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Is Tulsi Gabbard a Peace Dove or a Warhawk?
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Is Tulsi Gabbard a Peace Dove or a Warhawk?

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USA – January 15, 2019

It speaks volumes when establishment media networks (CNN, FOX, MSNBC) portray a candidate as anti-establishment, and Tulsi Gabbard, the Rep. from Hawaii, is a great example of this propaganda chorus in action. Just consider the following points about the questionable path leading Gabbard to her January 2019 announcement that she's running for president in 2020, and ask yourself: "Does this sound like someone who is going to change Washington, or does this sound like just another establishment hack who will campaign on empty promises only to backpedal once in office?"

Much of the praise Rep. Gabbard receives is for her anti-interventionism. During her 2012 House campaign, she ran ads complaining about “endless war.” She has called for pulling out of Afghanistan, the longest war in US history, suggesting that the government invest the money instead into “rebuilding our own nation through long-term infrastructure projects.” She’s opposed US intervention in Syria since 2013, air strikes in Iraq, and arms sales to Saudi Arabia. She backed Sanders in the Democratic primary because of Clinton’s record of supporting “interventionist regime change wars.”

All of this has created the impression that Gabbard, unlike much of the Democratic Party, is antiwar. Let’s try to find out whether Gabbard is a dove aiming to bring settlement to the countries torn apart by endless US attacks, or she is just a usual hawk.

The Hawaii Congresswoman came out against the 2003 US invasion of Iraq only after participating in it, and only when it was popular to do so. She didn't speak out against the war until 2012, when Obama was (falsely claiming to) end the US occupation of Iraq.

Gabbard was interviewed on Fox News (of all places) in 2015 to criticize Obama for his unwillingness to use the term "Islamic extremism" when referring to the so-called War on Terror:

"Every soldier knows this simple fact: If you don't know your enemy, you will not be able to defeat him. Our leaders must clearly identify the enemy as Islamist extremists, understand the ideology that is motivating them and attracting new recruits, and focus on defeating that enemy both militarily and ideologically."

In 2016, Tulsi Gabbard supported the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which called for $300 million to the Secretary of Defense to provide the military and other security forces of the government of Ukraine with security assistance and intelligence support and another $89.2 billion to the overseas contingency operations fund.

Sounding very much like Barack Obama, who went on to launch more drone strikes than any other Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Gabbard is for "limited" use of drone strikes. "Surgical" she calls them, just like Obama. On the issue in 2012, Gabbard said she thinks it's important to look at how the use of drones in certain scenarios has "saved lives" and how, "when strategically placed and properly used, [drones] are an asset to national security."

Tulsi Gabbard would continue the Obama administration’s foreign policy, which itself was a continuation (and in some ways ramping up) of George W. Bush’s foreign policy. She would keep up the drone bombing of seven Muslim countries in the Middle East and North Africa — perhaps even expand it — while also relying more on special operations forces, which are already raiding, assassinating, and gathering intelligence in 70 percent of the world’s countries.

Drones killed hundreds of civilians over Obama’s eight years, while special operations forces like SEAL Team 6 — which Gabbard specifically name-checked in her positive allusion to the bin Laden raid — are known for their fair share of brutality. It was “quick-strike special forces” conducting a “strategic precise operation,” to use Gabbard’s term, that a little less than four months ago killed thirty civilians in a botched raid in Yemen.

In 2017, she "decided to stop accepting PAC/lobbyist $$" - but in 2016, "Gabbard's biggest PAC contributors were the National Auto Dealers Association, Boeing, the National Association of Realtors, and weapons company Lockheed Martin, all of whom contributed between $20,000-$30,000 a piece."

Of particular note is Gabbard’s attendance at an American Enterprise Institute (AEI) closed-door event where she shared a space with the likes of Dick Cheney, Mike Pence, Bill Kristol, and Rupert Murdoch. From the Jacobin article: "At the AEI's urging, [Gabbard] had earlier spoken at the Halifax International Security Forum, an annual gathering of national security wonks sponsored by Lockheed Martin, Canada's Department of National Defense, and others."

Asked in 2012 by Foreign Policy In Focus whether she thinks the United States would be a more credible advocate for nuclear disarmament if it got rid of its own nuclear weapons, Gabbard replied:

"I think we, um … [pauses] … that's a good question. You know, working toward nonproliferation is definitely an objective that we need to continue to pursue. Uh … that's a good question. I don't know. I'd have to give that one some thought."

She continues to push the narrative that Iran is building nuclear weapons, directly in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary:

"The objective must remain at the forefront: we must work together to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran."

Following the death of life-long warhawk John McCain, Gabbard joined a shameful chorus in helping to whitewash his legacy of bloodshed, tweeting that McCain "lived his life dedicated to serving our country."

Rep. Gabbard is incredibly pro-Israel, despite tossing Palestinians an occasional supportive tweet.

