Monday, July 27, 2015

If Bernie Sanders was against the invasion of Iraq, why did he repeatedly vote to fund it?

 
Why is Bernie Sanders so popular? Because unlike the other candidates, he doesn't spend a lot of time talking about foreign affairs. Bernie Sanders isn't harping on about ISIS or Russia - instead, he's talking about social security and taxes. He's talking about health insurance and fighting Wall Street. He's talking about the struggle of everyday Americans and fighting the rich.

Because he says what people want to hear, he's doing well in the polls. As a result, the ship that is Bernie Sanders has come blasting across the sea with a mighty net outstretched in the water to scoop up otherwise disinterested or discouraged voters and keep them within the framework of the current political system. Like Rand Paul on the Republican side, Bernie has positioned himself to be the "outsider" candidate for the Democrats, supposedly standing in opposition to his "rival" Hillary Clinton. I use the word "supposedly" and put "rival" in quotations because this alleged competition between Hillary and Bernie is more artificial than Dick Cheney's heart. This is because, first and foremost, Bernie has agreed to support Hillary if he doesn't get the Democratic nomination, a point that should leave room for serious pause.

When Bernie Sanders took to the Senate floor on June 28, 2011, he used the word "corporation" 44 times. The word "bank" appears 14 times. The word "rich" appears 22 times. Most of these words were used negatively, and yet they are all deeply associated with Hillary Clinton, who has maintained her political career by taking cash from corporations, banks, and other super-rich special interests. Therefore, if Bernie wanted to truly strike off as an independent candidate, he would be attacking her on all of these points. Instead, we hear things such as, "I like Hillary Clinton. I have a lot of respect for Hillary Clinton." Instead, we get a willingness to endorse Hillary - a willingness that stretches back to 1992, where Bernie endorsed her husband, Bill Clinton, and later, John Kerry and Barack Obama. Some might argue that this is merely political posturing, or somehow "necessary" for him to win, but if he's selling out to get into the White House, can it really be considered a victory once he's in it? Bernie's willingness to endorse Hillary Clinton - the very embodiment of everything he is famous for speaking out against - should be a betrayal to his supporters on the magnitude of, say, Rand Paul's willingness to endorse Mitt Romney.

The Sanders campaign and US news networks have done a brilliant job keeping his pact with Clinton - and Bernie's other past endorsements - dead, buried, and out of the public's view. But the massive emphasis on his domestic policies is designed to not only hide his obedient submission to the Democratic Party establishment, but more alarmingly, to the military-industrial complex.

Here are some highlights from his voting record, (mostly) via votesmart.org:

In 1993, Bernie voted YEA on HR 2446 - Military Construction Fiscal Year 1994 Appropriations Bill, which provided $3.63 billion for military construction.

That same year, he also voted in favor of S J Res 45 - Authorization for Use of US Armed Forces in Somalia, which authorized President Bill Clinton to use US troops in Somalia for the purpose of providing logistical support to the United Nations peacekeeping force.

In 1994, Bernie voted in favor of HR 4453 - Military Construction FY95 Appropriations bill, which provided $2.52 billion for military construction.

To his credit, Bernie voted in 1995 for H Res 247 - Bosnia Troop Deployment Resolution, which expressed the intention of the United States to withhold the use of ground forces in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and to require approval from Congress before any ground forces are deployed. Yet, as later votes would show, Bernie's opposition to ground forces doesn't necessarily mean opposition to overall military intervention.

The following year, Bernie voted in favor of HR 3107 - Iran and Libya Sanctions Act of 1996, which "imposes sanctions on persons exporting certain goods or technology that would enhance Iran's ability to explore for, extract, refine, or transport by pipeline petroleum resources, and for other purposes."

In 1997, Bernie voted for HR 2159 - Foreign Operations FY98 Appropriations bill, which included: $3 billion for Israel, including $1.8 billion in military assistance and $1.2 billion in economic assistance; $2.12 billion for Egypt, including $1.3 billion in military assistance and $815 million in economic assistance; $770 million for former Soviet Republics; and $215 million for international narcotics control and law enforcement.

He also voted for HR 4059 - Military Construction FY99 Appropriations bill, which provided $2.82 billion for general military construction.

