Tulsi Gabbard: Traitor or Patriot?

Do you remember two weeks ago? It seems like so long ago. But back then Democrats and the media were upset that Trump might have been in league with Russia to win the election. There were talks about a big investigation. It was so big it was “bigly.”

But that was two weeks ago. Today, nobody seems to care about Trump and Russia. Where there was discord, there’s now a blessed sense of unity. Oh glory be to God.

Or, glory be to bombs and missiles. In response to a chemical attack that killed 70 Syrian people, Trump dropped missiles on Syrian airfields. MSNBC’s Brian Williams aired footage of the missile launch on his show. He described the footage as, “beautiful pictures of fearsome armaments.”

Republican leaders like Paul Ryan support the missile attack. Ryan called it “appropriate and just.” And Democratic leadership has united with their Republican colleagues.  Rep. Adam Schiff, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, and Rep. Chuck Schumer, the Senate Minority leader, both support Trump’s missile attack. They think it will make Assad think twice before gassing his people again.

Ahh, there’s nothing like finding a common enemy to create a sense of unity. But what happens when someone asks a question. Like, umm, “Where’s the evidence?”

She becomes a scapegoat.

Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran, wants to see the evidence that Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, gassed the Syrian people. To her credit, so far the only evidence I’ve seen are media reports that say the United States claims that Assad used chemical weapons.

Tulsi Gabbard, Syria, and the DNC

How did Democrats respond to Gabbard’s demand for evidence? Howard Dean claimed, “This is a disgrace. Gabbard should not be in Congress.” Neera Tanden, the President of the American Center for American Progress, suggested that Gabbard’s skepticism was enough for her constituents to vote her out of office.

The scandal has intensified because Gabbard traveled to Syria to meet with Assad in January 2017. But she also traveled throughout Aleppo, Damascus, and Beirut to meet with the people. The House Ethics Committee approved the 7-day trip before she went. The approved trip was for investigative purposes and was not funded by taxpayer dollars.

To many establishment Democrats, Gabbard is a traitor for many reasons. First, she’s guilty for meeting with Assad. Second, she left her position as the Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee during the general election to endorse Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton. Traitor!

Now, I think Assad is a bad dude. I don’t think he’s good for Syria or for the world. But we’ve seen this game play out before. After 9/11, Americans found a strong sense of unity through violence as we went to war with Iraq. The justification for war was the “evidence” that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and that he was connected with al-Qaeda terrorists. The vast majority of the American people, including myself, believed the “evidence.”

But there were no weapons of mass destruction and Hussein was not connected with al-Qaeda. I wish the Iraq War was the only example of the US conducting war on false pretenses. But the US Naval Institute reports that the “evidence” at the Gulf of Tonkin incidents that led America deeper into the Vietnam War were based on false information. The institute states that, “… high government officials distorted facts and deceived the American public about events that led to full U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.”

Patriotism and America’s Pattern of Deception for War

But weapons of mass destruction and connections with al-Qaeda were not the only reasons the US went to war in Iraq. The US also wanted regime change. Why? Because Saddam was a bad dude. He was a murderous thug who killed his own people. As bad as Hussein was, regime change hasn’t made Iraq safer. Nearly 7,000 Iraqi civilians were murdered by terrorism. Gabbard is taking heat from Republicans and Democrats for warning about missile attacks and the potential dangers of regime change in Syria.

And then there’s the American history of justifying war. The Chicago Tribune stated in a 2014 article “American wars often start with a lie

When you study how the U.S. goes to war, there is a prevalent though not perfect pattern. The triggering event is often a sudden crisis that galvanizes popular opinion and becomes the immediate occasion for military intervention but subsequently is exposed as misguided perception or outright fabrication.

The United States has an undeniable pattern of providing “fake news” when going to war. Gabbard is making us come to terms with our history of distorted facts. We are facing a sudden crisis here at home. We have a president whose approval ratings hovered around 37% during his first 100 days in office. The Right and the Left have criticized him. But if there’s one thing that unites us and gives us meaning, and that is war.

Ahh, those beautiful missiles!

I don’t agree with everything Tulsi Gabbard believes, including her statements about “Islamic terrorism.” But, considering America’s pattern of starting wars based on lies, she is absolutely right to demand evidence before we attack other countries. In fact, it’s the patriotic thing to do.

Image: Tulsi Gabbard (Wikipedia, Public Domain)

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