Tulsi Gabbard on War & Peace

Democratic Presidential Challenger; HI Rep.


Oppose Bush-Clinton-Trump policy of regime-change wars

I want to rebuild our Democratic Party, takes it out of the hands of the foreign policy establishment in Washington, and truly puts it in the hands of the people of this country. A party that actually hears the voices of Americans who are struggling all across this country and puts it in the hands of veterans and fellow Americans who are calling for an end to this ongoing Bush-Clinton-Trump foreign policy doctrine of regime change wars, overthrowing dictators in other countries, needlessly sending my brothers and sisters in uniform into harm's way to fight in wars that actually undermine our national security and have cost us thousands of American lives.

These are wars that have cost us as American taxpayers trillions of dollars since 9/11 alone. As president, I will end this foreign policy, end these regime change wars, work to end this new cold war and arms race, and instead invest our hard-earned taxpayer dollars actually into serving the needs of the American people right here at home.

Source: November Democratic primary debate in Atlanta , Nov 20, 2019

End the regime change war in Syria

Q: Last week, you said that US troops should get out of Syria now. You don't agree with how the President handled the withdrawal. What would you have done differently?

GABBARD: First of all, we've got to understand the reality of the situation there, which is that the slaughter of the Kurds being done by Turkey is yet another negative consequence of the regime change war that we've been waging in Syria. Donald Trump has the blood of the Kurds on his hand, but so do many of the politicians in our country from both parties who have supported this ongoing regime change war in Syria that started in 2011, along with many in the mainstream media who have been championing and cheerleading this regime change war. As president, I will end these regime change wars by doing two things: ending the draconian sanctions that are really a modern day siege; and I would make sure that we stop supporting terrorists like Al-Qaeda in Syria who have been the ground force in this ongoing regime change war.

Source: October Democratic CNN/NYTimes Primary debate , Oct 15, 2019

Indefinite stay in Syria IS "endless war"

V.P. Joe BIDEN: I would not have withdrawn the troops [from the Kurdish areas of northern Syria, under threat from a Turkish invasion]. It has been the most shameful thing that any president has done in terms of foreign policy. I would be making it real clear to Assad that he's going to have a problem because Turkey is the real problem here.

Mayor Pete BUTTIGIEG: Soldiers in the field are reporting that, for the first time, they feel ashamed of what their country has done.

GABBARD: What you're saying is that you would continue to support having U.S. troops in Syria for an indefinite period of time to continue this regime change war that has caused so many refugees to flee Syria, that you would continue to have our country involved in a war that has undermined our national security, you would continue this policy of the U.S. actually providing arms and support to terrorist groups in Syria because they are the ones who have been the ground force in this regime change

Source: October Democratic CNN/NYTimes Primary debate , Oct 15, 2019

No arbitrary deadline, but out of Afghanistan in one year

I was deployed to Iraq in 2005 during the height of the war where I served in a field medical unit where every single day I saw the high cost of war. This is not about arbitrary deadlines. This is about leadership to do the right thing to bring our troops home, within the first year in office, because they shouldn't have been there this long. We have to do the right thing, end these wasteful regime change wars, and bring our troops home.
Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) , Jul 31, 2019

No war with Iran: it would escalate region-wide

I served in the war in Iraq at the height of the war in 2005, a war that took over 4,000 of my brothers and sisters in uniforms' lives. The American people need to understand that this war with Iran would be far more devastating, far more costly than anything that we ever saw in Iraq. It would take many more lives. It would exacerbate the refugee crisis.

And it wouldn't be just contained within Iran. This would turn into a regional war. This is why it's so important that every one of us, every single American, stand up and say no war with Iran. We need to get back into the Iran nuclear agreement, and we need to negotiate how we can improve it.

Obviously, if there was an attack against American troops, then there would have to be a response. But a war with Iran is incredibly dangerous. Trump needs to get back into the Iran nuclear deal and swallow his pride, put the American people first.

Source: June Democratic Primary debate (first night in Miami) , Jun 26, 2019

Troops home from Afghanistan; we're no better off than 2001

Q: Why haven't we ended U.S. involvement in Afghanistan?

RYAN: You have to stay engaged in these situations. We must have our State Department engaged. We must have our military engaged to the extent they need to be.

GABBARD: Is that what you will tell the parents of soldiers killed in Afghanistan? "Well, we just have to be engaged?" As a soldier, I will tell you, that answer is unacceptable. We have to bring our troops home from Afghanistan. We are in a place in Afghanistan where we have lost so many lives. We've spent so much money. Money that's coming out of every one of our pockets, money that should be going into communities here at home. We are no better off in Afghanistan today than we were when this war began.

RYAN: If the US isn't engaged, the Taliban will grow.

GABBARD: The Taliban was there long before we came in. They're going to be there long before we leave. We cannot keep US troops deployed to Afghanistan thinking that we're going to somehow squash this Taliban.

Source: June Democratic Primary debate (first night in Miami) , Jun 26, 2019

Ending regime change wars allows investment at home

I will end these counterproductive and wasteful regime change wars, work to end this new Cold War and nuclear arms race. And take the trillions of dollars that we've been spending, would continue to spend and invest those resources on serving the needs of the American people, things like healthcare, education, rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, protecting our environment. There are many urgent needs here that we need to address and we've got to get our priorities straight.
Source: ABC This Week 2019 interview of presidential hopefuls , May 19, 2019

No regime change in Iran; no war in Yemen

Source: Truthout.org, "War and Peace," on 2020 presidential hopefuls , Mar 27, 2019

No more wars for regime change, like Syria and Afghanistan

Her big idea: A central part of Ms Gabbard's campaign has been her call for an end to US-led "regime change wars"--in Syria and Afghanistan. She also condemns runaway military spending as a "new arms race". As a major in the US Army reserve and a veteran of the Iraq War, Ms Gabbard has a unique perch from which to launch her critique.

