Bashar al-Assad’s useful idiot

By | August 2, 2019

Josh Rogin writes:

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. [Continue reading…]

In her interview with Anderson Cooper after the Democratic debate, Tulsi Gabbard, describing the kind of leadership she would show if she was president, cited the example of Franklin D. Roosevelt forming an alliance with Joseph Stalin in World War Two “to bring about an end to that war.”

That misreading of history is an illustration of the simplistic antiwar narrative that Gabbard either believes or cynically chooses to employ given its appeal in contemporary America. It presents the sole imperative at a time of war being to figure out how to end the war as soon as possible.

In reality, in 1942 when the U.S., the U.K., and the U.S.S.R. formed a military alliance, it wasn’t in order to simply bring an end to the war. Had that been the goal, negotiations with Hitler could have begun there and then. American anti-interventionists such as Charles Lindbergh and members of the antiwar America First Committee would have been quite content to see the Nazis retain control of most of Europe all in the name of “peace.”

In a similar way, self-described opponents of war of the Gabbard variety are not really opposed to war itself — they just don’t want to see Americans involved. And absent such involvement, Assad’s choice to flatten Syrian cities with barrel bombs — that’s a problem for Syrians, not us.

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