Bernie on BBC | Freyne Land

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Bernie Sanders
Bernie on BBC

Posted By on Wed, Sep 12, 2007 at 8:59 AM


From the BBC World Service:

Katty Kay: Let's get a response to the testimony and what we've been hearing from Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent senator and thank you very much for joining us.

Q: We said that there will be 30,000 troops coming home. We should make it clear that this takes the number of troops back to pre-surge levels.

SANDERS: Exactly, not lower than that.

Q: Are you satisfied with what President Bush is going to announce?

SANDERS: No, of course I'm not satisfied.  This war has been a disaster from day one. It is a disaster today.  The United States has got to bring our troops home as soon as possible. We need a whole new approach to combating international terrorism. While we are bogged down in Iraq spending billions and billions of dollars, Osama bin Laden remains free. Al Qaeda is growing in strength. The Afghanistan situation is deteriorating.  Pakistan is deteriorating.  Al-Qaeda is growing all over the world. It was al-Qaeda that attacked the United States of America. We have got to address that and get out of Iraq as soon as possible.

Q: Given what you've just said.  Given how unpopular this war is in the American opinion polls, why haven't the Democrats managed to come up with a coherent counter strategy to the present strategy?

SANDERS: That's a good question and a fair question, but I would also remind you and the viewers that in the Senate it takes 60 votes to kill a filibuster, and on any substantive issue the Republicans certainly will filibuster. We don't have the 60 votes to stop them. But I do think we need a strategy that can capture the imagination of the American people who want this war to end.  When Petraeus was asked today, ‘General when is this war going to end? One year? Two years? Five years?’ he had nothing to say. So we're looking right now at a war that has gone on longer than the war against Hitler and it may go on even longer and I think the American people are saying enough is enough.

Q: Senator John McCain, a Republican, said that General Petraeus was great for his message, that he was ‘straight out of central casting’ was how he put it. Do you think General Petraeus will have changed any minds in America?

SANDERS: Well, McCain is right.  General Petraeus is intelligent, he's handsome, he’s good on TV. He is out of central casting.  But I think most Americans understand that this is Bush's war, and the work Petraeus is doing is representing the very failed policies of President Bush.  And the American people want fundamental changes in those policies.

Q: If the next president of the United States is a Democrat, will we see American troops come home sooner?

SANDERS: Well, if I have anything to say about it the answer is yes, and I certainly hope so.  I mean even when you talk about the quote-unquote successes of the surge, the BBC and ABC, as you may know, just did a poll yesterday  They asked the Iraqi people, has the surge made your country safer?  Most Iraqis say no, the situation is deteriorating.

Q: Senator Bernie Sanders, Thank you very much for joining us.

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About The Author

Peter Freyne

Peter Freyne

Peter Freyne, 1949-2009, wrote the weekly political column "Inside Track," which originated in the Vanguard Press in the mid 1980s; he brought it to Seven Days in 1995. He retired it shortly before his death in January, 2009. We all miss him.

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