“I will vote for this resolution because I believe that the use of force is one tool that we have at our disposal to fight against the horror of terrorism and mass murder. One tool but it is not our only tool, and it is something that must be used wisely… and with great discretion.”
"My major concern about the war in Afghanistan, and why I voted against the recent defense authorization bill is tat we seem to be getting sucked into a quagmire without the kind of debate, without the kind of discussion that this country desperately needs and that the people of our country are entitled. What we know now is that the number of troops that the general are requesting is going up and up. We know that we have already poured several hundred billion dollars into Afghanistan; that number is going to go up. But we don’t know what the goals of our efforts in Afghanistan are or what kind of exit strategy we have.
"And, I worry that Afghanistan will be another Vietnam. I worry that Afghanistan will be another Iraq. We’ve been there eight years already, and how many more years are we supposed to be there? How many more American troops are supposed to die? How many more tens and tens of billions of dollars are we supposed to be spending at a time when we have a record-breaking deficit? I find it amusing that some of my more conservative friends are saying, ‘Well, we can’t afford to spend more money on health care in this country. We can’t afford to spend more money on education or environmental protection. But, yes, we can afford to pump tens and tens of billions more into the war in Afghanistan."
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement after President Barack Obama announced a timetable for the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan:
"This country has a $14.5 trillion national debt, in part owing to two wars that have not been paid for. We have been at war in Afghanistan for the last 10 years and paid a high price both in terms of casualties and national treasure. This year alone, we will spend about $100 billion on that war. In my view, it is time for the people of Afghanistan to take full responsibility for waging the war against the Taliban.
"While we cannot withdraw all of our troops immediately, we must bring them home as soon as possible. I appreciate the president's announcement, but I believe that the withdrawal should occur at significantly faster speed and greater scope."
“…in the wake of the attacks on September 11, 2001, I supported the use of force in Afghanistan to hunt down the terrorists who attacked us. I regret that President Bush did not use that authority properly, and that American combat troops remained there too long.”
Sen. Sanders voted to authorize military strikes against Afghanistan, after it became clear that the Taliban regime harbored and gave support to Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda terrorists who attacked America on 9/11. However, while we entered that war with significant clarity of purpose and moral authority, President Bush soon lost sight about what our goals were in Afghanistan. Instead of fighting those who attacked our country, he embroiled our troops in a quagmire in a far-away land.
Sen. Sanders called on both Presidents Bush and Obama to withdraw U.S. troops as soon as possible and for the people of Afghanistan to take full responsibility for their own security. After visiting Afghanistan, Sen. Sanders spoke-out against the rampant corruption he saw, particularly in regards to elections, security and the banking system.
BERNIE SANDERS: ... I voted also for the war in Afghanistan.
CHUCK TODD: Yes, sir, I apologize for that, yes, you did. Yeah.
SANDERS: Because I believe that Osama bin Laden needed to be captured, needed to be brought to trial. But let me be very clear. I am very concerned about a lot of the war talk that I'm hearing from my Republican colleagues, who apparently have forgotten the cost of war and the errors made in Afghanistan and Iraq.
And what I believe, Chuck, very much, is that the most powerful military on Earth, the United States of America, that our government should do everything that we can to resolve international conflict in a way that does not require war. Sometimes using military force is necessary. But I think it should be the last resort, not the first resort.
So I would suggest that we do everything that we can to try to resolve these conflicts, which are not easy. We're living in a very crazy, difficult world, without American troops getting into combat.
“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.”