Fri, 01 Dec 2023

The Democratic socialist senator's staff were apparently uninterested in giving peace a chance in Ukraine

Eleven anti-war protesters were arrested during a sit-in at US Senator Bernie Sanders' Washington DC office on Wednesday as they called for an end to the conflict in Ukraine.

About 50 demonstrators led by the founders of feminist anti-war group Code Pink packed into Sanders' office, explaining in a statement on the group's website that they were "showing up to remind Bernie of the values he espoused that made his name what it is" and urging the Democratic Socialist to "lead for peace."

Most stood silently with signs urging a negotiated end to the conflict - including at least one emblazoned with Sanders' own words from a 2022 op-ed in The Guardian.

"We must work hard to achieve a realistic and mutually agreeable resolution - one that is acceptable to Ukraine, Russia, the United States, and our European allies," the sign read, demanding negotiation and "a diplomatic solution."

Two Sanders policy advisers attempted to justify the senator's support for arming Ukraine, arguing the country was the victim of "a war of aggression by [Russian President] Vladimir Putin" while denying any knowledge of Kiev using American weapons to strike Russian territory or evidence of US involvement in the Nord Stream pipeline explosions.

Police subsequently arrested 11 of the protesters, including the Code Pink member holding the Sanders quote and an 89-year-old woman.

Co-founder Medea Benjamin claimed to be "appalled" at the Democratic Party's failure to support a negotiated peace. "This is not a MAGA issue or a Republican issue but an issue of human survival to stop World War Three and possibly a nuclear war," she said in a statement following the sit-in, insisting, "we need Bernie to be with us on the side of peace."

While Sanders famously voted against invading Iraq in 2002 and has campaigned against "forever wars," his voting record defies easy categorization. In addition to supporting military intervention in Bosnia and Kosovo, he backed the infamous post-9/11 Authorization for the Use of Military Force used to justify US military action in dozens of countries said to harbor terror-linked groups, including drone strikes on Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, Libya, and Iraq.

After their rejection by Sanders, the activists were publicly embraced by Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene, an outspoken opponent of the government's Ukraine policy. The Georgia representative posted photos to X (formerly Twitter), acknowledging that while she and Code Pink disagreed on many issues, "we do agree Congress should STOP fueling the war in Ukraine!"

"Peace & free speech shouldn't be a partisan issue," Greene added. Code Pink leadership nevertheless retroactively disavowed her support, claiming she had "opportunistically approached" the activists with a photo request while suggesting her motives were ideologically impure.


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