Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) talks often about her January 2017 trip to Syria, when she met Bashar al-Assad, toured Aleppo after it had been reduced to rubble (by the Assad regime), and interviewed Syrian civilians and the regime-approved “opposition,” who unanimously told her Assad was a better option for Syria than the “terrorists.”
But Gabbard never talks about her other trip — to the Turkish-Syrian border with a group of lawmakers in June 2015, when she met with authentic opposition leaders, victims of Assad’s barrel bombs and members of the volunteer rescue brigade known as the White Helmets. Their stories, which don’t support Assad’s narrative, never make it into Gabbard’s speeches on the campaign trail.
Listening to Gabbard, one might think the United States initiated the Syrian conflict by arming terrorists for a regime-change war that has resulted in untold suffering. But Gabbard knows better. She has heard the testimony of children who have been maimed and orphaned by the actual murderers, the Assad regime, but she chooses to ignore them.
“Like the Russians, Iranians and the Assad regime, Tulsi sees the Syrian people struggling for dignity as terrorists, despite the facts,” said Mouaz Moustafa, executive director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force, who was Gabbard’s guide on that 2015 trip.
That bias, combined with her long record of defending the Assad regime and parroting its propaganda, form the basis for the assertion Gabbard has “embraced and been an apologist for” Assad, as Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) said Wednesday post-debate on CNN. Harris also said she doesn’t take Gabbard seriously.
But Gabbard’s candidacy should be taken very seriously — not because she has a significant chance of being president, but because her narrative on Syria is deeply incorrect, immoral and un-American. If it were adopted by her party and the country, it would lead the United States down a perilous moral and strategic path.