On March 2, 2020, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders launched an attack ad against former Vice President Joe Biden.
The focus of the attack was Biden’s vote in favor of the Iraq War in 2002.
On October, 11, 2002, Biden joined 76 other Senators in voting to authorize the use of force in Iraq.
Sanders has exploited this vote on the campaign trail. Sanders tweeted, “I do not believe we will defeat Donald Trump with a candidate like Joe Biden who supported the Iraq War.”
At first glance, it makes sense when considering that Sanders was one of the few Senators who voted against this Iraq war authorization.
However, Sanders’ voting record does reveal some inconsistencies.
This in contrast to historically principled congressmen like Ron Paul who have consistently opposed foreign conflicts on strictly non-interventionist grounds.
During the Barack Obama era, Sanders did not really mount much resistance to Obama’s expansionary efforts in Libya and in Syria as well.
It’s very likely Sanders did not oppose Obama because of his desire to run for higher office and be able to cater to middle-of-road Democrat voters. Similarly, his previous vote against the Iraq War may been based more on expediency rather than a principled anti-war stance.
The Iraq War looked like a disaster from the start, and Sanders wanted to make sure not to have his voting record tied to that.
All in all, Sanders may have some decent votes here and there. But his anti-war record is overrated and should not be a major reason for voting for Sanders, even if you’re someone who highly values non-interventionism as a major issue.