Think the Left is antiwar? Think again. A Democratic congresswoman is under fire from liberal movers and shakers for daring to question both the rationale for and the legality of Republican President Donald Trump’s recent missile strike in Syria.
Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), shown, has been one of the most outspoken critics of the incursion. The day of the attack, she issued a scathing press release calling it an “illegal regime change war” that is “short-sighted” and “could lead to nuclear war” with Russia. She also expressed skepticism over Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s alleged responsibility for a chemical-weapons attack in northwestern Syria last week, which the Trump administration used to justify its actions.
This was too much for some otherwise Trump-hating leftists, who took to Twitter and television to demand Gabbard’s ouster.
Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, tweeted, “People of Hawaii’s 2nd district — was it not enough for you that your rep met with a murderous dictator? Will this move you?”
Tanden’s remark that Gabbard “met with a murderous dictator” was a reference to a private meeting the congresswoman, an Iraq War veteran who serves on the Armed Services Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee, had with Assad in January as part of what she called a “fact-finding mission.” Of course, as the American Thinker blog points out, such a confab is hardly unprecedented: Then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also met with Assad in 2007.
Meanwhile, former Vermont governor, presidential candidate, and Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman Howard Dean tweeted, “This is a disgrace. Gabbard should not be in Congress.” During a Sunday appearance on MSNBC, Dean said that Gabbard should resign from Congress for her “outrageous” remarks suggesting that Assad’s culpability had not been demonstrated.
“If you’re on the Foreign Relations Committee and you haven’t seen the proof in the last five and a half years, there’s something the matter with you,” Dean said. “I am tired of people making excuses. This is no different than Trump making excuses for Putin. We’ve had enough of this.”
But given the history of U.S. wars, especially those of the 21st century, who is acting more disgracefully: the one who demands evidence and a proper declaration of war before launching an attack or the one who uncritically accepts Pentagon talking points and ignores the Constitution? As Gabbard put it in a Facebook post:
I and thousands of my brothers and sisters-in-arms went to war in Iraq that was based on false intelligence and lies from our leaders. I believe it is the duty of every American to make sure this never happens again. We need to learn from Iraq and Libya — wars that were propagated as necessary to relieve human suffering, but actually increased human suffering many times over.
Furthermore, she told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, Trump’s strike on Syria was nothing new but merely “an escalation of a counterproductive regime change war in Syria that our country’s been waging for years, first through the CIA covertly, and now overtly.” People were already suffering for it; the latest attack only added to their misery.
When Carlson asked Gabbard if she believed Assad was responsible for the chemical attack, she replied, “It doesn’t matter what I believe or not. What matters is evidence and facts. If the Trump administration has the evidence unequivocally proving this, then share it with the American people. Share it with Congress. Come to Congress and make your case before launching an unauthorized, illegal military strike against a foreign government.”
In her press release, Gabbard stated that if conclusive evidence were presented to her, she would “be the first to call for [Assad’s] prosecution and execution by the International Criminal Court,” although she noted that gathering such evidence may now be impossible because of the U.S. attack.
For her perfectly reasonable requests of a president of the opposing party, Gabbard, an otherwise fairly left-wing lawmaker, is being vilified by people in her own “progressive” party. Why?
First, she quit the DNC last year to endorse Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) over the party’s eventual nominee, Hillary Clinton, because of Clinton’s hawkishness. Tanden, a longtime Clinton loyalist, was heavily involved in the Clinton campaign and its efforts to deny Sanders the nomination.
Second, Gabbard met with President-elect Trump in November to discuss Syria, leading to rumors that she was under serious consideration for a position in his Cabinet — a big no-no in a party that despises Trump.
Simply put, the Democratic establishment is just as hawkish as the Republican establishment — Hillary Clinton has long favored regime change in Syria and actually called for airstrikes just hours before Trump gave the order — and anyone who stands in the way of their imperial ambitions must be silenced, even if it means empowering a Republican president. As Gabbard herself tweeted, “Those who’ve declared Trump a habitual liar now vilify those refusing to blindly follow him into another regime change war. Hypocrisy.”
Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is under fire from Democratic bigwigs for daring to question both the rationale for and the legality of President Trump’s recent missile strike in Syria. Read more...