Originally published here.
During a town hall meeting on Monday, Vermont Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders defended President Barack Obama’s “kill list,” a top secret list of individuals who can be summarily killed on sight without due process. In 2012, The New York Times reported that President Obama hosts a meeting every Tuesday to decide which suspected terrorists will be added to his “kill list.”
A the time, President Obama was harshly criticized by libertarian Republican Senator Rand Paul over the unconstitutional procedure. Paul argued that one single bureaucrat should not act as both the judge and executioner.
During his famous 2013 filibuster, Sen. Paul famously said: “The people on the list might be me.”
But to Sanders, Obama’s kill list is not all that bad. When asked whether he would have an extrajudicial kill list as a sitting president, Sanders replied:
“Look. Terrorism is a very serious issue. There are people out there who want to kill Americans, who want to attack this country, and I think we have a lot of right to defend ourselves. I think as Miguel said, though, it has to be done in a constitutional, legal way.”
But when asked whether he though that what is being done now is constitutional, he replied:
“In general I do, yes.”
Appearing to suggest that Obama pursued constitutional means by targeting individuals without due process, he also seems to confirm that he would do the same.
When asked whether he endorsed Obama’s decision to deploy another 250 soldiers to Syria, Sanders replied by parroting arguments typically spewed by neoconservative politicians:
“I think the—look. Here’s the bottom line. ISIS has got to be destroyed, and the way that ISIS must be destroyed is not through American troops fighting on the ground. ISIS must be destroyed and King Abdullah of Jordan has made this clear, that the war is for the soul of Islam and it must be won by the Muslim nations themselves.
I think what the President is talking about is having American troops training Muslim troops, helping to supply the military equipment they need, and I do support that effort. We need a broad coalition of Muslim troops on the ground. We have had some success in the last year or so putting ISIS on the defensive, we’ve got to continue that effort.”
But Sanders was never asked to comment on Obama’s disastrous policy toward Syrian rebels. Namely the very program Sanders seems to defend, which provided ISIS militants with expensive US military gear and even Toyota trucks. At the time, Sen. Rand Paul was, once again, one of the lonely voices standing against Obama’s plan.
After spending $4 million of US taxpayer dollars per rebel, only five “moderate rebels” were left in Syria, but MSNBC’s Chris Hayes appeared unwilling to press Sanders on the failure of Obama’s unconstitutional and undeclared war in Syria.