Gabbard Blasts Clinton ‘Queen Of Warmongers’
Tulsi Gabbard’s fierce opposition to regime change wars is ruffling the feathers of the Democratic Party establishment.
While Gabbard’s bid for the presidency is a longshot, the spotlight on her campaign continues to bring uncomfortable questions to the foreign policy establishment.
Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard condemned Hillary Clinton as the “queen of warmongers” and the “personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long” on Friday after Clinton implied that Gabbard was being “groomed” by Russia for a third-party run, a hostile exchange that reflects the stark divisions in the Democratic party.
“I’m not making any predictions,” Clinton said in a podcast with former Obama advisor David Plouffe, “but I think [the Russians] have got their eye on someone who’s currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She’s the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far.”
While Clinton didn’t name Gabbard directly, her spokesman Nick Merrill told CNN, “If the nesting doll fits,” when asked if Clinton’s remarks referred to Gabbard.
Clinton also called Jill Stein, the Green Party’s 2016 candidate, a “Russian asset.” Clinton blames Stein’s third-party run and Russian election interference for her loss to Donald Trump in 2016, providing context for her unsubstantiated claim that Russia is plotting to use Gabbard to siphon votes away from the 2020 Democratic nominee.
Gabbard, who has ruled out a third-party run, tweeted a blistering response:
“Great! Thank you @HillaryClinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain,” wrote Gabbard.
“From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation,” Gabbard continued. “We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know — it was always you, through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose. It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly.”
Clinton Vs. Gabbard
The bad blood between Gabbard and Clinton roots back to 2016, when Gabbard left the DNC to endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders for president.
Gabbard is an unorthodox progressive fiercely opposed to regime change wars. Her 2017 visit to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad made her a polarizing figure, but her status as a veteran stridently opposed to imperialism has made her a unique threat to the foreign policy establishment.
While only holding around 2% in the polls, the Hawaiian Congresswoman has attracted attention condemning foreign policy decisions that Clinton supported such as invading Iraq, bombing Libya, supporting the Honduran coup in 2009, and arming jihadist groups in Syria.
At the most recent Democratic debate, Gabbard was asked how she would handle the removal of troops from Syria differently than Trump, whose abrupt withdrawal enabled a humanitarian massacre of the US-allied Kurds in northern Syria.
“First of all,” Gabbard began, “we’ve got to understand the reality of the situation there, which is that the slaughter of the Kurds being done by Turkey is yet another negative consequence of the regime change war that we’ve been waging in Syria.”
The New Yorker’s Susan Glasser called Gabbard’s description of US involvement in Syria as a regime change war “Russian talking points” and “as untruthful as anything from POTUS.” However, leaked Wikileaks cables in 2015 provide proof that the US has been pushing for regime change and supporting anti-Assad groups since the Bush administration, contributing to the country’s destabilization.
As journalist Ben Norton pointed out, the US was “illegally militarily occupying the NE third of Syria where 90% of oil production took place, using it as a regime-change weapon to destabilize Damascus You pro-war propagandists know nothing about Syria.” The US also instructed its Kurdish allies to not sell wheat to Damascus, in an effort to “use hunger as a regime-change weapon.”
“Donald Trump has the blood of the Kurds on his hands, but so do many of the politicians in our country from both parties who have supported this ongoing regime change war in Syria that started in 2011,” Gabbard continued in her response at the debate, “along with many in the mainstream media, who have been championing and cheerleading this regime change war.”
Gabbard called CNN and the New York Times “completely despicable” for calling her a Russian asset, and said she would end “draconian sanctions that are really a modern-day siege” if elected president, as well as end US support for terrorist connected groups.
Democrats’ New McCarthyism
Journalist Glenn Greenwald, a longtime critic of the Democratic party establishment, condemned Clinton’s comments:
“But whatever else is true, there should be no place in US politics or US discourse for voicing accusations against people with no evidence,” tweeted Greenwald. “And the graver the accusation is (treason, Kremlin asset), the more contemptible it is to do it without evidence.”
Greenwald frequently criticizes establishment Democrats’ “New McCarthyism,” the resurgence of the Cold War tradition of demonizing Russia for political gain. Greenwald argues that instead of the 1950s Republican McCarthyism which focused on leftists, the ‘New McCarthyism’ sees Democrats overeager to blame Russia for their failures, such as the 2020 loss to Donald Trump, rather than reflect on the problems in their own policies and strategies.
“It’s sort of this constant rhetorical tactic to try and insinuate that anyone opposing the Clintons are somehow Russian agents, when it’s the Clintons who actually have a lot of ties to Russia, as well,” Greenwald told DemocracyNow! in 2016. “I mean, the Clinton Foundation and Bill Clinton helped Russian companies take over uranium industries in various parts of the world. He received lots of Russian money for speeches.”
Renowned scholar Noam Chomsky has also criticized the Democratic establishment’s disproportionate attention on the Mueller investigation, rather than the Trump administration’s corruption and policies, as “a huge gift” to Trump. Other critics like journalist Max Blumenthal argue the “Russian-asset” smear is used to discredit opponents of imperialist foreign policy who favor detente with Russia.
On Saturday, Gabbard said Clinton’s comments revealed “the truth that I have been experiencing for a long time now – which is that, because I have been trying to bring about an end to our country’s long-held foreign policy of waging one regime-change war after the next, I am labeled as a traitor.”
While Gabbard’s bid for the presidency is a longshot, the spotlight on her campaign continues to bring uncomfortable questions to the foreign policy establishment, as well as for candidates like Kamala Harris, whose campaign is filled with former Clinton staffers.