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Tulsi Gabbard Challenges “Shoot First, Ask Questions Later” Syria Policy

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In response to a chemical weapon attack in Syria, the Trump Administration increase U.S. involvement in the war in Syria through airstrikes on the Syrian Government. Though the United Nations

The act received bipartisan support, despite the Hague’s Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has not yet attributed the attack to the Syrian Government pending an investigation. At the United Nations Security Council, Italy’s Delegate Sebastiano Cardi called a military approach from the International Community in Syria “wrong and delusional” adding, “the solution will never be found through military means.” China, Japan, Bolivia, Uruguay, Egypt, and several other countries affirmed an investigation by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons needed to be completed to confirm the attack.

In 2013, the United States, UK, and France attributed a Sarin Gas attack to the Syrian Government, only for the United Nations to debunk that claim, citing rebel forces conducted the attack, though the Syrian Government and ISIS have been known to use chemical weapons throughout the past six years of war, making a knee-jerk assessment irresponsible. Nor should the attack immediately elicit the United States overriding an International investigation and solution to increase its involvement in the war. The CIA has already funded Syrian rebels who have been known to work with terrorist groups to the tune of $1 billion annually for most of the war, and the Trump Administration has quietly been increasing U.S. troops on the ground in Syria. The Los Angeles Times interviewed a civilian on the ground in Syria where the airstrikes were conducted, who told them the attack was ““proof that the U.S. helps Daesh,” referring to ISIS.

“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,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), an Iraq War Veteran and currently serving as a Major in Hawaii’s National Guard, in a statement, asserting she would support Assad’s prosecution and execution as a war criminal if the attacks were proven. “”A successful prosecution of Assad (at the International Criminal Court) will require collection of evidence from the scene of the incident, and I support the United Nation’s efforts in this regard. Without such evidence, a successful prosecution is impossible.” Gabbard warned that escalating military intervention would ” mean more dead civilians, more refugees, the strengthening of terrorists, and a possible nuclear war between the United States and Russia.”

Opposing the war in Syria and the increased U.S. involvement in the country’s civil war is being misconstrued by pro-war enthusiasts on both sides of the political aisle as pro-Putin or alt-right to reduce all anti-war sentiments on grounds of aligning with unpopular factions. Center for American Progress’ Neera Tanden and former DNC Chair turned corporate lobbyist Howard Dean criticized Gabbard for her anti-war stance, claiming she shouldn’t be in congress. Tanden’s Think Tank is funded by the military industrial complex through companies like Boeing and Lockheed Martin, who have used the think tank with other corporations in lieu of lobbyists to propagate their own agendas.

Rather, opposing an interventionist foreign policy is predicated on acknowledging the implications of U.S. meddling in foreign military conflicts and a historical awareness of the disastrous consequences it produces.

“I’m sorry to say our greatest challenge is trying to avoid a war with Russia. We’ve gotten to a point where that is a real possibility,” said Former Secretary of Defense under Bill Clinton, William J. Perry at a conference held by Stanford University in December 2016. “I would go one step farther than that and say that if we get in any kind of military conflict, even a relatively small military conflict, the danger of it escalating is great. The Russians knowing they are outgunned in conventional forces by the United States and NATO have made it quite clear they would move to what they call tactical nuclear weapons. Nobody who has thought about this problem seriously at all believes that once you go to tactical nuclear weapons there is any way of keeping that from escalating to a general nuclear war. So the greatest challenge we have today is avoiding that first step to a military conflict, because once that starts, nobody knows how to control the escalation.”

Unfortunately, the political climate has been hijacked by Clinton partisans and neo-con war hawks like Senator John McCain (R-AZ) who transmogrify any standard de-escalation or easing of tensions between the United States and another Nuclear super power as a dubious, evil conspiracy.

Michael Sainato’s writing has appeared in the Guardian, Miami Herald, Baltimore Sun, Denver Post, Buffalo News, the Hill, Alternet, and several other publications . Follow him on twitter: @MSainat1

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