WASHINGTON, Feb. 11 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement today after President Barack Obama formally asked Congress to authorize a military campaign against the Islamic State terrorist group:
“The Islamic State is a brutal and dangerous terrorist organization which has murdered thousands of innocent men, women and children, including Americans. It must be defeated.
“I voted against the war in Iraq because I feared very much the destabilizing impact it would have on the region. Today, after 13 years in Afghanistan and 12 years in Iraq, after the loss of almost 7,000 troops and the expenditure of trillions of dollars, I very much fear U.S. involvement in an expanding and never-ending quagmire in that region of the world.
“I have supported U.S. airstrikes against ISIS and believe they are authorized under current law, and I support targeted U.S. military efforts to protect U.S. citizens.
“It is my firm belief, however, that the war against ISIS will never be won unless nations in the Middle East step up their military efforts and take more responsibility for the security and stability of their region. The United States and other western powers should support our Middle East allies, but this war will never be won unless Muslim nations in the region lead that fight.
“It is worth remembering that Saudi Arabia, for example, is a nation controlled by one of the wealthiest families in the world and has the fourth largest military budget of any nation. This is a war for the soul of Islam and the Muslim nations must become more heavily engaged.
“I oppose sending U.S. ground troops into combat in another bloody war in the Middle East. I therefore cannot support the resolution in its current form without clearer limitations on the role of U.S. combat troops.”