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Bernie Sanders says Saudi Arabia and Turkey need to take the lead in the Middle East crisis
by Nathan'ette Burdine: September 14, 2015 

During an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” with Chuck Todd, Sen. Bernie Sanders echoed the Obama Administration’s belief that Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and surrounding Middle Eastern countries need to take the lead role in defeating the terrorist group ISIS.

Sanders said, “-countries like Saudi Arabia, which has the third largest military budget in the world, Turkey, other countries are going to have to get their hands dirty and have to get on the ground in taking on ISIS. I believe strongly the United States, the UK, France, other countries should be supportive.”

Sanders told Todd that he is not surprised about the destabilization in Iraq and Syria, and that he warned it would occur.

Despite his view on the war in Iraq, Sanders would not point blame at former President George W. Bush or at President Obama for his reaction to the situations in Iraq and Syria.

The senator said that the best way to deal with the destabilization in the region is to move forward and to handle the current problems.

Sanders told Todd, “So I think really the issue now is not who is at fault. The issue is now what we do. And what we do is bring the region together- But I disagree that the United States should have combat troops in that area.”

Sanders went on to say that although he does not support using the U.S. military to fight wars, he does support using the military for humanitarian purposes and to capture international criminals like the late Osama bin Laden.

Sanders cited humanitarian reasons as why he voted for the Kosovo and Afghanistan Wars. Todd questioned if the mass exodus of Syrian citizens from Syria is a sign that the Syria situation is “a humanitarian crisis.”

Sanders responded that the Syrian situation hasn’t reached that level. He also warned the Republicans that they are slated to make the same mistakes they made before if they successfully push for a war in Syria.

Sanders said, “But let me be very clear. I am very concerned about a lot of the war talk that I’m hearing from my Republican colleagues of who have apparently forgotten the cost of war and the errors made in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

He ended by saying that although he is not against war, he believes that the U.S. should use its power to peacefully “resolve international conflicts” and that war should be the “last” option.

Sanders is quoted as saying, “And what I believe Chuck, very much, is that the most powerful military on earth, the United States of America, that our government should do everything that we can to resolve international conflict in a way that does not require war. Sometimes, using military force is necessary, but I think it should be the last resort not the first resort.”

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