In 1998, Bernie's name was included as a YEA vote on HR 4655, the Iraqi Liberation Act of 1998, which expressed the sense of Congress that it should be the aim of the United States to remove Saddam Hussein from power. President George W. Bush later used the Iraqi Liberation Act to provide justification for military action for the 2003 invasion.

In 1999, Bernie voted for HR 2465, which provided $4 billion for military construction, and he voted for HR 3196, which provided: $2.16 billion for military and economic assistance to Israel; $760 million for military and economic assistance to Egypt; $535 million for Eastern European and the Baltic States, including $150 million for assistance to Kosovo; $300 million for military and economic assistance to Jordan; and $285 million for international narcotics control.

Writes Ron Jacobs of Counter Punch, 3/31/2003:

"For those of us with a memory longer than the average US news reporter, we can remember Bernie's staunch support for Clinton's 100-day bombing of Yugoslavia and Kosovo in 1999. I served as a support person for a dozen or so Vermonters who sat-in in his Burlington office a couple weeks into that war. Not only did Sanders refuse to talk with us via telephone (unlike his Vermont counterparts in the Senate-Leahy and Jeffords), he had his staff call the local police to arrest those who refused to leave until Sanders spoke with them. The following week Sanders held a town hall meeting in Montpelier, VT., where he surrounded himself with sympathetic war supporters and one university professor who opposed the war and Bernie's support for it. During the question and answer part of the meeting, Sanders yelled at two of the audience's most vocal opponents to his position and told them to leave if they didn't like what he had to say."

In 2001, Bernie supported HR 1954, which extended the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act of 1996.

Following the 9/11 attacks, Bernie voted in favor of H J Res 64 - Authorization for Use of Military Force, which allowed President Bush to use the United States Armed Forces against anyone involved with 9/11 and any nation that harbors these individuals.

It should be noted that this measure was passed by an overwhelming vote of 420-1. Even the passionately anti-interventionist Ron Paul supported HJ Res 64.

In 2002, Bernie voted against H J Res 114, which authorized President Bush to use military force against Iraq.

However, he would continue to support bloated military defense bills that would ultimately be used to sustain the war he allegedly disagreed with.

In 2003, Bernie supported HR 5010, which provided $355.1 billion in appropriations for the Defense Department for fiscal year 2003 - an increase of $37.5 billion from 2002 - as well as: $71.6 billion for procurement of aircraft, missiles, weapons, combat vehicles and shipbuilding; $7.4 billion for ballistic missile defense; and $58.4 million for foreign aid, which includes humanitarian assistance, foreign disaster relief and de-mining programs.

He also voted in favor of HR 2800 - Foreign Operations Appropriations, FY 2004 bill, which granted $1.8 billion in military and economic assistance to Egypt and $2.2 billion for Israeli military assistance.

In 2004, Bernie supported HR 4613, which allocated $25 billion for emergency defense spending for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and $77.4 billion for the procurement of new weapons.

In 2005, Sanders supported HR 2863 - Defense Department FY2006 Appropriations Bill, which provided $50 billion for ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 2006, Bernie voted for HR 5631, which provided $70 billion for ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 2007, he supported HR 1585 - National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, which granted $187.14 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan operations.

In 2009, he voted in favor of HR 2647, which authorized $309 million for research and evaluation, procurement, or deployment of an alternative Missile Defense System in Europe, and also allowed the Secretary of Defense to increase the active-duty number for the US Army to a number greater than otherwise allowed by law up to the 2010 baseline plus 30,000 troops.

During the same year, he called closing the torturous gulag at Guantanamo a "complicated issue" and ultimately rejected a proposal to shut it down.

In 2011, Bernie co-sponsored S. Res. 85, which urged the UN Security Council to take action to protect civilians in Libya from attack, including the possible imposition of a no-fly zone over Libyan territory.

In 2014, Bernie came out in favor of levying economic sanctions (an act of war) against Russia: "The entire world has got to stand up to Putin," he said. "We've got to deal with sanctions."

Bernie also didn't object to having his name included - by unanimous consent - in S.498, which backed Israel's brutal, summer-long military assault against Gaza.

Some time after, Bernie was berated by his supporters at a town hall meeting for supporting Israel, an exchange that included Sanders screaming at the audience to "shut up" and threatening them with police force.

