Earlier this week, President Trump made a realpolitik decision in the Washington Post generated outrage over the Saudi intelligence services killing Islamist, Muslim Brotherhood fluffer and WaPo opinion writer Jamal Khashoggi. He issued a statement that essentially said that even if the killing was carried out with the knowledge of Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that our strategic relationship with Saudi Arabia took precedence over the desire of Turkey and Iran to neutralize the US-Saudi alliance.
This prompted various degrees of outrage from all corners. Some of it principled but most of it merely opportunistic or paid-for by Iran, Turkey, and Qatar.
Into this waded Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who obviously thinks she is destined for bigger things.
Hey @realdonaldtrump: being Saudi Arabia’s bitch is not “America First.”
— Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) November 21, 2018
This is pretty rich coming from someone who is basically a wholly owned entity of the Bashar Assad regime.
Let’s go back to exactly a week ago, when news broke that a chemical attack had killed scores of Syrians, including children.
The Syrian civil war had not seen such an attack since 2013. In that case, and last week, there was little substantive debate over whom to blame. The United States and its allies, along with non-governmental organizations, all agreed the evidence pointed to Assad.
This is where Gabbard’s point of view starts to stray. For one thing, she still doesn’t believe there’s enough evidence to hold Assad responsible for last week’s chemical attack.
And here is how Gabbard reacted to Trump’s decision to launch missile strikes:
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 escalation is short-sighted and will lead to more dead civilians, more refugees, the strengthening of al-Qaeda and other terrorists, and a possible nuclear war between the United States and Russia.
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.
It’s remarkable that Gabbard raised the prospect of nuclear war with Russia. But note her language when it comes to placing blame. “Whoever is found responsible.” “If President Assad is indeed guilty.” These phrases reveal her striking departure from the consensus that Assad’s government launched the attack.
As a reminder, Gabbard met with Assad in Syria in January, an unusual decision met with criticism once she returned to Washington. The Hawaii congresswoman said she met with Assad because she’s interested in ending the Syrian civil war. “We’ve got to be able to meet with anyone that we need to if there is a possibility that we could achieve peace,” she told CNN on Jan. 25.
Amazingly, both the left and the right were able to unite in calling out Gabbard on white-washing Assad’s use of chemical weapons (h/t for the hard work of digging up the tweets to Daily Signal):
And how would you describe your fondness for Assad? Asking for the 500,000 Syrians he murdered… including the 50,000 children who gasped their last breath because of him. https://t.co/5Ezre1lWwO
— Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) November 21, 2018
An Assad stooge, everyone. https://t.co/dKGGECRlnh
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) November 21, 2018
.@TulsiGabbard met with Bashar al-Assad last year and expressed doubt that he had attacked his own civilians with chemical weapons. Refresher, from @eliseviebeck, here: https://t.co/jp33fmUn0f https://t.co/v3d7aJzNnc
— Ali Rogin (@AliRogin) November 21, 2018
— Scott Bixby (@scottbix) November 21, 2018
assad's vassal says what? https://t.co/K57gWssEtE
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) November 21, 2018
— David Rutz (@DavidRutz) November 21, 2018
The worst possible messenger on the planet for this sentiment https://t.co/MCrYSXaTAw
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) November 21, 2018
TFW Assad's pal is dunking on you for being too cozy to a Middle Eastern dictator… https://t.co/PVsIeg5BTs
— Noah Shachtman (@NoahShachtman) November 21, 2018
The difference between defending Bashar Assad and denying he was responsible for chemical weapons attacks and making a calculated decision that the Saudis extrajudicially killing one of their citizens over his alliance with an organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, which is committed to overthrowing the House of Saud is not worth burning down a vital regional security agreement is pretty stark
The fact that even reflexive anti-Trumpers like Willis and Schachtman can take the time to call out Gabbard on her duplicity is a sign that there is actually hope of American politics.
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