Republicans Call Bernie Sanders Absurd for Agreeing with the Pentagon

Republicans Call Bernie Sanders Absurd for Agreeing with the Pentagon

During last Saturday’s Democratic debate on CBS, the moderator asked Bernie Sanders if he still believed that climate change is the greatest threat to national security—and he said yes. Republican senators scoffed at his claim that climate change could lead to destabilization and more terrorism, calling it “unrelated,” “disingenuous,” and even “absurd.” But what the GOP fails to realize is that even the Pentagon has acknowledged the very real threat climate change poses to our security.

The 2014 Department of Defense Climate Change Adaptation Road Map report details all the ways our changing climate will impact international conflict and military operations. Sea level rise and more extreme weather events will exacerbate ongoing global conflicts. The effects of climate change will likely lead to food and water shortages, pandemic diseases, as well as disputes over refugees and dwindling resources.

The Pentagon report does not just allude to terrorism—it mentions it by name:

“We refer to climate change as a ‘threat multiplier’ because it has the potential to exacerbate many of the challenges we are dealing with today—from infectious disease to terrorism. We are already beginning to see some of these impacts.”

The report goes on to explain how climate change could topple fragile governments by creating an environment that fosters extreme ideologies and terrorism.

But Republicans on Tuesday (the same day the Senate voted to undo President Obama’s power-plant regulations) treated Sanders as if he had made a ludicrous claim. “There is a ballot initiative in Arizona concerning the substance that he must have been consuming,” Senator John McCain said, referring to a measure that would legalize marijuana.

The people at the Defense Department must have had a great time writing that report.