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March 24, 2016

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders offers ideas for defeating ISIS

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Essential question

Why is it important for the next president to have a clear and decisive plan for defeating ISIS?


Following the terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium earlier this week, presidential primary candidates shared their views on how to combat the Islamic State (ISIS), which took credit for the attacks.

Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton criticized Republican candidate Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for his comments calling for increased surveillance of American Muslim neighborhoods. She said such statements are wrong, counter-productive and dangerous.

Clinton opponent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders called ISIS a “barbaric organization” and said it must be destroyed, but that the United States should not engage troops in a ground war.

“We do not destroy it by doing what we did in Iraq and getting into perpetual warfare,” Sanders said. He also pointed out that he voted against the invasion of Iraq in 2003 while Clinton voted in favor.

Instead, Sanders called for establishing a Muslim coalition of nations in the Middle East to fight ISIS on the ground while nations like the U.S. and France provide them with air support and training.

“It is not a question of going to war against a religion, as some of my Republican colleagues would have us do. We’re taking on terrorism and ISIS, not Islam as a religion,” Sanders said.


Key terms

coalition – an alliance for combined action, sometimes made up of different countries or members of opposing political parties

Warm up questions (before watching the video)
  1. Who is Bernie Sanders?
  2. What is ISIS and why are presidential candidates talking about it this week?
  3. What role does foreign policy play in presidential elections?
Critical thinking questions (after watching the video)
  1. Why does Hillary Clinton feel Ted Cruz’s comments about surveillance are counterproductive?
  2. Why does Sen. Sanders believe a coalition between the U.S. and Middle Eastern nations is the best way to fight ISIS?
  3. Why is Sanders critical of the Republican presidential candidates’ responses as to how to defeat ISIS?
  4. How can you decide which presidential candidate would be best to deal with terrorism threats?
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