In 2015, Gabbard addressed the Christians United for Israel summit, and that same year said that the US should remain a strong ally of Israel:

"The United States' relationship with Israel must rise above the political fray, as America continues to stand with Israel as her strongest ally."

Also noteworthy is that the Hawaii Congresswoman is against boycott and divestment campaigns that target Israel.

Gabbard voted for a bill to provide “counter aggression measures” to the governments of Iran, Russia, and North Korea. Additionally, she voted to appropriate $600 million to the Syria Train and Equip Fund and $715 million to the Iraq Train and Equip Fund to provide training and equipment.

Gabbard also has "conflicted" views on torture. In 2004, she voted to authorize funds for operations at Guantanamo Bay, which was well-known (even at the time) for being a disgusting torture camp.

In 2014, she appeared on NDTV and was asked whether she shares the view that the CIA torture report is a "blot" on "American values". Gabbard replied: "Umm, very bluntly, I'm conflicted. I'm conflicted on this report. I think the jury is still out on the report itself. There are differing opinions on the report itself. Clearly, as I think about it myself, we would not like to see any human, any person, being treated inhumanely. And the other side, I can also understand, that any of us, if we're in a situation where our family or our community - our state or our country - is in a place where, let's say, in an hour, a nuclear bomb or an attack will go off unless this information is found - I believe that if I were president of the United States, that I would do everything in my power to keep the American people safe. So this is an area that I have conflicting feelings on." This "Ticking Time Bomb" scenario that has Gabbard so "conflicted" has been repeatedly debunked from every conceivable angle.

The Hawaii Congresswoman is (or has been member to) the Council on Foreign Relations, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Committee on Armed Services, and the Committee on Homeland Security, according to the Asian Tribune. She was also Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee prior to stepping down to endorse Bernie Sanders (and eventually, Hillary Clinton).

Rep. Gabbard originally backed Bernie Sanders, but then switched at the last minute and decided to support Hillary Clinton. "I am going to continue to push for an end to counterproductive interventionist wars and lead our country toward a path toward peace," she said. (It's utterly remarkable seeing a politician claim they want peace immediately after endorsing a lifetime hawk like Hillary Clinton)

Gabbard was praised by the President of the far-right leaning National Review, who said he likes her thinking "a lot" and called Rep. Gabbard "smart and reasonable" as well as "pragmatically strong on defense".

Gabbard denounced it, but nonetheless received a glowing endorsement in 2016 from former KKK Imperial Wizard David Duke, who called her "an example of the need for political realignment".

Richard Spencer, a white nationalist said of her in January 2017: "Tulsi Gabbard is brave and the kind of person we need in the diplomatic corps."

What is surprising here is that Rep. Gabbard received a “Champion of Freedom” award at the Jewish Values Gala — an awards ceremony held by the World Values Network, which was founded by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who calls himself ''the most famous Rabbi in America.’’

On Rabbi Shmuley’s Facebook page, Tulsi Gabbard’s award win is recounted in the same post that celebrates making then–Secretary of State John Kerry renounce his statements that Israeli policies contribute to terrorism against Israel. A photo from the event shows Gabbard posing with Rabbi Shmuley and Miriam Adelson, the wife of Sheldon Adelson (Adelson happens to believe Palestinians are “a made-up people”).

As her Democratic primary opponent pointed out, Gabbard has introduced Adelson-backed legislation to Congress before.

Clearly liberals and leftists who admire Gabbard’s foreign policy are mistaking her anti-interventionism for dovishness. Nancy Pelosi called Tulsi Gabbard "an emerging star" in the Democratic Party, according to WaPo.

The Hawaii Congresswoman refused to publicly condemn the nomination of Steve Bannon as chief strategist. Following Trump's victory in the 2016 election, Bannon set up a meeting between Trump and Gabbard, The Hill wrote. Bannon "loves Tulsi Gabbard. Loves her", according to "a source familiar with Bannon's thinking" and reported on by The Hill. "Wants to work with her on everything."

Tulsi Gabbard is not anti-establishment and her political career is proof of it. It doesn't matter what the candidate says going into the 2020 election; her contemporary rhetoric is categorically irrelevant. Where she is now was only made possible by the pro-war, pro-establishment, pro-corporate positions that brought her to the very moment in January 2019 when she announced her bid for president, as USA Really reported.

Gabbard - like Barack Obama, Rand Paul, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and every other Republican and Democrat who has claimed to be a deviation from the norm - is unfortunately, at the end of the day, just another establishment hack.

In 2016, it was the Republican Party blitzing the American people with an overwhelming number of candidates, all promising to be different. In 2020, it seems the Democratic Party has adopted this same strategy, flooding the media with new, young faces offering age-old promises to do what literally every politician before them promised to do: reform one of two political parties historically and fundamentally rooted in corruption, backed by corporations. Like any other politician, she should be evaluated based on the circumstances that brought her to office and not on the promises she's making (or will make) to attain a higher one.

Author: Usa Really