Ahead of Saturday’s Democratic debate, Bernie Sanders accused Hillary Clinton of encouraging militant Islam in Libya, saying she carelessly fomented regime change “without worrying” about the resultant instability that eventually enabled Islamic State to take hold there.

“Regime change without worrying about what happens the day after you get rid of the dictator does not make a lot of sense,” Sanders said.

“I voted against the war in Iraq … Secretary Clinton voted for that war. She was proud to have been involved in regime change in Libya, with [Muammar] Gaddafi, without worrying, I think, about what happened the day after and the kind of instability and the rise of Isis that we have seen in Libya.”

The Guardian reports:

Clinton has previously defended her role in airstrikes against Gaddafi in 2011, arguing he was a “murderous dictator … who had American blood on his hands” and there was pressure for US action from European and Arab allies.

But the latest Sanders comments are in stark contrast to the first debate of the Democratic presidential nomination process, where Sanders came to Clinton’s rescue during the height of the Benghazi committee’s investigation into her communications over Libya, saying: “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.”

Many of his supporters have become frustrated at what they see as a reticence by Sanders to attack Clinton’s record directly, particularly after he appeared to be a reluctant participant in foreign policy discussions that dominated the second debate, held in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks.

Since then, the 2016 presidential campaign has become overwhelmed with national security questions. Republicans have competed to sound toughest, Ted Cruz vowing that he would “carpet bomb” Isis jihadis. Clinton has delivered three hawkish speeches in a month on the need for more intervention in Iraq and Syria, the need to stand “taller and stronger” against terrorism and the need for Silicon Valley companies to police internet access to thwart jihadi recruiters.

Though initially reluctant to let foreign policy distract from what he considers a more important domestic agenda, the Sanders campaign increasingly sees his opponent’s hawkishness as an opportunity for him to turn Saturday’s debate in New Hampshire into a clash on the best way of achieving lasting national security.

Sanders also criticized Clinton’s posture toward Wall Street.

“Ultimately the real issue is which candidate is prepared, frontally, to take on the billionaire class,” he told The Guardian. “Can you receive huge amounts of campaign contributions from Wall Street and the wealthiest people in this country and say ‘Well, I’m going to really take them on’? The answer is no, you are not going to do that.”

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— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.


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