While announcing his support for the Iran nuclear agreement, Sen. Sanders (I-VT) called out the Republicans who wrong about Iraq and now oppose the Iran deal.
Those who have spoken out against this agreement, including many in this chamber, and those who have made every effort to thwart the diplomatic process, are many of the same people who spoke out forcefully and irresponsibly about the need to go to war with Iraq – one of the worst foreign policy blunders in the modern history of our country.
Sadly, people like former vice president Dick Cheney and many of the other neo-cons who pushed us to war Iraq were not only tragically wrong then; they are wrong now. Unfortunately, these individuals have learned nothing from the results of that disastrous policy and how it destabilized the entire region.
I fear that many of my Republican colleagues do not understand that war must be a last resort, not the first resort. It is easy to go to war, it not so easy to comprehend the unintended consequences of that war.
As the former Chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, I have talked to veterans from WWII to Iraq, and I have learned a little bit about what the cost of war entails. In Iraq and Afghanistan, we have lost 6,700 brave men and women, and many others have come home without legs, without arms, without eyesight.
Let us not forget that 500,000 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan came back to their families with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. The suicide rate of young veterans is appallingly high. The divorce rate is appallingly high, and the impact on children is appallingly high. God knows how many families have been devastated by these wars.
And we should not forget the many hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi men, women, and children who died in that war, and those whose lives who have been completely destabilized, including those who are fleeing their country today with only the clothes on their back as refugees. The cost of war is real.
Yes, the military option should always be on the table, but it should be the last option. We have got to do everything we can do to reach an agreement to ensure that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon without having to go to war.
The Republicans who are opposing the Iran deal want the American people to forget about their lies that led to the invasion of Iraq. It is not a coincidence that the same group of individuals who were so eager to go to war in Iraq is in complete opposition to a diplomatic solution in Iran.
The left has presented a united front on the Iran deal. The liberal leaders in the Senate have had President Obama’s back because they understand what is at stake. The Iran nuclear agreement is a matter of war and peace.
As Sen. Sanders pointed out on the Senate floor, the same people who lied to us about Iraq, now want the American people to believe them about the Iran deal.
Republicans have less than no credibility on this issue, and Sen. Sanders did his country a great service when he reminded everyone about the GOP’s record of pro-war lies.