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5 Reasons Bernie Sanders Opposed The Iraq War In 2002, And How History Judged His Decision

In 2002, as Congress was preparing to vote on a resolution approving George W. Bush’s plan for a rushed invasion of Iraq, Bernard Sanders gave a speech containing 5 reasons for his opposition to the war. Here’s what he said, and how history has judged his assertions.

“In the brief time I have, let me give five reasons why I am opposed to giving the President a blank check to launch a unilateral invasion and occupation of Iraq and why I will vote against this resolution. One, I have not heard any estimates of how many young American men and women might die in such a war or how many tens of thousands of women and children in Iraq might also be killed. As a caring Nation, we should do everything we can to prevent the horrible suffering that a war will cause. War must be the last recourse in international relations, not the first.”

Bernie Sanders for PresidentHistory says: Thousands of young American men and women were killed in the Iraq more, and many more came home physically maimed and psychologically warped by the experience. Bernie Sanders underestimated the number of Iraqis who would die as a result of the war, however. It wasn’t tens of thousands. The estimates of civilian deaths in Iraq range from 138,000 to in the millions. Iraqis continue to be killed in the bloody aftermath of George W. Bush’s invasion to this day.

“Second, I am deeply concerned about the precedent that a unilateral invasion of Iraq could establish in terms of international law and the role of the United Nations. If President Bush believes that the U.S. can go to war at any time against any nation, what moral or legal objection could our government raise if another country chose to do the same thing?”

History says: Part of Russia’s justification for its invasion of the Ukraine has been the invasion of Iraq by the United States. Vladimir Putin calls Americans hypocrites for supporting their own government’s war while opposing his.

“Third, the United States is now involved in a very difficult war against international terrorism as we learned tragically on September 11. We are opposed by Osama bin Laden and religious fanatics who are prepared to engage in a kind of warfare that we have never experienced before. I agree with Brent Scowcroft, Republican former National Security Advisor for President George Bush, Sr., who stated, ‘An attack on Iraq at this time would seriously jeopardize, if not destroy, the global counterterrorist campaign we have undertaken.'”

History says: Because of all the money, soldiers and military equipment that were redirected from the war in Afghanistan to the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan quickly fell into disarray, and became the longest overseas war in American history.

“Fourth, at a time when this country has a $6 trillion national debt and a growing deficit, we should be clear that a war and a long-term American occupation ofIraq could be extremely expensive.”

History says: The cost of the Iraq War through the end of 2014 was $4.4 trillion.

“Fifth, 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.”

History says: Nouri al-Maliki, installed as Prime Minister of Iraq under the American military occupation, turned out to be such a divisive leader that Iraq has fallen into civil war. Extremists who trained as insurgents against the United States are now tearing Iraq apart, and are fighting to extend their power elsewhere in the Middle East as well, under the name of The Islamic State. They’re slaughtering civilians, destroying ancient artifacts, forcing religious conversions, and sending out videos of decapitations of journalists. How’s that for the Arab Spring George W. Bush promised us?

Bernie Sanders is now running for President of the United States. His predictions about the Iraq War turned out to be quite accurate, demonstrating the kind of insight into foreign policy that we need badly in the White House. If you want a more peaceful world, please give the Sanders for President campaign your support.

9 thoughts on “5 Reasons Bernie Sanders Opposed The Iraq War In 2002, And How History Judged His Decision”

  1. Mark says:

    With all the Republican candidates falling over themselves saying that if they knew then what we know now about Iraq, they would not vote in favor of an invasion. Now we have Bernie Sanders who did seem to know then what we know now and actually voted against the invasion. He makes all the Republicans look like idiots.

    I don’t think Hillary Clinton has the Democratic nomination in hand. As a matter of fact, I sincerely believe that Sanders will run circles around her in the primaries. She has so much baggage that her support will fall away as his climbs. In a general campaign against any Republican nominee, I do think he’ll shine.

  2. Ella says:

    You provided a good list of the mistakes made in the Middle-Eastern counter terrorism conflict that began after 11/11/01. And I agree, Sanders will shine way above the Clinton’s given the opportunity. Bill has already stated he would definitely enjoy returning to the White House, “…as Hillary’s husband.” was an added after thought. That, I sincerely hope is not what the American people want. The following article outlines about the rest of what mistakes came out of the War Against Obama, that also removed a despot from power.

    Even though many apparent missteps happened in the early stages of this ongoing war on terror, it might be a good idea to remember that other nations had tried and failed to conquer and ‘civilize’ Afghanistan before American went there to defeat the Taliban and Obama. England and Russia for example. The conflict shifted rapidly to Iraq and turned thousands of ruthless people loose to enter the conflict, in what ever way their hearts led them. Their hearts eventually led them to claim a Caliphate. They are the same ruthless killers they were when they were turned loose, now they have organized into a unit that can be fought and defeated.

    1. J Clifford says:

      Ella, the Iraq War was not part of any war on terrorism. There was no terrorism coming from Iraq. You understand that, right?

  3. Ella says:

    It was part of the complicated organization of that region and still is, obviously. Saddam was a a brutal leader and he trained his so called staff and military to follow in his footsteps. It seemed a controlled if not peaceful region, but for the mass slaughter that quietly was going on. It was only a matter of time before someone shot Saddam before he could pull a trigger himself. You do understand that Iran and Iraq have been fighting partners for decades. Terror was well into play at the time we went into Afghanistan and the jump to Iraq was a divertive measure which has been playing out ever since.

  4. Ella says:

    In my opinion.

  5. Dave says:

    You DO realize that after the “conclusion” of the first gulf war under Bush 41 and Schwartzkoff, we were still bombing the begeezus out of Iraq under the guize of “controling the airspace”. We were bombing electrical, water, and sewer infrastructure, as well as cell towers and radio/TV towers – and killing a LOT of civilians. The US media sure didn’t tell us that, but everybody in the region knew that for sure. Everybody I know in Europe knew it too. So we were FAR from innocent, and we were *manufacturing* angry terrorists in the process. Is it any wonder 19 Arab hijackers… (well, I don’t believe that either), but it was made to look like that).
    Just KNOW, that lots was going on before “shock & awe” began – for YEARS!

  6. Isaiah says:

    I am Hillary supporter but could not believe how prophetic and sadly true ur words were. I could only THINK OF those BRAVE YOUNG VIBRANT AMERICANS WHO ARE NOW WORMS FOOD. AT THE SAME TIME, IRAQIS DIDNT CARE FOR THEM or appreciative of the ULTIMATE SACRIFICE THOSE AMERICANS GAVE FOR THEM.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      The Iraqis’ ingratitude might have something to do with the hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths during the war we started on a false premise:

  7. Pingback: Why Bernie Sanders Needs Jim Webb on His Foreign Policy Team | People's War
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