26 thoughts on “VIDEO: Sen. Bernie Sanders makes a compelling argument against U.S. military action in Syria

  1. Thanks Zach.

    Tremendous opposition on the right and left to this. AFAIK, Senate was ready to cave. The 10-7 vote in the Senate committee was surprisingly close. In the House Obama was going to try and whip Dems to allign with a few Republicans. So far, Dems are holding.

  2. The question in my mind is why the Obama administration is so sure that Assad is responsible for the gas attacks. This is the crutch of the issue. Especially when Syria is one of the few Middle Eastern countries that allows Christianity to exist within her borders. Obama can be duped as Kennedy was duped and as Bush was reportedly duped by “experts.” If Obama has infallible information I trust his judgement over any one else’s in DC.

  3. I can certainly understand Senator Sanders reluctance to punch this tar baby. It may prove impossible to get off our arm.

  4. I’m glad Sanders refocused attention to where our nation’s attention needs to be – domestic priorities and how those domestic priorities determine genuine world leadership. I’m glad he didn’t bring any fallacious argumentation into the matter with respect to whether or not we have security interests in Syria. We do, but how we choose to manage those interests needn’t entail military intervention. I was disappointed that Sanders didn’t discuss in more sophisticated terms the position of the UN and other world leaders with respect to Assad because those are matters of great importance. Syria is one of the signatories of the Geneva Convention banning chemical weapons. At the same time the chemical/nuclear weapon “red line” isn’t a humanitarian line by any stretch of the imagination, and the number of refugees fleeing Syrian borders is at about 7 million – exceeding the population of Wisconsin. A great number of the refugee population is begging and has been begging the West to intervene – long before the “red line” and they don’t understand why, when we have the capability, we don’t. I’m not using that as justification for intervention, I’m merely pointing it out. I was a little disappointed that Sanders didn’t both refocus domestically but also touch on the foreign policy angle to a greater degree. If we don’t intervene, what do we do? I don’t see “doing nothing” as the most humanitarian response.

    In the main, he did put forth some of the best defense yet for non-intervention. There’s opposition on the right and left to intervention; there’s also support on the right and left favoring intervention. There are those on the right and left conflicted and indecisive. Sanders takes a wise course – keeping an open mind.

  5. To many lies in the media. This isn’t about intervening in a civil war. It is about enforcing international laws against the use of WMDs. Americans were overwhelmingly for an invasion of a country that didn’t have WMDs. Now we have a clear case of the use of WMDs against civilians and americans want to turn their backs. Go ahead and ignore it. See where it gets us.

      1. That is an advocacy to get involved in their civil war. So what, we’re supposed to do pre-emptive strikes?

        1. No Mikey. It was an “advocacy,” to share our intelligence with the rest of the world.

          What if Russia responds to U.S. airstrikes, by taking out some Saudi oil fields? Then the price of gas goes to what, $8 bucks a gallon? That spike in energy prices further destroys the world economy.

          1. We can play what if all day. What if the intelligence was wrong? What if it was a malicious deflection intended to drag us in? What if we acted on the intelligence and involved ourselves in a civil war? What if we don’t respond and the signal is that use of WMDs will be tolerated?

            1. From: http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/09/03/obama-decides-its-safer-to-buy-congress-than-to-go-it-alone/

              The White House will bribe, cajole, and intimidate the Congress. The regime’s argument will be that with America’s prestige and credibility on the line, Congress must support the President. The President and Secretary of State have made unequivocal statements of Assad’s guilt and their determination to punish Assad. Given Washington’s insanity, the way Washington punishes Assad for (allegedly) killing Syrians with chemical weapons is for Washington to kill more Syrians with cruise missiles.

              From the people YOU want to help kill: http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/09/05/will-1000-american-human-shields-stop-another-criminal-war/

              A good friend from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Society (SARCS) an humanitarian organization doing amazing rescue, and medical services for Syrians and Palestinians during this expanding crisis, described one way that her friends are preparing for the American attack. “We gathered our important documents, birth, marriage certificate and passport and made photo copies. Then we leave them with friends in “safe” areas or even bury them somewhere. No one knows how bad the Americans will bomb us. At work we have been told during our final practice drill last saturday that the next siren will be the ‘real thing’ and we will do as we have planned for.” She added, “Many of my friends and family are leaving but it’s not easy and is very expensive now to go to Lebanon and they don’t want us– and my family has decided to stay in our home no matter what happens in the coming days.”

