Bernie Sanders on ISIS: "This Is A War For The Soul Of Islam"


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN: Senator Sanders, I think it's fair to say and describe you as a dove, but you have also warned that you think ISIS is a dangerous and lethal operation and needs to be stopped. Tell me as you look at what's happening now, and that is that while the air assaults continue and have some effect on their targets, they don't seem to be slowing ISIS in any way. What's your next move?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Well, Candy, I think the main point being made is of course ISIS is a brutal, awful, dangerous army and they have got to be defeated. But, Candy, this is not just an American problem. This is an international crisis. This is a regional crisis. And I think the people of America are getting sick and tired of the world and the region, Saudi Arabia and the other countries saying hey, we don't have to do anything about it. The American taxpayer, the American soldiers will do all the work for us.

Most people don't know is that Saudi Arabia is the fourth largest defense spender in the world, more than the U.K., more than France. They have an army which is probably seven times larger than ISIS. They have a major air force. Their country is run by a royal family worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

CROWLEY: Sure. But they have shown no sign at all that they want to go in and neither have the Jordanians although they seem a little more interested or the Turks. And so I'm just wondering since everyone agrees there needs to be ground forces of some sort that are effective, whether if those Arab nations don't step forward as you want them to do and come in on the ground, does the U.S. then pull out its air strikes? I mean, how would -- how do you handle that?

SANDERS: Well, here's -- the question that question that we have got to ask is why are the nations in the region not more actively involved? Why don't they see this as a crisis situation?

Here's the danger, Candy. If the Middle East people perceive this is the United States versus ISIS, the West versus East, Christianity versus Islam, we're going to lose that war. This is a war for the soul of Islam and the Muslim nations must be deeply involved. And to the degree that developed countries are involved, it should be the U.K., France, Germany, other countries as well.

So I worry very much, and I go out around Vermont and around the country, and people are saying, yes, we're concerned about ISIS, but we're also concerned about the collapse of the American middle class. And infrastructure...


SANDERS: ...which is falling apart. The need to create jobs in America. We can't do it alone. It has to be an international and a regional coalition.

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