Sen. Bernie Sanders on Friday said he’s “deeply concerned” that President Donald Trump’s unilateral military action against the Syrian government will once again drag the U.S. “into the quagmire of long-term military engagement in the Middle East.”
Questioning Trump’s motives, the Vermont senator and former presidential candidate said the president “must explain to the American people exactly what this military escalation in Syria is intended to achieve, and how it fits into the broader goal of a political solution, which is the only way Syria’s devastating civil war ends.”
Sanders’ statement, issued one day after Trump launched the strikes, stands in contrast to many of his Democratic colleagues who voiced support for the air assault that killed civilians, including children.
Though he declared President Bashar al-Assad a “war criminal” for his alleged use of chemical weapons, and for killing “hundreds of thousands of his own citizens to protect his own power and wealth,” Sanders cautioned that it is the role of the U.S. as “the most powerful nation on earth” to “work with the international community to bring peace and stability to Syria.”
“If there’s anything we should’ve learned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in which the lives of thousands of brave American men and women and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan civilians have been lost and trillions of dollars spent,” Sanders continued, “it’s that it’s easier to get into a war than get out of one.”
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The response came as the United Nations Security Council met to discuss the U.S. strikes, which marked the first direct assault by the U.S. against the Syrian government. The emergency meeting was requested by Russia.
Earlier this week, the UN’s Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic had launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the alleged attack, saying at the time that “it is imperative for perpetrators…to be identified and held accountable.”
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