Tag: Tulsi Gabbard

Stories Of Service And Sacrifice By Our Nation’s Veterans

Veterans Day is special to me. It’s a day when I often get to spend time with fellow veterans from many different generations, share stories, and remember our brothers and sisters who never made that long trip home. We will never forget.

Senator Mazie Hirono and I worked together for years on legislation that finally awards the well-deserved Congressional Gold Medal to World War II Filipino veterans—legislation that Barack Obama signed into law as one of his final acts as president. Last month, Mazie and I welcomed many of these veterans to the US Capitol, where we presented this long-overdue recognition to heroes like Sixto Tabay, the last living WWII Filipino veteran on Kaua?i, and around 200,000 others who served.

Recently, I hosted a screening of the film “Go for Broke: Origins” at the US Capitol in honor of the 100th Infantry Battalion / 442nd Regimental Combat Team, units created in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which were made up of young Japanese-American men who volunteered to serve in the US Army, despite facing bigotry and prejudice as their families and loved ones were thrown into internment camps. Our late Senator Daniel Inouye is featured in the film as a young man who volunteered to fight for freedom alongside thousands of others. Through their courage, valor, and sacrifice, the 442nd became the most highly decorated unit in Army history.



I could share so many stories of the courage and sacrifice displayed by the men and women that I had the privilege of serving with during my deployments to the Middle East. People of all walks of life—different religions, races, political ideologies, and more—all setting aside differences and coming together with one common goal: service to our country.

It is this selflessness by our nation’s veterans that should inspire us all this Veterans Day—and every day. They have shown us through their example and their lives what ‘service and sacrifice’ really means, and how we can all find ways to set aside our own differences, respect and treat each other with aloha, and work together for the good of our communities, our country, and humanity.

Today, let us reflect on how we can honor our nation’s veterans by living aloha and being of service in our own lives.

President Trump Must Uphold America’s Commitment To The Iran Nuclear Deal

If the U.S. is truly committed to the security of the American people, and making the world a safer place through nuclear nonproliferation, we must demonstrate our commitment to peace and diplomacy to Iran and to the rest of the world. 

The history of the United States relationship with Iran is rooted in, and defined by, a decades-long policy of regime change, which began with the CIA-led overthrow of democratically-elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq in 1953 in order to keep U.S.-backed Mohammad Reza Shah in power. This ultimately sparked the 1979 Islamic Revolution which grew from strong opposition to years of U.S. interventionist policies in Iran and throughout the region. As Iran’s new anti-U.S. government took power, our threats of intervention grew and Iran started its nuclear program as a direct response to defend against the possibility of another U.S.-led intervention and regime change plot.

Despite this entrenched history of conflict, our countries reached a multilateral diplomatic agreement to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon. That agreement is not based on trust, but on verification, and it would not have been possible without the support of our international partners and objective compliance experts at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

President Trump is threatening to break the commitments we have made to Iran and our allies by decertifying Iran’s adherence to the nuclear agreement, claiming they are not complying with the deal. Before taking such an action with serious and far-reaching consequences, the president must provide credible evidence to Congress from IAEA inspectors that Iran is willfully violating their end of the bargain. To date, neither the IAEA nor our own military and intelligence sources have been provided with any evidence to reach such a conclusion. In fact, they unanimously agree that Iran has stayed faithful to the agreement.

The Iran deal is far from perfect, and it falls far short of reconciling the enormous differences and innumerable grievances between the United States and Iran, but the Iran nuclear deal was about preventing Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon and preventing an all-out war with Iran – which is exactly what it has done. A common misconception is that upholding the deal will somehow prevent us from confronting Iran on other non-nuclear issues such as development of ballistic missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. This is not true. Despite its flaws, the Iran nuclear deal set a high water mark for diplomacy with a nation we otherwise do not have diplomatic ties with. We must continue to address these issues with Iran, outside of the construct of the nuclear deal. In our mission of nuclear non-proliferation, the agreement proves that diplomacy is our best option if we want to avoid yet another costly, destructive war.

The consequence of breaking our agreement and backing out of the deal, will likely cause Iran to restart its nuclear weapons program, and will spark a nuclear arms race across the region, beginning with countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, escalating the Shia-Sunni conflict to extremely dangerous levels.

In addition, our ability to successfully negotiate with countries like North Korea to ultimately denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, depends on our ability to abide by the agreement we promised to uphold with Iran. North Korea has already made it clear that the reason they are arming themselves with nuclear weapons is to deter the U.S. from toppling the North Korean regime. Walking away from the Iran nuclear agreement sends an unequivocal message to North Korea that there is no use pursuing any diplomatic negotiations with the U.S. because our country cannot be trusted to hold up its end of an agreement. This will greatly increase the chances of a nuclear war between North Korea and the United States, a conflict which could lead to the destruction of our beautiful state of Hawaii and its people, as well as the mainland United States. It will drastically increase nuclear proliferation around the world, catastrophic war, suffering, devastation, and loss of life worldwide.

Pulling out of this agreement now will achieve nothing for the U.S. and it is highly unlikely any other country would join us in imposing serious new sanctions against Iran. Hundreds of millions of dollars of Iranian assets have already been returned to their country. Rejecting this agreement will not get those funds that back or be able to reseal Iranian markets from foreign investment. Pulling out of the Iran nuclear agreement now has no upside, and tremendous downside. In short, there’s everything to lose and very little, if anything, to gain.

If President Trump follows through on his threat of walking away from the Iran nuclear deal, without providing any evidence that Iran has not complied, then Congress must act to ensure that as long as Iran is complying with the terms of the agreement, the Iran nuclear deal must be upheld.

Calling On Congress To Pass Aid Package For Puerto Rico Now

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard spoke on the House floor today calling on the Trump administration and Congress to pass an aid package for Puerto Rico now in response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard demanded that the administration immediately send all available resources to help with recovery efforts.


Safety At Home And Abroad, From Terrorism To Food Security

Nothing is more important than the safety and security of the people of Hawaii and our country. As a member of the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees, I am focused on keeping the American people safe from threats to our national security, environment, communities and fellow citizens.

For too long, our country’s leaders have refused to meet and negotiate directly with North Korea, and have held onto failed policies that resulted in a nuclear-armed North Korea with intercontinental ballistic missiles that put Hawaii and the mainland squarely within range. President Donald Trump needs to meet with Kim Jong Un to conduct direct negotiations without preconditions, in order to de-escalate and ultimately denuclearize the peninsula. Until then, we must also invest in cutting edge missile defense technology. We must always be willing to sit down with our adversaries, not just our friends, to pursue all avenues of peace.

We must also recognize that decades of U.S.-led regime change wars have caused Kim to develop and tighten his grip on nuclear weapons to ensure his regime does not suffer the same fate of Gaddafi in Libya and Saddam in Iraq. We must, once and for all, end our policy of regime change wars and make a commitment that our country will end our efforts to overthrow the governments of Syria, Iran, Venezuela or other countries.

Tomorrow is the 16th anniversary of 9/11, and al-Qaeda is stronger than ever before, in part due to a CIA-led program I have long called to end. For years, the CIA provided U.S.-taxpayer funds, arms, and intelligence to armed militants allied with al-Qaeda, fighting to overthrow the Syrian government. While Trump recently ended this program in Syria, our taxpayer dollars and military assets are still being used by Saudi Arabia in Yemen to strengthen al-Qaeda and directly and indirectly kill hundreds of thousands of Yemeni civilians — including the resultant famine and diseases like cholera. We must end our support for interventionist wars that drain our resources and threaten our national security by immediately passing my bipartisan bill, the Stop Arming Terrorist Act.

Just as we fight for peace and security abroad, we must address threats that exist here at home. We must end the war being waged against our environment by those who place profits above people and our planet. I’ve introduced legislation that will build on the momentum already created by Hawaii’s leadership in clean energy by setting national clean energy standards, and investing in infrastructure that protects and preserves our precious water resources.

We must address the threat to our food security as Hawaii continues to import more than 85 percent of its food. In the 2018 Farm Bill, I’m working with Hawaii farmers to empower those growing food to feed our people, rather than more giveaways to big, agribusiness corporations.

We must end the failed and destructive war on drugs that has so devastated our families and communities. It has overburdened our criminal justice system, torn families apart and made criminals out of so many Americans. I’ve introduced criminal justice reform legislation, including a bill to legalize marijuana and take it off of the Federal Controlled Substances List.

We must pass legislation that permanently solves the crisis facing our DREAMers. Last week, I met with DREAMers on Maui who shared stories of being brought to Hawaii as young children, and who know no other home than Maui. Failing to fix this legislatively is a betrayal to them and their families.

We must end our destructive legacy of counterproductive regime change wars and nation-building overseas, and instead invest in rebuilding our communities here at home by overhauling our failing infrastructure, ensuring affordable housing is available to end our homeless crisis, invigorating our economy, strengthening our health care system, improving education, and creating a better future for us all.

Discussion Of Ideological & Legislative Responses To Terrorism

At this panel discussion and press conference held in New York City on June 24th, 2017 by the Interfaith Unity for Tolerance, Representative Tulsi Gabbard joined a panel discussion about how academic and legislative responses to terrorism are complementary approaches that will provide long term and intellectual responses to terrorism.

In a press release about the event, the IFUT said that this discussion “will lead towards nuanced understanding and informed solutions.”

Gabbard said, “I think that there has been a concerted effort both on the part of some in the media, as well as many in politics, and many in our foreign policy establishment seem to have been advocating for a continuance of these regime change wars, really ignoring the fact of what has been the consequence of these wars in countries like Iraq and Libya and Syria, where each time we have waged these wars, [it] has resulted in the strengthening of terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda or the creation of ISIS [Islamic State, IS, formerly ISIL], and it has resulted in a tremendous amount of suffering and death for the people of these countries.”

Giving Voice To Millions Of Americans – End US Wars Of Intervention

I recently met with President-elect Donald Trump to give voice to the millions of Americans, including my fellow veterans, who desperately want to end our country’s illegal, counterproductive war to overthrow the Syrian government. We had an hour-long, meaningful, back-and-forth discussion about the problems with current US policy in Syria and where to go from here.

I felt it critical to meet with him now, before warmongering neocons convince him to escalate this war that has already taken more than 400,000 lives and left millions of Syrians homeless and in search of safety for themselves and their families.

I conveyed to the president-elect how the post-9/11 neocon agenda of interventionism and regime change has left US foreign policy absurdly disconnected from our actual security interests. Our actions to overthrow secular dictators in Iraq and Libya, and attempts now to do the same in Syria, have resulted in tremendous loss of life, failed nations, and even worse humanitarian crises while strengthening the very terrorist organizations that have declared war on America.

Since 2011, the United States—working with Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, and Turkey—has been providing support to “rebel groups” fighting to overthrow the government and take over Syria. A recent New York Times article reported that these “rebel groups” supported by the United States “have entered into battlefield alliances with the affiliate of Al Qaeda in Syria, formerly known as Al Nusra.” How the United States can work hand-in-hand with the very terrorist organization that is responsible for the killing of 3,000 Americans on 9/11 boggles my mind and curdles my blood.

This absurd alliance has allowed terrorist groups like Al Qaeda to establish strongholds throughout Syria, including in Aleppo, where they are now using the civilian population as human shields and their deaths as propaganda tools.

Additionally, escalating this regime-change war by implementing a “no-fly/safe zone” in Syria would not only be ineffective, it would put the United States in direct military confrontation with nuclear-power Russia, require tens of thousands of ground troops and a massive US air presence, and commit us to yet another endless war in the Middle East that does not serve American or Syrian interests.

In short, even if the US-Saudi alliance were successful in overthrowing the Syrian government, we would be saddled with the responsibility of building a new nation in Syria. Trillions of US taxpayer dollars, and who knows how many American lives, will be lost, and there will be little to show for it. As was true in Iraq and Libya, the United States has no credible government or leader able to bring order, security, and freedom to the people of Syria if Assad is overthrown. To maintain order after Assad’s fall would require at least 500,000 troops in a never-ending occupation.

The most likely outcome of this regime-change war is that it will open the door for ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other terrorist groups who are the most powerful fighting forces on the ground, to take over all of Syria, amass powerful weapons (many of which will have been provided to them by the United States), and pose a far worse threat to the Syrian people, religious minorities, and to the world.

The crux of my advice to President-elect Trump was this: We must end this ill-conceived, counterproductive regime-change war immediately. We must focus our precious resources on investing in and rebuilding our own country and on defeating Al Qaeda, ISIS, and other terrorist groups that pose a threat to the American people.