- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 6, 2015

Democratic presidential candidate Bernard Sanders said Sunday it is important that the United States learn from “lessons of the past” and work more with Muslim nations to provide ground troops to defeat the Islamic State.

“We cannot do it on our own, it has to be an international coalition,” Mr. Sanders said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “It is the Muslim nations that are fighting for the soul of Islam who have got the lead the effort in crushing ISIS.”

Though the U.S. is working with the Britain, France, Russia and other nations in the fight against terrorism, “the troops on the ground have to be Muslim nations,” the Vermont senator said.

He cited the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq as one of this country’s “worst foreign policy blunders” and said that learning from Iraq would help the U.S. find a path forward in waging war again in the Middle East.

Stricter screening of those attempting to enter the U.S. and stronger gun control laws also are important to ensure America’s safety, he said.

“It’s not just Muslim countries we have to worry about. There are other countries where people can slip into this country,” Mr. Sanders said, adding that coordinating intelligence efforts is the key and citing last month’s Paris attacks that left 130 people dead as a prime example of “an intelligence failure.”

He also said that ramped-up gun control might help curb the number of guns that potential criminals could access, but added: “I don’t think anybody believes it’s a magic formula.”

Mr. Sanders suggested that people on the “no fly” watch list should be barred from buying firearms, and that background checks need to improve and be expanded. He also called for closing the so-called “gun show loophole,” which allows private gun sellers not to conduct a background check, record the sale or even ask for identification from potential buyers.

But Mr. Sanders also said that gun control itself needs to be curbed. He said that a small gun shop owner who legally sells a firearm to someone who later does something “crazy” should not be held liable for that person’s actions, as some Democrats have suggested.

“There’s a political split in this country and everybody knows it,” said Mr. Sanders, an avowed democratic socialist. “But I think there is a broad consensus in focusing on the reality, and the vast majority of the American people understand that we have got to do everything that we can to prevent guns from falling into the hands of people who shouldn’t have

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