Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Sunday told CNN host Candy Crowley that it was easy to criticize President Barack Obama’s fight against ISIS in Iraq, but he reminded her that it was President George Bush’s “disastrous blunder” that allowed the extremists group to get a foothold in the first place.
In a interview on CNN’s State of the Union, Sanders agreed that ISIS had to be defeated, but he said that “the people of America are getting sick and tired of the world and region — Saudi Arabia and the other countries — saying, ‘Hey, we don’t have to do anything about it. The American taxpayer, the American soldiers will do all the work for us.'”
“Saudi Arabia is the fourth largest defense spender in the world,” he pointed out. “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 said that if the battle was perceived as the United States vs. ISIS then “we’re going to lose that war.”
“This is a war for the soul of Islam, and the Muslim nations must be deeply involved,” he insisted. “And to the degree the developed countries are involved, it should be the U.K., France, Germany, other countries as well.”
Crowley wondered if the Vermont senator agreed with the president’s handling of the conflict so far: “Is that too far for you or just about right?”
“It is very easy to criticize the president,” Sanders replied. “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,” he added. “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.”
Watch the video below CNN’s State of the Union, broadcast Oct. 12, 2014.