“It angers and saddens me that President Trump has taken the advice of war hawks and escalated our illegal regime change war to overthrow the Syrian government... This Administration has acted recklessly without care or consideration of the dire consequences of the United States attack on Syria without waiting for the collection of evidence from the scene of the chemical poisoning. If President Assad is indeed guilty of this horrible chemical attack on innocent civilians, I will be the first to call for his prosecution and execution by the International Criminal Court. However, because of our attack on Syria, this investigation may now not even be possible. And without such evidence, a successful prosecution will be much harder.” - Rep. Tulsi Gabbard's April 6th Press Release
This statement, as well as Gabbard's continued condemnation of the Trump administration's 180 regarding U.S. handling of the Assad regime, have led to harsh reactions from establishment Democrats.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), has long been a vocal opponent of U.S. foreign policy in Syria. Back in January, Gabbard went on a highly criticized fact-finding mission to Syria with the goal of speaking directly with the Syrian people. She was accused of keeping the trip a secret, as Gabbard did not inform her colleagues in Congress of her plans before going. Many were also highly critical of her meeting with Syrian President Assad.
As a result of this trip, Gabbard sponsored the Stop Arming Terrorists Act with the purpose of ending American taxpayer funding of “weapons, training, and intelligence support" to terrorist groups or "countries who are providing direct or indirect support to those same groups.” Gabbard has communicated a message from the Syrian people to America: "There is no difference between ‘moderate’ rebels and al-Qaeda (al-Nusra) or ISIS."
Somehow, Gabbard's statement in response to the chemical weapons attack of last week has once again sparked outrage among hawkish establishment types.
Namely, Howard Dean, former Democratic National Committee Chairman, berated Gabbard on MSNBC Sunday morning, accusing her of defending Assad. In reality, Gabbard didn't offer any defense for Assad, but simply requested more evidence that he was indeed behind last week's attack.
Nonetheless, Dean commented “I think it’s outrageous. There’s a long, well-known history, both in our intelligence community, Amnesty International and Doctors Without Borders. Every single one of these agencies has said that Assad is using chemical weapons. He’s a barbarian, he’s murdered half a million of his own people.”
The day before, Dean sent a scathing tweet, calling for Gabbard to resign.
When pressed on the issue, 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.”
Dean isn't the only one to attack Tulsi's call for caution. Center for American Progress President, Neera Tanden, went so far as to call on the people of Hawaii to vote Tulsi out of office.
Are these attacks at all warranted? Is it really so radical to demand proof that Assad was responsible for last week's attack before taking military action? Is it possible that the establishment simply fears any politician who questions its war mongering tactics?
What do you think?