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“Never As Consistently Anti-Intervention As Advertised”: Vetting Bernie: He Never Voted For Intervention In Iraq — Except Twice

The only topic that preoccupies Bernie Sanders more than income inequality is his vote against authorization of war in Iraq, which he mentions at every debate and whenever anyone questions his foreign policy credentials. Fair enough: Sanders turned out to be right on that vote and Hillary Clinton has admitted that she was wrong to trust George W. Bush.

But the socialist Vermont senator is under fresh scrutiny today on the (further) left, where his support for intervention in Bosnia and Afghanistan has raised sharp questions. In Counter-Punch, the online magazine founded by the late Alexander Cockburn, his longtime collaborator Jeffrey St. Clair complains that even on Iraq, Sanders is a “hypocrite” who was never as consistently anti-intervention as advertised:

In 1998 Sanders voted in favor of the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, which said: “It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime.”

Later that same year, Sanders also backed a resolution that stated: “Congress reaffirms that it should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic  government to replace that regime.”

According to St. Clair, Sanders has dismissed those votes as “almost unanimous,” but that implies an absurdly elastic definition of the term. Looking up the actual vote, St. Clair found that 38 members of varying ideology and party affiliation voted no. To him, this means Sanders should be held responsible for the bombing campaign that followed, as well as the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children who allegedly perished as a result of US sanctions (which seems to absolve the late dictator of any culpability for the sanctions regime, but never mind).

Certainly it is fair to ask Sanders — who strives to distance himself from his rival on foreign and security policy – why he cast those fateful votes to support Bill Clinton’s Iraq policy in 1998.


By: Joe Conason, Editor in Chief, Editor’s Blog, The National Memo, February 17, 2016

February 18, 2016 - Posted by | Bernie Sanders, Foreign Policy, Iraq War | , , , , , , , ,


  1. That’s what all the Hillary supporters say! And, you are supposedly the “adult” in the room??


    Comment by lrfalstad | February 22, 2016 | Reply

  2. List of X is correct. Now, why don’t you write an article about Hillary’s responsibility for the killings and displacement of more than 10 million Syrians?? No need to go over her vote for the Iraq war!


    Comment by lrfalstad | February 19, 2016 | Reply

    • As we all should know, only Congress can declare war. I don’t believe Hillary was ever given that authority for any of the events in Syria. That, I would expect you to know.


      Comment by raemd95 | February 19, 2016 | Reply

      • Again, I was commenting to the author of the article written. I never said Hillary declared war on anyone. I was referring to the claim she made that she was involved in an agreement with Syria, which is untrue. Read the article by Jeffrey Sachs at Columbia University for facts. That, I would expect you to know!


        Comment by lrfalstad | February 20, 2016

      • Understood. As Sec of State, Hillary Clinton was involved in those negotiations. As regards, Jeffrey Sachs himself, he noted that the growing refugee crisis in Europe, must run through the United Nations Security Council. It is not a single country issue. That I do know.


        Comment by raemd95 | February 20, 2016

      • You did not address what Sachs wrote that I was commenting on. Sachs wrote Hillary was not telling the truth about Syria and what actually happened. If you choose to comment on something else and ignore that, I see no reason for further comments!


        Comment by lrfalstad | February 21, 2016

      • Sachs gave his opinion, one not grounded in fact, and proven over and over by many others. You choose what you would like to believe. I will waste no more of my time on childish behavior and conspiracy theorists.


        Comment by raemd95 | February 21, 2016

  3. I think there is a big difference between voting for an actual military invasion of Iraq and voting for resolution calling for removal of Saddam where military involvement is limited to training and providing arms.
    I’m sure the author would be able to see such distinctions clearly if the conversation was about Clinton.


    Comment by List of X | February 18, 2016 | Reply

    • I think you make a very valid point.There is a difference as you have noted.


      Comment by raemd95 | February 18, 2016 | Reply

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