Later that year, Bernie came out in favor of airstrikes against ISIS. He is also in favor of shipping armaments to the Kurds in Iraq for the purpose of fighting off terror groups, a failed strategy that the Obama administration implemented with the Syrian "rebels" some years prior. "I think we should arm them," Sanders said during a CNN interview. "Even that's a difficult issue - to make sure that the people that we arm today don't turn against us tomorrow. But I think providing arms for those people who we can trust and providing air support is in fact something we should be doing."

Today, Sanders is a presidential candidate. As mentioned previously, he has stated he is not running against Hillary, and worse, that he will endorse her if he fails to obtain the Democratic Party nomination. He has also up until the publication of this article managed - quite masterfully - to largely avoid talking about his foreign policy positions.

The reasons for this are speculative, but one might suspect that it has to do with his spotty, often-hypocritical record. In the same way that Bernie speaks out against corporate cronyism, yet agrees to endorse Hillary Clinton - the Queen of Corporate Cronyism - Bernie has a habit of directly coming out against wars but then finding indirect ways to support them. He didn't back troops being sent to Bosnia, but he favored airstrikes. Bernie voted against the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but then supported bills which allocated money towards the occupation. He says he doesn't want war with Iran, yet he has supported sanctions in the past, and continues to accuse Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons, even as US and Israeli intelligence agencies say otherwise.

Maybe Chris Hedges and others are right in suggesting that Bernie is a "sheepdog" for the Clinton campaign, and maybe his primary purpose is to energize voters before dropping out and encouraging them to support her. Or perhaps he is planning to break the trend of Democratic endorsements and forge a new path. But whatever the case may be, one thing remains true: his positions when it comes to foreign affairs are nothing new or unique. On that front, Bernie is just the same as nearly every other US politician. He's an imperialist. He thinks it's America's job to play Team America: World Police. Using our tax dollars, he has joined with warmongers in both political parties and condoned - directly or indirectly - some of the most gruesome US foreign policy decisions in decades.

All the more reason for him to keep our attention focused elsewhere. As Bruce Gagnon - coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space - said after attending a 2015 speech by Sanders, "I left wondering how many people noticed that he never once mentioned military and foreign policy. It's rather hard to imagine making a speech to 9,000 people and asking them to vote for you to be president but avoiding the elephant in the middle of the room. The Pentagon now rakes in 55% of every discretionary tax dollar so you'd think that would be on the table as a campaign issue. But it's not, which makes me more than alarmed."

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See also:

Socialists are rejecting Bernie Sanders like libertarians are rejecting Rand Paul - Bernie Sanders is a socialist, Rand Paul is a libertarian, and the moon is made of cheese

If Rand Paul is an "outsider" to the establishment, why is the establishment endorsing him? - John McCain said he would vote for Rand Paul in 2016 - but that's only the tip of the iceberg

US news networks are giving 2016 candidates a free pass by focusing on bullshit scandals - US news networks are giving 2016 candidates a free pass by focusing on bullshit scandals

Why the 2014 US midterm election saw the worst voter turnout in 72 years - Until the corporate-dominated status quo is altered, voting will be nothing more than a charade

Ten major ways Rand Paul and Hillary Clinton are exactly the same - These two might seem dramatically opposed, but as was the case with previous elections, the two candidates actually have much more in common than one may originally be led to believe

Rand Paul sounds like pre-election Obama and Bush on pot legalization - When it comes to the War on Drugs, Rand Paul has taken a page from 1999 Bush and 2004 Obama

Republicans and Democrats are George Orwell's worst nightmare - Whatever the Party holds to be the truth, is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party

Democrats claim to care about LGBT rights while Obama chills with violent homophobes - As tends to be the case with partisan-minded individuals, reality is all too often clouded by hopeful delusions

The White House petition section and illusions of a responsive government - With their approval rates plummeting, US officials create and promote an online petition website in a desperate attempt to keep the public at bay

Warmakers favored Obama over his Republican opponents in both elections - While Republican candidates in general still hold the support of the defense sector, in terms of the 2012 Presidential Election, they placed their bets on Barack

Liar-in-Chief: An integrity analysis of Bush and Obama - Politicians have been mercilessly manipulating the public for decades, long before empty promises of "Hope/Change" and a "humble foreign policy"

A brief history of George W. Obama - Did George W. Bush really leave office in January, 2009, or have we had the same President since January, 2001?

Both Republicans and Democrats are whores for Big Pharma - The 2012 documentary, "American Addict", offers its audience an in-depth look at lobbying efforts by some of the largest and most powerful pharmaceutical corporations in the United States

CNN's unhealthy addiction to ratings - CNN's interest in a topic only extends so far as the subject can be exploited to garner ratings for the network

Six propagandistic terms used by the media that every American needs to know about - Our wars? "Humanitarian". Our enemies? "Militants" and "Terrorists". Our news? Sourced by anonymous "Officials". The American media is Orwell's worst nightmare

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32 comments:

  1. Because by God if the government is going to send our young folks to war I want them to have the fucking funding they need to have the equipment they need, the trauma centers they need, the transportation they need, the food they need,the communications they need and the weapons they need to fight the enemy. What ass hole would want them to go to war without it?

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    1. Your worship of Bernie Sanders has caused you to miss the whole point. That's the problem with you Sanders Zombies.

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    2. Soundmethod, don't waste your time on this obvious bullshit. There will be more idiots like this to come and they too will fade like a small fart in a large room ...

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    3. #bernvictims are as duplicitous as teabaggers. Hold everyone else responsible for votes like these but not Bernie. Praise Bernie for attending a march decades ago (as if most of us didn't, without thinking that qualifies us to be president) but wave off those rape essays written after that because that was a long time ago (as if others were writing ridiculous things like that and, combined with his dismal record of zero accomplishments, this doesn't make him at the very least questionable as a candidate).

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    4. EXACTLY! Bernie Sanders did NOT vote for this War which was predicated on a pack of Bush lies but unlike Bush he still cared enough for the men and women being sent into this bullshit war to make sure they had the supplies they needed which assholes like DICK Cheney's Haliburton decided to royally FUCK the American Taxpayers over by not even providing HumVee's that actually had armor plating. You fucking hillbilly Teanuts need to serious pull your ignorant fucking heads out of your primary points of contact and stop voting against your own interests! Unless you are a MILLIONAIRE you have NO business voting for Republicans!

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    5. This guy is sponsored by the Republicans to disrupt Hillary's chances of winning.
      A guy with his temper has no business being President. He can't even keep his composure during a debate or when someone challenges him.He is a fraud. In over 20 years only three bills he sponsored got passed and none of them were significant. People are emotionally behind this guy and not reviewing his background or credentials. Check his voting history in terms of the military,
      the Brady bill and his continued personal attacks on Clinton.



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  2. War? What wat? Congress hasn't declared war since ww2.... These so called wars were attacks on sovereign nations... all the while using depleted uranium weapons that will keep killing for millions of years... And for those that don't know, (which is most of the sheeple in the USA) depleted uranium has a half life of about 4.2 BILLION YEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. That is a God Damned LIE! Either that or you really are that fucking stupid! Bush got Congressional Approval to go into Iraq based on a pack of lies you idiot!

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. Yeh know, I noticed something strange about this list. There are few things where it says he voted YEA. The rest it just says he voted for whatever, and it says nothing about if he voted YEA or NAH......CAUGHT YAH!

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  5. Cool blog! So many comments since posting it in July -- THREE! I admire your creatively making shit up.

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    1. Cute. You are so confident with your fact-checking that you had to post as anonymous. If you think the lack of comments means this hasn't been shared and discussed elsewhere, you are wrong. I didn't know this blog existed until today, when I found a link somewhere where many people were discussing - and fact-checking. Will let you know how that turns out as soon as we've actually done the work that you want fools to think you maybe, just might have thought about doing.

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  6. Very unimpressive attempt to falsely portray Sanders as the same as the others on foreign policy. While I don't agree with Sanders on all of his foreign policy views, I will be voting for him in the Democratic presidential primary because he is focused like a laser beam on economic inequality and getting money out of politics. All political change will flow from there.

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    1. Please, Tom, explain how being focused like a laser beam for decades without accomplishing anything (unless you believe renaming post offices will change the world) impresses you. And, if you don't mind, tell us how this man who has accomplished nothing in all these years will suddenly be able to accomplish anything when he has no friends, no diplomacy, and is feeble?

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    2. Who says he hasn't accomplished anything? You assume he hasn't. Nobody spends the amount of time serving the people the way has without doing something.

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  7. I followed a link to another piece, thought it was pretty good, and then went to the homepage, saw this piece, and began reading this.

    I have no words. Fuck this blog. Making shit up to fit your agenda, and the obvious logic fail in understanding the context of the votes, pointed out by Soundmethod, leaves me with no faith in the integrity of any future postings.

