War Hawks Jump on Progressives to Push for Intervention in Syria
Peace will not result—a political vacuum will
Since she spoke out against the limited debate schedule set up by former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz during the 2016 Democratic primaries, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has been a thorn in the side of the Democratic establishment. After resigning from her position as DNC vice chair to campaign on behalf of Sen. Bernie Sanders, she became a prominent Sanders surrogate. During the beginning of the Standing Rock protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline, Gabbard was one of very few politicians to speak up on behalf of the Standing Rock Sioux and water protectors, even making a trip out to Standing Rock with thousands of veterans. That support from veterans helped push the Army Corps of Engineers to delay the pipeline’s construction until an Environmental Impact Assessment was conducted to explore different routes.
Transcending the partisan fray in favor of following her own principles yet again, Gabbard took an unannounced trip to Syria with former Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who lead opposition against the Iraq War at its offset and organized a congressional coalition to stop it. Kucinich has made several trips to Syria to promote a peaceful resolution to the war there.
Gabbard’s trip to Syria isn’t the isolated event her critics make it out to be. In 2015, PBS Frontline’s Martin Smith went on a similar trip to Syria, filming a documentary about how Syrian President Assad and the Syrians living under the control of the government viewed the Syrian War. “For the most part, people were open about their hopes and fears,” Smith wrote in 2015. “As to how the war began, they had a consistent narrative: That the protesters that took to the streets in 2011 had legitimate demands, but that the demonstrations were quickly hijacked by foreign backed jihadists. They reject the idea that Western-backed rebels are “moderates” as they are often termed in the US.” Smith noted that, although Assad had his critics, the people of Syria don’t want their central government—like those of Iraq and Libya—to collapse, virtually destroying the countries’ infrastructures. Smith predicted that the only way peace in Syria would be established is if an agreement between Assad’s government and rebel forces was reached, even if it redrew the border lines of Syria.