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Sanders: US must avoid 'perpetual war' in Syria
01:45 - Source: CNN

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Sanders opposes US military involvement in the Middle East

He said the strikes were not a way to end the crisis

Washington CNN  — 

The US must not get involved in “perpetual warfare in the Middle East,” Sen. Bernie Sanders said Sunday in explaining why he was one of the few senators to oppose the recent US missile strike on Syria.

In an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Jake Tapper, the Vermont independent said the key to ousting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was to forgo unilateral action and instead convince Russia and Iran to withdraw their support for the dictator at the heart of the more than six-year-long war.

“Assad has got to go. ISIS has got to be defeated,” Sanders said. “But I do not want to see the United States get sucked into perpetual warfare in the Middle East, see our men and women get killed, trillions of dollars being spent.”

The senator who ran unsuccessfully in last year’s Democratic presidential primary brought up the US military’s ongoing presence in Afghanistan and Iraq, saying the US could be “dragged into another war” to the detriment of domestic priorities.

“We have got to start paying attention to the needs back home,” Sanders said. “The war in Iraq was the worst blunder in the modern history of this country – precipitated mass instability. We cannot continue to make those mistakes.”

President Donald Trump greenlit a cruise missile strike earlier this month on an Assad airbase after the US said the Syrian president used chemical weapons to slaughter civilians. Many politicians on both sides of the aisle hailed Trump’s action.

Asked about support for the strike from within the Democratic Party and even former Obama administration officials, Sanders said the Syria strike, as well as the US dropping one of its largest non-nuclear bombs in Afghanistan, were ineffective for problems that required a multilateral, diplomatic solution.