Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is not convinced Syrian President Bashar Al Assad is to blame for this week’s deadly chemical attack inside his own country that killed at least 100 people, including young children.

And she denounced President Donald Trump’s decision to launch missiles at a Syrian military base in retaliation.

Gabbard spoke with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Friday to reiterate her stance that the U.S. should not be involved in a “counter-productive regime change war,” a phrase she used nearly a dozen times during the 20-minute interview.

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard talks to Wolf Blitzer on CNN’s “Situation Room” on Friday.

Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

Pressed by Blitzer about whether she believed Assad was behind the decision to use chemical attacks against his own people, Gabbard said she was skeptical.

She evoked the U.S. decision to invade Iraq in 2003 that was built on the Bush administration’s false claims that the country’s dictatorial leader, Saddam Hussein, was harboring weapons of mass destruction.

“We launched a completely destructive counterproductive war based on that intelligence, which has now, years later, proven to be wrong,” Gabbard said. “We had leaders in Congress who questioned that evidence that was presented and voted against that war because they were not convinced by the administration then saying that they had the proof necessary to launch this war.

“So yes I’m skeptical because we have to take at a premium the cost of these wars not only on the Syrian people and the people in the Middle East, but the cost of these wars here in the United States, at a time where, you know, we don’t have money to build the roads that we need here in Hawaii or in other parts of the country.”

Watch the full interview here.

 

For the most part, Gabbard stuck to her talking points despite a barrage of questions from Blitzer about why she refused to accept the Trump administration’s claims — backed by U.S. intelligence — that Assad was behind the chemical attack.

Gabbard denounced the decision to take military action in a strongly worded statement Thursday in which she said the administration acted “recklessly” to escalate global tensions and without evidence that Assad was responsible for the chemical attack.

But Gabbard’s statement also raised some eyebrows. Not only did she evoke the possibility of nuclear war with Russia, but she also called for the execution of Assad should the U.S. find credible evidence that he was behind the chemical attacks.

“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,” Gabbard said. “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.”

Gabbard secretly traveled to Syria in January on what she described as a fact-finding mission. She met with Assad at least twice.

Gabbard was criticized when she came home, not only for her visits with Assad, but also for allowing a group with alleged ties to the Syrian president to pay for the trip. Gabbard eventually reimbursed the expenses with her own money.

About the Author