizational reform.

* Stopping Drug Trafficking At The Border: Senator Biden has pushed for counter-narcotic efforts to be a high priority of American foreign policy.

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