The debate in Iowa began with questioning from CNN’s hawkish host Wolf Blitzer, questioning the judgments and qualifications of the Democrats on stage to become commander in chief of the American military. Blitzer’s line of inquiry appeared designed to get Sanders and and Biden to rehearse their split on vote to authorize the Iraq war.
But after some pro-forma sparing between establishment favorite Biden and grassroots darling Sanders, the two Democrats delivered a united warning that Trump is making a dangerously dishonest case for the actions that have led America to the brink of all-out war with Iran.
Sanders took aim at Trump first, pivoting from the debate on past military military judgment to impugn the motives of the current commander in chief when it comes to Iran: “Right now what I fear so much is that we have a president who is lying again,” Sanders said, “and could drag us into a war that is even worse than the war in Iraq.”
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) January 15, 2020
To hear Sanders, who has long argued against military adventurism, blasting Trump (whom he briefly referred to as “Bush”) on Iran was not surprising. More interesting, Biden took up Sanders’ line of argument and advanced it. He accused Trump of “flat out lying” about the alleged imminent threats to U.S. embassies that Trump has used to justify the assassination of Iran’s Quds Force commander General Qasem Soliemani.
Rolling Stone has examined the administration’s shifting claims about Trump’s claims of an imminent threat and found them lacking. They seem, if such a thing is possible, even less credible than the Bush administration’s claims of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.