    Jesus

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  8. I followed a link to another piece, thought it was pretty good, and then went to the homepage, saw this piece, and began reading this.

    I have no words. Fuck this blog. Making shit up to fit your agenda, and the obvious logic fail in understanding the context of the votes, pointed out by Soundmethod, leaves me with no faith in the integrity of any future postings.

    Jesus

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  9. Even if Sanders voted YEA on a few military things, he is 80% less of a warmonger than the rest of the fools (with the exception of Rand Paul). I guess you want me to hope for peace voting for Hillary, or better yet, one of the GOP. He isn't perfect but he's the best option.

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  10. because if we are going to send our military to war, even if he didnt agree with it, he;ll be damed if he'll see our men and women in uniform underfunded

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  11. Because he's going to vote to take care of our soldiers. You must be a special kind of stupid to not understand that. Vetsforbernie.com

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    1. Exactly. I wish I could give your comment a like. you don't send in soldiers and just drop them off. Bernie didn't want to send them in the first place but, once there, he supports them! And he also supports them when they return, hence why so many veterans like my dad, my uncle and cousins love and trust Bernie. This entire "article" is nothing but a misleading smear.

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  12. You also are a baldfaced liar if you say he has accomplished nothing.

    http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/bernie-gets-it-done-sanders-record-pushing-through-major-reforms-will-surprise-you

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  13. What you are saying is true. The next questions I would like you to address is this: considering the entire record, who is more of a war hawk, Bernard Sanders or Hillary Clinton? And then: who is more of a war hawk, Bernard Sanders or Donald Trump? These are serious questions facing voters today.

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  14. As a veteran, if you support leaving troops in combat with no funding is a good thing, I invite you to experience combat with nothing to fight back with. It is unpleasant. He voted against the whole war TWICE, but if the war is going on he wantd to keep our soldiers as safe as possible. There is a special place in hell for people that think that cutting funding for the troops is a good way to protest the war. All that does is means more Americans will be coming home in body bags, and more families will suffer. As a veteran, I support Bernie...just like most other vets I know.

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  15. As a veteran, if you support leaving troops in combat with no funding is a good thing, I invite you to experience combat with nothing to fight back with. It is unpleasant. He voted against the whole war TWICE, but if the war is going on he wantd to keep our soldiers as safe as possible. There is a special place in hell for people that think that cutting funding for the troops is a good way to protest the war. All that does is means more Americans will be coming home in body bags, and more families will suffer. As a veteran, I support Bernie...just like most other vets I know.

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  16. Bernie sanders has never once sat in complete opposition of war and military spending... no presidential candidate in their right mind would do that democrat or republican. that would be completely irresponsible. people forget that any politician in foreign policy has the responsibility to aid in military actions to defend our country, to protect our allies, to aid in stopping terrorist organisations, and to provide the funding to guarantee that our troops have the supplies and protection to do so. Bernie Sanders is no different. He may be opposed to some of the military decisions of certain presidents (*cough* *Bush* *cough*), but he would never leave our troops empty handed. In fact, in his most recent debate with Hillary, he openly stated that he would support the troops fighting against ISIS with aided air strikes, however, he opposes our troops fighting on the front lines because this is a Religious conflict between the Sunni and SHI'ITE nations, and Muslim troops should be fighting on the ground. The reason why Bernie isn't focusing on foreign affairs is because he is more preoccupied with his efforts to fix this countries terrible and corrupt lobbyist government, stop the corruption in Wall Street, fix the nations healthcare system, fix the education system and end student loan debt, and encourage the nations youth and middle class to vote for representatives in the electoral college who will make this happen. Do I agree with his decision to support Hillary if he doesn't become the candidate to run for the election? No, but to stay in a position of power close to lawmaking it's in his best interest. All this said, Bernie is the most electable candidate that we have seen in a long time, and I support him entirely.

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  17. This is such a bullshit article.

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  18. Puritans posing as socialists who put all their energy into disparaging Bernie while ignoring the remaining candidates should not be taken seriously.

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  19. It's truly hard to understand how anyone could be so damn stupid as to even ask this question. The war was on. Should Bernie not support our troops. Morons

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  20. It's truly hard to understand how anyone could be so damn stupid as to even ask this question. The war was on. Should Bernie not support our troops. Morons

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