              Sleep tight.

            2. Mikey,

              You’re right. We can play “What If” all day. Probably the more useful way to look at this “What If” is in terms of how EmoProg-speak inevitability converges with rhetoric emanating from the Kremlin and Beijing. In this case, we have a permutation of China’s concern that a U.S. strike on Syria would raise oil prices and hurt the global economy.

              Perhaps Assad’s strike with nerve gas won’t raise oil prices and hurt the global economy? By gosh, let’s hope so, because the bottom line here, as it is with so many other delicate foreign policy matters, is the global economy. The bottom line wouldn’t be anything like, say, chemical weapons…..

              You’ve adopted a rational stance that Obama also holds. Attempting to sort through this “What If” scenario will get you nothing but Anti-Obama vitriolic rationalization entirely divorced from everything else.

              1. PJ,

                Your “repeal the Second Amendment,” http://bloggingblue.com/2013/09/05/about-that-gun-debate/
                post is based entirely on “what if,” someone with a gun misuses it. Your 5:31 comment contradicts that.

                “The Powell Doctrine states that a list of questions all have to be answered affirmatively before military action is taken by the United States:

                Is a vital national security interest threatened?
                Do we have a clear attainable objective?
                Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
                Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
                Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
                Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
                Is the action supported by the American people?
                Do we have genuine broad international support?[1]

                As Powell said in an April 1, 2009 interview on The Rachel Maddow Show, the Doctrine denotes the exhausting of all “political, economic, and diplomatic means,” which, only if those means prove to be futile, should a nation resort to military force. Powell has expanded upon the Doctrine, asserting that when a nation is engaging in war, every resource and tool should be used to achieve decisive force against the enemy, minimizing US casualties and ending the conflict quickly by forcing the weaker force to capitulate. This is well in line with Western military strategy dating at least from Carl von Clausewitz’s On War….”


                1. My Repeal the 2nd Amendment is based on “What Is.” As in what is happening to the minds, bodies, and lives of our youth and our populace.

                  1. PJ, when can we look forward to your post to bring back the prohibition of alcohol?

                    What about cars?

                    What about football and hockey?

                    What about “X” rated movies?

                    What about “R” rated movies?

                    What about violence in movies and video games?

                    1. Keep your eyes peeled, I guess. When I write about those items you’ll have your opportunity to discuss them. Until then perhaps you shouldn’t worry your pretty little head over it. Until then you’ll just have to fritter away thread space with “What if” I do write about those topics. So, be proactive. Prepare your argumentation for each of those scenarios for “when” I do. Not if, but when…. bwa ha ha. Don’t bother about what’s right in front of you – rational minds will attend to that. You just keep your focus right where it is.

    1. Too many lies by Obomba and Kerry is the problem, Mikey. A corporate perspective and owned MSM doesn’t help for sure.

      NO proof as to where the sarin gas came from or who actually released it has yet to be shown from either side. So letting Zero go out killing innocent civilians with missiles is better than killing them with gas? Maybe I’m reading your statement incorrectly, and I’m am guessing you are too young to remember the carpet bombing of Vietnam with napalm and missing the depleted uranium used by, “we the people,” in Iraq and Pakistan?

      So blowing up Syrian infrastructure that might still remain which allows US non-profit aid to continue to flow to help what, 2M Syrian refugees in neighboring countries is going to keep us be how much safer as a nation? 50K more young Americans dead in escalation of hostilities so some artist can come up with a new Wall to remember the dead? Grow the f**k up.

      1. This is the last time I respond to you. You’re a nut. Take your Obombo bullshit and shove it up your ass. That is all.

        1. Do you promise?

          You’re willingness to explore a topic with any intellectual or logical integrity is duly noted. Zero.

