The terrorist group ISIS (or ISIL) is spreading a murderous path across swaths of the Middle East and waging psychological warfare on lesser and developed nations. As the leader of the free world, President Barack Obama is leading the charge against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, while fending off waves of flack from both sides of the aisle. However, Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont, says the real blame for the ISIS terrorist group lies with George W. Bush and Dick Cheney’s miscalculations during their time in office.
Sunday, on an episode of State of the Union, Sanders sat down with CNN’s Candy Crowley and weighed in on the rise of ISIS and threats beyond its regional stronghold, according to Crooks and Liars. The senator attempted to put the proliferation of the Islamic extremist group in perspective by deflecting the blame away from Obama and onto the Bush Administration. He assails George W. Bush’s for his “blunders” while in office, and suggests his decision to engage in a war in Iraq and Afghanistan after 911 is why the Islamic State terrorist group is thriving today.
“It is very easy to criticize the president. But this is an enormously complicated issue. We are here today because of the disastrous blunder of the Bush-Cheney era, which got us into this war in Iraq in the first place, which then developed the can of worms that we’re trying to deal with right now.
“We have been at war for 12 years, we have spent trillions of dollars. We have 500,000 men and women who have come home with PTSD and [traumatic brain injuries]. What I do not want, and what I fear very much is the United States getting sucked into a quagmire, and being involved in perpetual warfare year after year after year. That is my fear.”
Senator Sanders says that the United States’ involvement in the religious and political unrest overseas is merely enabling Arab nations and its partners to adopt neutral stances. He says the “war” on ISIS cannot be fought successfully without a concerted effort from allies and strategic partners of America.
“Saudi Arabia is the fourth largest defense spender in the world. They have an army which is probably seven times larger than ISIS, they have a major air force. Their country is run by a royal family worth hundreds of billions of dollars.”
Sanders, while still considered a junior senator (elected in 2006), served in Congress for 16 years. In fact, Sen. Sanders is considered the longest-serving Independent member of the House of Representatives in history, according to his website bio.
Although the outspoken senator has not confirmed a presidential run for the 2016 Elections, many say his increasing appearances on radio and television are subtle indicators that he, like Hillary Clinton, is weighing his chances for a successful campaign. Some critics of his voting record suggest that his constant weighing in on issues pertaining to the crisis in the Middle East is an attempt to look presidential beyond domestic issues that he supports in his five committee roles in the Senate.
“If there’s a lot of independents that choose the Democratic ballot in the primary, then Sanders would have a good chance over Clinton in the Vermont primary. And if it’s going to be Democrats voting only, then I think he’s got a tougher hill to climb,” said Rich Clark of the Castleton Polling Institute.
Who is to blame for the ISIS terrorist group — Bush and Cheney or Obama? Should Middle Eastern governments do more to destroy the Islamic State’s reign of terror, or should they remain on the sidelines over fears of a refugee crisis and lone wolves cropping up on their own soils?
[Image via: JSOnline]