Democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders compared President Donald Trump's decision to order an airstrike on Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani to Russian President Vladimir Putin having dissidents executed.
During an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Sanders said the killing of Soleimani will cause "chaos" and "instability."
"This guy, you know, was, as bad as he was, an official of the Iranian government," Sanders said of Soleimani. "And, you unleash—then, if China does that, you know, if Russia does that, you know, Russia has been implicated under Putin with assassinating dissidents. So, once you're in the business of assassination, you unleash some very, very terrible forces. And, what I'm seeing now in this world as a result of Trump's actions, more and more chaos, more and more instability."
You can't make it up. Bernie just compared @realDonaldTrump taking out a terrorist responsible for killing hundred… https://t.co/BRIsRoXUMT— Michael Ahrens (@Michael Ahrens) 1578364994.0
Whether one agrees with the Soleimani killing or not, Sanders' comparison is objectively nonsensical. With the strike against Soleimani, the U.S. eliminated a military leader from an adversarial nation who was responsible for American deaths, which is obviously quite different than if the president had ordered the assassination of a domestic political opponent.
The legality of the Soleimani strike is currently being debated among members of Congress. Opponents of the mission have characterized it as an assassination, and because Soleimani held both military and political power in Iran, some have chosen to focus on the political role and compare it to Iran hypothetically killing the U.S. vice president.
The Trump administration has justified the mission by citing an "imminent" threat planned by Soleimani against American forces. National security adviser Robert O'Brien has also said the strike was justified under the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq resolution. Soleimani was near a Baghdad airport in Iraq when he was killed.