Joe Biden didn’t offer any moral objections to the Vietnam War and thought protesters were “assholes,” but he said the war was a “tragic mistake” based on “lousy policy.”
From the early stages of his Senate career, Joe Biden insisted that presidents cannot wage wars without congressional authorization.
Joe Biden fought to rein in the CIA following the abuses of the Nixon era, but he also wanted the U.S. to have sweeping surveillance powers.
Joe Biden claimed to support President Jimmy Carter’s “outsider” nominee for CIA director — before he helped tank his candidacy with a spurious claim of espionage.
In public, Joe Biden railed against William Casey, President Ronald Reagan’s CIA director. Behind the scenes, the relationship was more complicated.
When Israel carried out a covert bombing of a suspected nuclear site in Iraq, Joe Biden supported the attack but complained that Israel didn’t inform him beforehand.
Joe Biden tried to stop the U.S. from selling attack planes to Saudi Arabia because he thought it was bad for the U.S. and Israel.
Joe Biden supported funding the mujahideen to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan.
In public, Joe Biden tried to claim neutrality on the Israeli military campaign. In private, he was more enthusiastic about it than the Israeli prime minister.
Joe Biden supported the deadly U.S. invasion of the tiny Caribbean island based on dubious intelligence and helped the CIA win backing from other senators.
Shortly after the U.S. military was sent into Lebanon’s civil war, hundreds of Americans were killed in a suicide bombing. After taking conflicting positions, Joe Biden wanted the U.S. to get out.
Joe Biden was an opponent of unqualified U.S. support for El Salvador’s military junta, but he sought compromises to ensure that funding was approved with restrictions.
Joe Biden was against the Contra death squads and opposed CIA involvement in Nicaragua, but he flirted with supporting Reagan’s war.
Joe Biden did not want journalists to go to jail for printing classified information, but he supported the CIA’s efforts to crush whistleblowers and leakers.
Joe Biden opposed U.S. support for Angola’s right-wing UNITA rebels, whose chief lobbyist in Washington, D.C., was Paul Manafort.
Joe Biden supported Reagan’s attempt to assassinate Muammar Gaddafi, but he questioned if U.S. policy in Libya would succeed.
Joe Biden was a prominent opponent of apartheid South Africa and fought against U.S. aid to the regime. But he also lied about being arrested while trying to visit Nelson Mandela.
Joe Biden denounced the covert arms-for-hostages programs involved with Iran-Contra, but in the end, he defended Reagan’s role.
Joe Biden believed that the U.S. should only “pay the right price and bear the right burden” as it defended its dominant role in the world.
Joe Biden promoted the lie that the U.S. was acting defensively when it invaded Panama to overthrow the CIA puppet narcoregime of Manuel Noriega.
Joe Biden initially opposed the Gulf War, saying it was done without proper congressional authorization.
As George H.W. Bush basked in the self-declared glory of the Gulf War, Joe Biden began pivoting to a hawkish stance on Iraq, saying, “I think I was proven to be wrong.”
Joe Biden made clear that when it comes to U.S. policy in the Middle East, supporting Israel and AIPAC is what matters most
Joe Biden supported the longest sustained U.S. bombing campaign since Vietnam and the most sweeping regime of economic sanctions in modern history.
During the war in the former Yugoslavia, Joe Biden led the push for U.S. military intervention.
Joe Biden faced questions about why he didn’t believe the U.S. had an obligation to stop mass killings of Haitians and reverse a right-wing coup.
Joe Biden tried to clarify the role of Congress in U.S. military actions and to challenge executive overreach, but his legislation did not gain momentum.
Joe Biden was a key player in writing the precursor to the Patriot Act over the objections of civil liberties advocates.
As a senator, Joe Biden supported draconian sanctions against Cuba, but he changed his tune two decades later when he became vice president.
Joe Biden wanted the U.S. to wield its “big stick” in bombing Iraq to secure oil supplies.
Five years before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Joe Biden joined with neoconservatives in making a policy of regime change the law of the land.
Joe Biden set aside his historical concerns about war powers to support Bill Clinton’s bombing of Iraq to “cripple” the country.
Joe Biden applauded Bill Clinton’s bombing of a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan that was justified by relying on dubious intelligence as well as a strike in Afghanistan.
Joe Biden was an enthusiastic proponent of the 78-day bombing of Serbia and Montenegro and wanted to send in ground troops.
Joe Biden was a key player in militarizing the war on drugs in the U.S. and in Latin America.
Joe Biden, the top Democrat on the influential Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was willing to use unilateral U.S. force to attack Iraq.
Joe Biden defended Israel against criticisms of its assassination operations against Palestinians, suggesting that disagreements with Israel should be kept private.
Joe Biden did not just proudly vote for the Patriot Act, he took credit for many of its provisions.
Joe Biden was ecstatic about the invasion of Afghanistan and wanted the U.S. to deploy “badasses” who “shoot and kill people.”
After 9/11, Joe Biden supported sending people to Guantánamo Bay prison and denying some prisoner-of-war status.
Joe Biden carefully avoided taking a public stance on the coup in Venezuela but later wanted to “ratchet” up efforts to get Hugo Chávez out of power.
Joe Biden voted in favor of the Iraq War, promoted lies about WMDs, and expressed support for regime change.
After photos emerged showing the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, Joe Biden denounced the actions and demanded to know what Donald Rumsfeld knew about it.
After Hamas won democratic elections in Gaza, Joe Biden called for the U.S. to cut off aid to the the Palestinian Authority.
Despite Israel’s indiscriminate killings of civilians in both Lebanon and Palestine, Joe Biden defended Israel.
As he began his 2008 Democratic presidential run, Joe Biden put forward a plan that he hoped would distinguish him: partitioning Iraq.
Joe Biden didn’t say “we attacked Iraq for oil,” but he admitted that it was “in part about oil.”
Joe Biden was an early supporter of sending prisoners to Guantánamo, but by 2006, he denounced the practice, saying it was providing “fodder” to Al Qaeda.
Six years after 9/11, Joe Biden denounced the CIA’s extraordinary renditions as “extralegal kidnapping” and demanded that black sites and secret prisons be shut down.
Joe Biden was against a large troop surge in Afghanistan. Instead, he wanted an expansion of drone strikes and anti-terrorism missions conducted by the CIA and special operations forces.
Joe Biden defended Israel’s deadly attack on a maritime humanitarian aid convoy to Gaza.
As massive protests against Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak rocked Cairo, Joe Biden stood by him.
Joe Biden had reservations about the U.S. intervention in Libya but later claimed that it was the right move to oust Gaddafi.
Throughout his career, Joe Biden questioned the legality of U.S. assassinations. As vice president, he became a player in the drone wars.
Joe Biden has been an unwavering advocate of NATO expansion, saying the alliance is a necessary bulwark against war in Europe and a vehicle for U.S. values and interests.
Joe Biden frequently rails against whistleblowers and leakers, labeling Julian Assange a “high-tech terrorist” and trying to block Edward Snowden from getting asylum in Ecuador.