Speaking on a podcast last week, Hillary Clinton sparked a huge firestorm with a veiled swipe at 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, theorizing that she's being groomed by Russia to be a potential third-party candidate in an effort to help President Trump win reelection. While Clinton's theory sparked controversy in and of itself, it was Gabbard's response that kicked the story into high gear.
"Great! Thank you @HillaryClinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain," Gabbard tweeted last week.
Great! Thank you @HillaryClinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of th… https://t.co/YEuqRfheT0— Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@Tulsi Gabbard 🌺)1571430043.0
Gabbard's characterization of Clinton as a 'warmonger' prompted some of her critics to point out that when it comes to war, the military combat veteran and Democratic Representative of Hawaii's 2nd congressional district is not exactly a pacifist, especially when it comes to Russia's brutal bombing campaigns in Syria. In September of 2015, Russia began targeting jihadist and rebel positions in the region, and Gabbard was among the first to tweet her support for the operation.
“Bad enough U.S. has not been bombing al-Qaeda/al-Nusra in Syria. But it’s mind-boggling that we protest Russia’s bombing of these terrorists.” she tweeted on September 30, 2015.
The very next day, Gabbard praised Russian President Vladimir Putin's willingness to bomb Syria, tweeting that "Al-Qaeda attacked us on 9/11 and must be defeated. Obama won’t bomb them in Syria. Putin did."
As journalist Caroline Orr pointed out earlier this year, Tulsi's self-proclaimed position as the "anti-war" candidate in the 2020 Democratic campaign doesn't match up with her record.
She’s not opposed to war; she’s opposed to U.S. involvement in some wars — even if that means doing nothing to help civilians who are being slaughtered by war criminals. She has accepted huge sums of money from the defense industry, expressed support for increasing the use of drone strikes, and hinted that she would consider using torture if she thought it was necessary. And like Trump, she believes in putting “America first,” regardless of the global consequences.
She isn’t “anti-war” — she’s a nationalist, hiding behind a mask of anti-interventionism.
Gabbard has said that she backs bombing campaigns only if terrorists are the target, but human rights watchdogs have been unequivocal in accusing Russian and Syrian forces of committing war crimes in Syria. Various human rights groups have estimated that between 371,222 and more than 570,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
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