Bernie Sanders became the first major presidential candidate to say what most of us were thinking: Regardless of whether or not the administration’s claim about Iran attacking oil tankers is true, there’s very good reason to doubt it. For background, two Japanese oil tankers were attacked last Thursday in the Gulf of Oman, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was quick to blame Iran. And look, he may be right! But there are some nagging present-day inconsistencies, such as the fact that the Japanese operator himself contradicted U.S. intelligence claims about mines, and some historical ones, such as the fact that our two most disastrous modern wars, Vietnam and Iraq, began with similar dubious claims of aggression.
Sanders is well aware of this history, and not afraid to cast doubt on Pompeo, John Bolton, and Donald Trump himself. Here’s the relevant excerpt from his interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell earlier this week:
MITCHELL: You don’t accept — let me just ask you don’t accept the declaration from the Secretary of State?
SANDERS: No, I don’t. It needs to be an objective investigation. As you know the Japanese — in fact, the owner of the tanker that was attacked disagrees with Trump. But here’s the main point I want to make. If you look at the recent history of this country, I think we understand that the two worst foreign policy disasters were based on lies that came from the White House. You remember the so-called Gulf of Tonkin incident that led us to increase military involvement in Vietnam. Man, I could speak — that was my generation. 59,000 brave young men never came home from that war. Tens of thousands more died, committed suicide, got into drugs when they came home. That was based on a lie.
Again, this is a matter of wanting to find all the answers before we let this administration drag us into war, which appears inevitable and might even include plans for a limited bombing campaign…already! Iran may be responsible for the tanker attacks, but even if they are, is it worth starting a war?
Obviously, the answer is no—Iran has essentially been backed into a corner by what passes for U.S. “diplomacy” (read: endless bad-faith maneuvers, starting with the nuclear deal withdrawal and continuing with damaging sanctions, all of which reflect an administration hellbent on regime change and war), and after watching the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq play out, no American should look on this next adventure as anything but an impending disaster. It’s nice, considering that reality, to see at least one major candidate cast doubt on Trump and his cronies—a group of men who won’t let a thing like honesty get in the way of a good war.
Watch the full appearance here: