The Problems with Tulsi Gabbard

The Problems with Tulsi Gabbard

Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard has done a remarkably impressive job of exposing the warmongering, militarist, and imperialist party that the Democratic Party has become. The fact that she has been condemned and vilified in her own party for standing against “regime-change wars” only goes to show how the Democrats and Republicans are two wings of the same party—the welfare-warfare party. 

Nonetheless, notwithstanding Gabbard’s opposition to “regime-change wars,” there are problems with her positions, both with respect to domestic policy as well as foreign policy.

On domestic policy, she is as socialist and interventionist as every other Republican and Democrat in the presidential race. That is demonstrated by her unwavering commitment to such programs as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public schooling, education grants, farm subsidies, foreign aid, the drug war, immigration controls, trade restrictions, and many other socialist and interventionist programs to which both Democrats and Republicans are devoted.

There are also problems with Gabbard on foreign policy. While she has made it clear that she opposes “regime-change wars,” that necessarily implies that she is favors foreign interventionism in wars whose goal isn’t regime change. 

That includes the “war on terrorism,” a type of foreign intervention that she clearly favors. As long as U.S. troops are invading and occupying other nations for the purpose of killing “terrorists,” she has no problem with that.

Consider Syria, for example. She opposes sending U.S. troops to Syria for the purpose of “regime change.” But she has no problem sending them to Syria for the purpose of killing ISIS members.

What she doesn’t get is what all the other Republican and Democratic presidential candidates don’t get — that it is foreign interventionism that gives rise to anti-American terrorism, which is then used as the excuse for waging the “war on terrorism,” which is then used as the excuse for taking away our liberties here at home, not to mention ever-increasing budgets for the national-security establishment. 

The right position — the libertarian position — the position I take — is: End all U.S. foreign interventionism, including the “war on terrorism.” Bring all the troops home from everywhere immediately (and discharge them into the private sector). That would bring an end to anti-American terrorism, which would mean no more perpetual “war on terrorism,” which would mean no more need for ever increasing budgets for the deep state. America would be back on the road to liberty, peace, prosperity, and harmony with the people of the world.

Another problem with Gabbard is that she doesn’t seem to comprehend the criminal nature of the invasion and multiyear occupation of Iraq. Iraq never attacked the United States, which means that the U.S. was always the aggressor nation in the conflict. Moreover, there was never the constitutionally required congressional declaration of war against Iraq, which made the war illegal under our form of government.

Gabbard knew all this when she followed orders to deploy to Iraq in 2004. She also knew that a soldier has a legal and moral duty to refuse to obey unlawful orders. She also knew that she had taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution. What she has yet to explain is why she didn’t refuse orders to deploy to Iraq, given that the war was an illegal war of aggression against a nation that had never attacked the United States and an illegal war under our form of constitutional government that requires a congressional declaration of war.

Finally, while serving in Congress, Gabbard has retained her position within the U.S. military, presenting her with a serious ethical conflict of interest. How can she make an independent judgment on military-intelligence budgets when she is part of the structure that benefits from those budgets? When she was elected to Congress, she had the ethical duty to resign her position from the military so that she would be able to exercise an independent judgement with respect to the military-intelligence establishment.

Is Gabbard right to oppose regime-change wars? Of course. Has she provided an invaluable service to Americans by exposing the war-mongering, imperialist traits of the Democratic Party? Of course.

But let’s not get too carried away with Gabbard, given her devotion to socialism and domestic interventionism, to continued  foreign interventionism through the “war on terrorism,” and to the national-security establishment.