Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

"Congress must play a role, consistent with its constitutional authority over war, in developing a troop withdrawal plan that is coordinated with our allies, that continues to provide humanitarian aid, and that supports political settlements in these countries," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said in a statement. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Voting Against McConnell Amendment, Sanders Says 'American People Do Not Want Endless War'

While rejecting Trump's "reckless" foreign policy, said senator, "It is the job of Congress to responsibly end these military interventions and bring our troops home."

Jake Johnson

As 25 Democrats voted with the GOP on Thursday to pass Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) resolution condemning President Donald Trump's troop withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) dissented from the bipartisan commitment to "fueling forever wars" and argued that Congress must work to end overseas conflicts instead of inventing "more reasons to continue them."

"It is the job of Congress to responsibly end these military interventions and bring our troops home, not to come up with more reasons to continue them, as this amendment does. That is why I voted against it."
—Sen. Bernie Sanders

While slamming Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria and Afghanistan without coordinating with allies as "reckless," the Vermont senator said in a statement explaining his no vote that the "American people do not want endless war" and urged Congress to use its constitutional authority to bring perpetual conflicts to a close.

"American troops have been in Afghanistan for nearly 18 years, the longest war in American history. Our troops have been in Syria since 2015 under what I believe are very questionable legal authorities," Sanders declared. "The American people do not want endless war. It is the job of Congress to responsibly end these military interventions and bring our troops home, not to come up with more reasons to continue them, as this amendment does. That is why I voted against it."

"President Trump's abrupt announcement last month that he would withdraw U.S. troops from Syria and Afghanistan was typical of his reckless approach—an approach that left our international partners blindsided and questioning U.S. leadership," the Vermont senator continued. "Congress must play a role, consistent with its constitutional authority over war, in developing a troop withdrawal plan that is coordinated with our allies, that continues to provide humanitarian aid, and that supports political settlements in these countries."

Anti-war voices were quick to slam the more than two dozen Democrats who opted to ignore grassroots pressure and vote for McConnell's resolution, which easily sailed through the Senate by a margin of 68-23.

In addition to Sanders, 19 Senate Democrats and two Republicans voted against the nonbinding amendment. See the full roll call here.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who joined Sanders in voting against McConnell's measure, argued that Trump's demonstrated foreign policy incompetence is not an excuse for the Democratic Party to support perpetual wars.

"Just because Trump is bungling Syria policy doesn't mean Democrats should endorse endless war, nor this amendment which asserts American forces are in Syria to fight Iran," Murphy wrote on Twitter as he headed to the Senate floor to speak against the measure.

The Senate's vote to approve McConnell's amendment ensures that it will be added to Senate Bill 1 (S.1), a broad Middle East foreign policy package that also includes a widely condemned measure that would punish companies and individuals who participate in boycotts of Israel. The ACLU has called the anti-boycott bill "unconstitutional."

"Congress doesn't have to have to cosign Trump foreign policy trial balloons, but they ought to articulate their own responsible withdrawal plan that replaces U.S. troops and airstrikes with smart diplomacy and targeted humanitarian aid."
—Jon Rainwater, Peace Action

The passage of McConnell's resolution comes just a week after 32 House Democrats sent a letter to Trump expressing support for the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and Syria, but arguing that a "comprehensive diplomatic, political, and humanitarian strategy" is necessary to mitigate the risks of rapid withdrawal.

"Prioritizing stabilization and reconstruction, as well as ensuring the access of humanitarian aid organizations to civilians, is vital to protecting the Syrian people and preventing a renewal of violence that could encourage the resurgence of extremist groups like ISIS," the Democrats wrote. "Most immediately, the United States must use our leverage with Turkey to prevent further military incursions into Syrian territory, particularly those targeting Kurdish communities there."

Jon Rainwater, executive director of Peace Action, argued that Trump's Syria and Afghanistan withdrawals offer House Democrats an opportunity to put forth their own plan for withdrawal that contrasts with the president's haphazard approach.

"Congress doesn't have to have to cosign Trump foreign policy trial balloons, but they ought to articulate their own responsible withdrawal plan that replaces U.S. troops and airstrikes with smart diplomacy and targeted humanitarian aid," Rainwater told Common Dreams.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Bush and Warren Lead New Bill to Protect Renters Nationwide From Eviction

"This pandemic isn't over, and we have to do everything we can to protect renters from the harm and trauma of needless eviction, which upends the lives of those struggling to get back on their feet."

Jessica Corbett ·


Campaign Slams Vaccine Makers for Fueling 'Unprecedented' Human Rights Crisis

"Covid-19 vaccines must be readily available and accessible for all. It is up to governments and pharma companies to make this a reality."

Brett Wilkins ·


Sunrise Movement Targets Kyrsten Sinema for Obstructing Build Back Better Act

"Who do you work for? Do you work for the young, BIPOC, and working people who put their lives on hold to elect you? Or do you work for ExxonMobil and fossil fuel corporations?"

Brett Wilkins ·


UN Chief Tells World Leaders To Their Faces That Vaccine Apartheid Is 'An Obscenity'

Persistent inequality represents "a moral indictment of the state of our world," U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said.

Julia Conley ·


Global People's Summit on Food Systems Kicks Off to Challenge 'Corporate Agenda' of UN Meeting

"The people are hungry for real change, and are willing to do whatever it takes to fight for and reclaim their land, their rights, and the future of food systems."

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo