Hawaii Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard last week introduced the “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” after visiting New York’s Trump Tower and meeting President-elect Donald Trump. Gabbard, an Army veteran and a member of the House Committees on Foreign Affairs and Armed Services, wrote: “If you or I gave money, weapons or support to al-Qaeda or ISIS, we would be thrown in jail. Why does our government get a free pass on this?”
She told NPR on Friday that the US government has been “quietly supporting allies, partners, individuals and groups who are working directly with al-Qaida, ISIS, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham and other terrorist groups by providing them with money, weapons and intelligence support in their fight to overthrow the Syrian government.”
As a result, Gabbard said, “we will end up with a situation where not only will the Syrian people be under greater human suffering and an even more dire situation. We will end up with al-Qaida now having far greater military capability, far greater strength and posing a greater threat not only to the region but to the United States and the rest of the world.”
Host Scott Simon noted that “the Assad regime has used chemical weapons and has committed what a lot of people consider to be war crimes against its own people.”
“You really think the Syrian rebels would be worse?” he asked.
“My statement stands,” Gabbard answered. “If those who are calling for the removal of this regime are, in essence, accepting the fact that al-Qaida would take over that country, whether it’s al-Qaida or ISIS or other terrorist groups – and for people to think that that would somehow improve the lives of the people there in Syria or that it would somehow better secure the American people – I think that’s a crazy notion.”
A supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries, Gabbard sees a common approach by Sanders and Trump regarding US intervention in Syria. “It was a clear difference between Senator Sanders and Secretary Clinton,” she said. “I am hopeful that this new administration coming in will change these policies so that we don’t continue making these destructive decisions, as have been made in the past.”