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Bernie Sanders Veterans Foreign Policy Tyson Manker

CHICAGO (January 22, 2016) – As new polling shows Bernie Sanders now with strong leads in the first democratic primary states, establishment favorite Hillary Clinton has responded by ratcheting up her attacks against the now-frontrunner Sanders.

Perhaps overestimating her own foreign policy credentials, Clinton yesterday told a crowd in Iowa that she was “the only candidate on either side with the experience and judgment to keep us safe at home and strong in the world.”

She continued, “Senator Sanders doesn’t talk very much about foreign policy.  And when he does, it raises concerns because sometimes, it can sound like he hasn’t really thought it through.”


Because right now the Middle East is a festering clusterfuck of Islamic terror plotting its next move on the west because we invaded Iraq and toppled Saddam Hussein.

And guess what?

When authorization to invade Iraq was up for debate and voted on by the House and Senate in October 2002, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton took two entirely different approaches to the task at hand.

I will take the President at his word that he will “Try Hard” to pass a UN resolution, and will seek to avoid war if at all possible,” Clinton said in her October 10, 2002 floor speech.  Talk about courageous leadership, right?  Though she finally admitted on the campaign trail that her vote was a mistake, Clinton has never acknowledged the extent to which she naively entrusted faulty intelligence when she voted to send American troops to war without asking virtually any questions whatsoever.

When you compare her approach to that of Sanders, who spoke passionately a day prior against the authorization, it is Clinton who appears to need a lesson in foreign policy and international diplomacy.

Bernie’s bold and insightful remarks are reproduced in their entirety here.

Mr. Speaker, I do not think any Member of this body disagrees that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant, a murderer, and a man who has started two wars. He is clearly someone who cannot be trusted or believed. The question, Mr. Speaker, is not whether we like Saddam Hussein or not. The question is whether he represents an imminent threat to the American people and whether a unilateral invasion of Iraq will do more harm than good.

I am concerned about the problems of so-called unintended consequences. Who will govern Iraq when Saddam Hussein is removed and what role will the U.S. play in ensuing a civil war that could develop in that country? Will moderate governments in the region who have large Islamic fundamentalist populations be overthrown and replaced by extremists? Will the bloody conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Authority be exacerbated? And these are just a few of the questions that remain unanswered.

The depth of wisdom and foresight apparent in Sanders’ 2002 floor speech is all the more significant now, primarily in understanding the strengths of his foreign policy.

With regards to Syria, Sanders has made his position repeatedly clear, “We should be putting together a coalition of Arab countries who should be leading the effort. We should be supportive, but I do not support American ground troops in Syria.”

Rather predictably, Clinton responded disingenuously, “He has suggested that we invite Iranian troops into Syria.  That is like asking the arsonist to be the firefighter.”

Really Hillary?

What is clear to Veterans everywhere is that Hillary Clinton is willing to engage in GOP tactics and lie repeatedly about her opponent’s record, while crying foul when she is criticized for doing so.

Thankfully, Bernie has responded to her attacks brilliantly and in stride. “There is a difference between experience and judgment. The most important policy vote in the modern history of this country took place in 2002.” He continued, “Dick Cheney also had experience.  A whole lot of people have experience but do not necessarily have the right judgement. I think I have the right judgment to conduct sensible foreign policy.”

He’s absolutely right.  Experience isn’t always a good thing, especially when it’s experience being a puppet of the military industrial complex, or experience in taking Wall Street bribes.  When it comes down to it, Bernie Sanders has been on the right side of history with every major issue of our time.  His Iraq speech and vote being no exception, as it shows the careful thought Sanders puts into matters of military engagement and diplomacy.

Tyson Manker is a former combat marine, attorney, and college professor. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.