0428 GMT January 23, 2020
The debate in Iowa began with questioning from CNN’s host Wolf Blitzer, questioning the judgments and qualifications of the Democrats on stage to become commander in chief of the American military. Blitzer’s line of inquiry appeared designed to get Sanders and Biden to rehearse their split on vote to authorize the Iraq war, Rolling Stone reported.
But after some pro-forma sparing between establishment favorite Biden and Sanders, the two Democrats delivered a united warning that Trump is making a dangerously dishonest case for the actions that have led America to the brink of all-out war with Iran.
Sanders took aim at Trump first, pivoting from the debate on past military judgment to impugn the motives of the current commander in chief when it comes to Iran: “Right now what I fear so much is that we have a president who is lying again,” Sanders said, “and could drag us into a war that is even worse than the war in Iraq.”
To hear Sanders, who has long argued against military adventurism, blasting Trump (whom he briefly referred to as “Bush”) on Iran was not surprising. More interesting, Biden took up Sanders’ line of argument and advanced it. He accused Trump of “flat out lying” about the alleged imminent threats to US embassies that Trump has used to justify the assassination of Iran’s Quds Force commander, Maj. General Qassem Soleimani.
Rolling Stone has examined the administration’s shifting claims about Trump’s claims of an imminent threat and found them lacking.
Sanders also made it clear that he disapproved of the move, warning that a war in Iran could be “even worse” than the wars in Vietnam and Iraq, which Sanders considers “the two great foreign policy disasters of our lifetimes,” The Week reported.
During the foreign policy-heavy opening stretch, Sanders and other candidates gave a shout out to Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) for being the lone voice to oppose the Authorization for Use of Military Force in Afghanistan in 2002, hinting that its repeal is a priority.