US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) makes a point during the Democratic presidential primary debate at Drake University on January 14, 2020 in Des Moines, Iowa. (AFP photo)
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has said he is concerned that US President Donald Trump is peddling lies that could spark a war with Iran which would be worse than the Iraq War.
“What we have to face as a nation is that the two great foreign policy disasters of our lifetimes were the war in Vietnam and the war in Iraq. Both of those wars were based on lies,” Sanders said at Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential primary debate.
“And right now, what I fear very much is we have a president who is lying again and could drag us into a war that is even worse than the war in Iraq,” he added.
Sanders, who has risen to near the top of polls of the Democratic field in early voting states, has opposed the Iraq War and is speaking against the Trump administration’s warmongering against Iran.
Tensions between the US and Iran have skyrocketed in recent weeks after the US military carried out an airstrike on the order of Trump at Baghdad’s international airport January 3, assassinating General Soleimani and the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, as well as eight other companions. Iran responded by launching missiles at Iraqi military bases that house US troops.
US officials have made confusing remarks about what prompted Trump to order the assassination.
After the president claimed that the strikes were conducted to prevent an “imminent” attack, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the operation was part of a “bigger strategy of deterrence.”
Pentagon Chief Mark Esper, on the other hand, said he there was “no intelligence forewarning of imminent attacks on embassies,” contradicting Trump.
Even, more recently, Trump and other US officials have pointed to Soleimani’s past actions to justify the strike, without elaborating on what those alleged actions were.
On Monday, the president, in a tweet, alleged any imminent threat Soleimani posed “doesn’t really matter because of his horrible past!” after NBC News revealed that Trump had authorized the US military to assassinate General Soleimani seven months ago.
The officials told NBC News that former US National Security Adviser John Bolton had urged Trump to sign off on an operation to kill Soleimani after Iran shot down a US drone that had violated Iranian airspace in June.
The new report further contradicts the Trump administration’s publicly stated justification for ordering the US drone strike that killed Soleimani. US officials have claimed that Soleimani was killed because he was planning “imminent attacks” on Americans.