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Peace and Prosperity

The Apparent Contradiction at the Heart of Tulsi Gabbard’s Presidential Campaign


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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) has presented her opposition to certain United States military interventions overseas as a major issue, and arguably as the primary issue, in her presidential campaign. Yet, there is an apparent contradiction between the way she disparages certain US military interventions overseas and the way she talks up her own past and current employment in the US military.

This apparent contradiction was on display during a Wednesday interview of Gabbard at the ABC show The View.

Gabbard, referring to the show’s hosts, said, “some of you have accused me of being a traitor to my county, a Russian asset, a Trojan horse, or a useful idiot I think was the term you used.” Defending herself from those accusations, Gabbard states:
I want to let your viewers know exactly who I am — set the record straight. I am a patriot. I love our country. I am a strong and intelligent woman of color. And I have dedicated almost my entire adult life to protecting the safety, security, and the freedom of all Americans in this country.
Gabbard proceeds to make clear that she includes 16 years and counting in the US Army as part of her time dedicated to “protecting the safety, security, and the freedom of all Americans in this country.” Responding to criticism of her by Hillary Clinton that was along the same lines as the criticism from hosts of the show, Gabbard declares:
Unfortunately, you doubled down on the baseless accusation that [Clinton] made that strikes at the core of who I am. I’m a soldier.
Gabbard also presents in the interview this criticism of Clinton, who has been US first lady, senator, and secretary of state:
It is indisputable to say anything other than the fact — let me just close this out — that Hillary Clinton, throughout her career, has levered the foreign policy of interventionism and being the world’s police, going and toppling dictators in other countries, that has caused such destruction and loss of life.
See the apparent contradiction here? Gabbard claims Gabbard is good because she has been in the US military and that Clinton is bad because Clinton has helped direct the military to do bad things. Indeed, Gabbard goes on to criticizes Clinton championing the Iraq War in which Gabbard was deployed. “I believed the lies that were told to us” to promote that war, says Gabbard.

Now that Gabbard recognizes those lies and opposes that war, how does she square her work in the US military in that war with her suggestion that she spent that time “protecting the safety, security, and the freedom of all Americans in this country?” Maybe she can. It would be interesting to hear her explanation.

How about the rest of Gabbard’s work in the US military? How has it advanced “protecting the safety, security, and the freedom of all Americans in this country?” An explanation would be helpful.
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