The Washington Post & Just Foreign Policy – 2015-10-07 01:10:57
Bernie Sanders Sides with Obama
And Against Clinton on No-fly Zone in Syria
John Wagner and Anne Gearan / The Washington Post
BOSTON — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Saturday that he opposes a unilateral American no-fly zone in Syria, offering a less hawkish stance on the war-torn region than Hillary Rodham Clinton, his chief rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, and a position more in line with President Obama.
“We must be very careful about not making a complex and dangerous situation in Syria even worse,” Sanders said in a statement to The Washington Post. “I support President Obama’s efforts to combat ISIS in Syria while at the same time supporting those in that country trying to remove the brutal dictatorship of Bashar Assad.”
But, Sanders added: “I oppose, at this point, a unilateral American no-fly zone in Syria, which could get us more deeply involved in that horrible civil war and lead to a never-ending US entanglement in that region.”
In a television interview broadcast Thursday, Clinton advocated additional air power to protect civilians in the multi-front war, in which Syrian rebels and international advocates have said that air patrols in Syria’s north could give civilians a refuge from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s bombing raids.
“I personally would be advocating now for a no-fly zone and humanitarian corridors to try to stop the carnage on the ground and from the air,” the former secretary of state said in the interview broadcast late Thursday by NBC affiliate WHDH in Boston.
In the portion of the interview released by the news station, Clinton did not elaborate on which countries should impose the no-fly zones or say precisely that she would commit US forces to the task. But discussion of no-fly zones when she was in office and afterward have presumed that the United States would have to lead or be a major player in the effort.
Clinton’s position puts her in the same camp as some Republican contenders for the presidential nomination, including former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
In a news conference Friday, Obama said that Clinton “is not half-baked in terms of her approach to these problems.” But he said that “there’s a difference between running for president and being president. And the decisions that are being made and the discussions that I’m having with the joint chiefs become much more specific and require, I think, a different kind of judgment.”
Obama said that “if and when she’s president, then she’ll make those judgments,” adding that “these are tough calls.”
The White House approved limited airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria more than a year ago. The Obama administration has resisted going further, saying effective enforcement to prevent Assad’s planes from flying would require large amounts of US resources and could pull the military further into an unpredictable conflict.
Sanders, who has a pair of rallies planned in Massachusetts on Saturday, has been speaking out in his recent campaign appearances about “the cost of war,” accusing Republicans of being too eager to insert the military into conflicts that will result in casualties and a range of other problems for returning US soldiers.
Saturday’s events, planned in Springfield and Boston, come amid a fresh burst of momentum for Sanders, whose campaign announced this week that it had raised $26 million in the last fundraising quarter, nearly as much as Clinton. Recent polls from New Hampshire have showed Sanders leading Clinton, and polls from Iowa have showed a close contest.
John Wagner is a political reporter covering the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. Anne Gearan is a national politics correspondent for The Washington Post.
Tell Congress: “No Fly Zone” = Dangerous Military Escalation
Robert Naiman and Avram Reisman / Just Foreign Policy
(October 6, 2015) — It’s magical thinking to claim that US air power is the solution to Syria’s problems. People who claim that US air power can magically “protect civilians” in Syria should explain why US air power just blew up a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan.  But Washington never seems to tire of the fairy tale that US military power is a magic solution to the world’s problems.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has called for the US to impose a “no fly zone” to prevent Russia from attacking CIA-backed forces fighting the Syrian government. These calls for a “no fly zone” are demands for dangerous US military escalation against Russia and the Syrian government â€“ imposing a “no fly zone” would mean bombing Syria and attacking Russian and Syrian aircraft.  Unfortunately, Hillary’s stand is encouraging other Democrats to call for military escalation. 
This is how US wars often start, with breathless claims of an emergency requiring US military bombing to “protect civilians.” How exactly US bombing will “protect civilians” is never explained. If escalation is achieved nobody will check whether civilians were protected or not.
President Obama has rightly called Republican proposals for a “no fly zone” in Syria “half baked” “mumbo jumbo.”  Senator Bernie Sanders is standing with President Obama and against Hillary Clinton in opposition to these “half baked” proposals for military escalation. 
Urge Congress to stand with President Obama and Senator Sanders against dangerous US military escalation in Syria by calling your Senator. When you reach a staffer, you can say something like: “I urge you to reject calls for US military escalation against Russia in Syria, including calls for a ‘no fly zone.'”
When you’ve made your call, report it here: http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/senate-no-fly-zone-escalation
And if you haven’t signed our petition against military escalation in Syria yet, you can do that here: http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/Obama-Sanders-not-Hillary-on-Syria
Thanks for all you do to help prevent military escalation,
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