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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 11/12/15

Bernie, War & the Empire's Pie

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Sanders promises to give liberals a piece of the Empire's pie
Sanders promises to give liberals a piece of the Empire's pie
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As candidates prepare for Saturday's Democratic presidential debate in Iowa, it will be interesting to see how Bernie Sanders continues the ruse of promoting himself as a peace candidate.

It will be even more interesting to see if Sanders supporters continue to give him a free pass on foreign policy issues simply because they align with his social and economic agenda.

Yeah, Bernie is pro-war
Based on his responses during the first debate and statements posted on his website, Sanders is clearly not the anti-war candidate he claims to be.

"I supported the war in Afghanistan. I supported President Clinton's effort to deal with ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. I support air strikes in Syria and what the president is trying to do," stated Sanders during the first debate.

"Yes, I happen to believe from the bottom of my heart that war should be the last resort, that we have got to exercise diplomacy. But yes, I am prepared to take this country into war if that is necessary," said Sanders, jumping at the chance to make sure everyone knows that he is not opposed to war.

Fortunately for Sanders - who is hoping to court anti-war Democrats and Independents - he wasn't asked if he supports the Saudi Arabian dictatorship's invasion of Yemen (he does).

Nor was he asked if he supports the coup government in Ukraine (he does).

And he wasn't asked about his position on Israel/Palestine (he typically votes for funding to Israel and supported their 2014 war on Gaza).

Maybe in Saturday's second debate Sanders will be asked about his belligerent and misguided position on Russia. Just like other presidential candidates, Sanders demonizes Russia and says that although he'd prefer to deal with them diplomatically, "force should be the last option we use." In other words, war with Russia is on the table for Bernie.

Champion of working class Americans (not working class Russians or Iranians)
Sanders supports economic sanctions on Russia as a means of dealing with Russian "aggression." The irony of Sanders supporting economic sanctions that harm the working class of Russia is obviously lost on Sanders-backers in the U.S. who put him on a pedestal for being a champion of the American working class.

Sanders also said that economic sanctions should be levied again on Iran if it doesn't follow the rules of the recently agreed upon nuclear pact. Sanders must not care about the working class in Iran, given that poverty there rose from 22% to more than 40% during the first year and half of U.S. sanctions.

And although he doesn't appear to be quite as hawkish on Iran as other candidates, Sanders still repeats the party line that "it is imperative that Iran not get a nuclear weapon," without saying that the U.S. will first give up all of its nuclear weapons before telling another country what it can or can't do.

'Give me a piece of the Empire's pie'
From an anti-war perspective, Sanders is bad on Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Ukraine, Palestine, Russia and Iran. But since he's not quite as bad as the other presidential candidates, many liberals are lining up to support him because of his positions on social and economic issues, and because he is one of the few people speaking out against Citizens United.

And, of course, people are really excited about Sanders because he has a track record of trying to redistribute wealth in America.

And that's the bottom line for many liberals. As long as Bernie gives them a bigger piece of the American Empire's pie they are fine with him being pro-war.

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Chris Ernesto is cofounder of St. Pete for Peace, an antiwar organization in St. Petersburg, FL that has been active since 2003. Mr. Ernesto also created and manages OccupyArrests.com and USinAfrica.com.

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