          I asked you if I might have been misreading whatever it is that your point was, I was not sure I was understanding you. Now I do. Clear as a bell. You don’t have an ounce of knowledge on the subject to be of value to anyone in the debate on the issue and you felt a need to open your mouth to prove it.

          You have proved nothing other than that you are a good candidate to get banned from the site with your abusive, bullying and absolutely thoughtless personal attack.

          Zachary, clean-up on isle Bernie Sanders, please.

  6. “Playing Chess with Russia and Iran”

    …Here’s one potential worst case scenario.

    If the Obama administration takes authorization from Congress and moves directly towards military action against Syria, the lack of a coalition is a significant condition that increases the strategic risk to the United States. Iran and Syria will recognize that this may be the only opportunity they will ever have to take on the United States without a broader coalition of support, and as such see this as their best opportunity to strike. In stepping through Red Team’s calculations, consider how exposed the US truly is.

    1) The United States has no coalition, so a targeted, direct strike against the United States in “self defense” significantly limits the degree to which the international community will respond in support of the US. The UK vote highlights that politically, the rest of the world does not stand with a belligerent United States in a unilateral military action.
    2) The United States is strategically and politically exposed and military forces throughout the region are spread thin. There are no troops in Iraq. Sequestration has significantly degraded the capacity of the US military across the entire Department of Defense towards fielding an effective reserve. Political cover by Russia and China will be available to Syria after the the US attacks.
    3) Military objectives by Blue Team are not well defined, while military objectives by Red Team are well defined. All evidence suggests the leadership of the United States does not take seriously the threat of counterstrike. Russia has openly stated they will provide intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance to help Syria, and that presumably would also be for support of military action in counterstrike.
    4) Successful counterstrike against the United States will be celebrated regionally, resulting in significant restrictions of movement within the region by US military forces and a collapse of US political credibility broadly. Local pressure can be exploited by red team on regional military installations to restrict movement of US assets in the region.

    When I take the red team perspective of action unfolding in the Middle East, if I am Iran and Syria supported by Russia, my calculation is that I may never have a better opportunity to change the regional security conditions and balance of power in the Middle East than the opportunity being presented in this situation unfolding. By throwing every military asset possible in attack of the surface action group of 4 destroyers in the Mederterranian Sea, and throwing the entire armed forces of Iran against the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group off the coast of Pakistan, the entire US policy for the Middle East would be dead in the water if Iran and Syrian attacks were to be successful. As red team, I would attack these targets specifically because they are sovereign US targets and don’t inherently escalate tensions by giving any other nation a reason to join in.


    Is Europe going to seriously come to the aid of a belligerent US who got smacked for attacking another nation without a coalition, any legitimate alliance, or a UNSC resolution? The NATO alliance clause doesn’t protect the US under the scenario unfolding in Syria. Remember, gas prices across the world will triple – or more, in the first 24 hours on the threat of escalation, so the gravity of the situation will hit the wallet of an happy American population as well. Where is the support for the US coming from? If you think the US has a reserve force ready to deploy in the US, you don’t understand the impact of sequestration on the US military at all.

    I would add two things to this scenario.

    First, at a very minor level, I think war on Syria may lead international partners to bag on a number of our sanctions regimes, starting with Iran. Just today OFAC rolled out penalties against some people it says served as front companies for Iran, at the same time insisting it would ensure that Iran doesn’t bypass sanctions.

    “Our sanctions on Iran’s oil sales are a critically important component of maintaining pressure on the Iranian Government, and we will not allow Iran to relieve that pressure through evasion and circumvention,” said Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen. “We will continue to target those individuals and entities that devise schemes to evade our sanctions.”

    But going to war in Syria without any sanction from the UN effectively tells the international community to fuck off. And there are a lot of countries — most notably China and India — that would welcome an excuse to start importing a lot more oil from Iran; if oil prices continue to rise, that urge will only become stronger. If the US is busy conducting unilateral action against Syria, what would prevent a bunch of countries from ending their adherence to our sanctions?

    That would just serve to totally reverse our efforts to weaken Iran in comparison with the Saudis in the region.


Comments are closed.