Her biggest obstacle: Her foreign policy has also been a source of controversy. In 2017 she met President Bashar Assad in Syria and has questioned the international consensus that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against its own citizens.

"I served in a war in Iraq, a war that was based on lies," she said. "I think that the evidence needs to be gathered." She refused to label Mr Assad as a "war criminal"--a position that sets her well apart from the majority of US politicians and the American people.

Source: BBC.com on 2020 Democratic primary contenders at 2019 SXSW , Mar 12, 2019

U.S. government lied to American people to launch Iraq War

Gabbard would not say whether she believes Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is a war criminal -- the latest in a string of skeptical comments about whether Assad was, as the United Nations concluded, behind an April 2017 chemical weapons attack. "I think that the evidence needs to be gathered and, as I have said before, if there is evidence that he has committed war crimes, he should be prosecuted as such," Gabbard said.

Gabbard also would not say whether she would trust the American intelligence community as president. "We have, in our recent past, a situation where our own government told lies to the American people, and to the United Nations for that matter, to launch a war," she said.

Source: CNN KFile on 2019 SXSW conference in Austin , Mar 11, 2019

Oppose regime change wars in Syria, Venezuela, Iran

As a soldier, I know the cost of war. And as president and commander-in-chief, I will end these regime-change wars. Regime-change wars that we are seeing still being carried out in Syria, regime-change wars that this current administration is threatening to carry out in countries like Venezuela, laying down the groundwork in Iran. We see throughout decades how this policy has persisted through both Democrat and Republican administrations and the negative impact that these wars have caused.
Source: CNN Town Hall on 2020 Democratic presidential primary , Mar 10, 2019

End US support for Saudi-led conflict in Yemen

Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls , Jan 14, 2019

Use military to fight terrorists, not for regime change

She told Fox in 2014 that she would direct "the great military that we have" to conduct "unconventional strategic precise operations to take out these terrorists wherever they are."

"In short, when it comes to the war against terrorists, I'm a hawk," she told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald last year. "When it comes to counterproductive wars of regime change, I'm a dove." Gabbard lambasted the Obama administration for avoiding the phrase. In one interview, she told the host that "the vast majority of terrorist attacks conducted around the world for over the last decade have been conducted by groups who are fueled by this radical Islamic ideology."

Gabbard complained that by "not using this term 'Islamic extremism' and clearly identifying our enemies," the administration couldn't "come up with a very effective strategy to defeat that enemy."

Source: Jacobin Mag., "Not your friend": 2020 presidential hopefuls , May 27, 2017

Opposes fighting in Afghanistan & Syria; end arms to Saudis

She has called for pulling out of Afghanistan, the longest war in US history, suggesting that the government invest the money instead into "rebuilding our own nation through long-term infrastructure projects." She's opposed US intervention in Syria since 2013, air strikes in Iraq, and arms sales to Saudi Arabia. She backed Sanders in the Democratic primary because of Clinton's record of supporting "interventionist regime change wars."
Source: Jacobin Mag., "Not your friend": 2020 presidential hopefuls , May 27, 2017

Iraq was a war we never should have gotten into

Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii joined our campaign in a rather dramatic fashion: She resigned as vice chair of the Democratic National Committee. Tulsi, a veteran of the war in Iraq, is deeply concerned about foreign and military policy. She saw the lives of too many of her comrades destroyed by a war we should never have gotten into, and she wanted policies to make sure that we never got into another such war again.
Source: Our Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p.102 , Nov 15, 2016

Policy allowing women in combat roles long overdue

Q: Should women in combat be prohibited?

Gabbard: I think that the policy change [allowing women in combat] was long overdue and reflected kind of a catching up to the reality of some of the jobs that women have been doing in combat situations now for some time. Within the last 12 years that our country has been at war, it's been a very unconventional type of combat. It's different from former concepts of "the front lines" and "the rear," and who is doing what, and where the attacks are coming from.

Source: The New Republic magazine, articles on 2020 candidates , Jan 24, 2014

End our involvement in Afghanistan

As a war veteran who knows the cost of war, I will continue to call for an end to our involvement in Afghanistan. Now is the time to withdraw our troops as quickly and safely as possible. Our troops have served this nation honorably and sacrificed tremendously. We have decimated Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, we have killed Osama bin Laden, and we have provided the Afghan people and government with the tools they need to succeed. In order for Afghanistan to achieve stability and peace, the Afghan people must stand up and determine the direction of their future. We must take the $2.5 billion a week we are pouring into Afghanistan to prop up a corrupt government and invest those resources in rebuilding our own economy here at home.
Source: 2012 House campaign website, votetulsi.com, "Issues" , Nov 6, 2012

Opposes combat operations in Afghanistan.

Gabbard opposes the PVS survey question on Afghanistan

Project Vote Smart infers candidate issue stances on key topics by summarizing public speeches and public statements. Congressional candidates are given the opportunity to respond in detail; about 11% did so in the 2012 races.

Project Vote Smart summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: 'Afghanistan: Do you support United States' combat operations in Afghanistan?'

Source: Project Vote Smart 12-PVS-q17 on Aug 30, 2012

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V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
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2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
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Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
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Page last updated: Dec 14, 2019