July 09, 2016
- There is much at stake as we look toward the next
5 months, and beyond. We must be engaged. Our voices
must be heard on the many important issues that we
are tackling — such as environmental protection,
health care, education, criminal justice reform,
social security, jobs, veterans, campaign finance
reform, and more.
There is one
issue that impacts all the rest: If we continue to
spend trillions of dollars on costly interventionist
regime change wars, overthrowing dictators we don’t
like, we will not be able to afford to make any real
progress on all the other issues that are so
important to all of us
progressives, we care about the well-being of
others. We are soft-hearted, and have aloha,
respect, compassion for others and we don’t like to
see anyone suffering. As a result, sometimes it’s
easy to believe that maybe we should support a
regime change war if we believe that war will
relieve human suffering.
the interventionist wars in Libya and Iraq argued
that these actions were justified because of
humanitarian concerns. It was pointed out over and
over that these countries were in the grips of evil
dictators who had to be removed.
precisely the same argument being used today to
justify our war to overthrow the Syrian government
garner the support of the American people,
proponents of regime-change wars routinely cite
humanitarian concerns to justify military
intervention in foreign countries.
But here is
the reality: As a direct result of our intervention
in Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, human
suffering increased dramatically. Terrorist
organizations such as ISIS and al-Qaeda took
advantage of the Maliki Shia-led government’s
persecution and oppression of the Sunni people, and
gained a stronghold in Iraq, kidnapping,
terrorizing, raping, and killing thousands and
thousands of innocent people.
In Libya, when
the U.S. led the bombing campaign to overthrow
Muammar Gaddafi, which began with a no-fly zone, the
result was enormous loss of life, and total
chaos — Libya today is a failed state, and a haven
for ISIS and other terrorist organizations.
There is no
denying that the interventionist wars in Iraq and
Libya that were propagated as necessary to relieve
human suffering actually increased human suffering
in those countries — many times over.
There’s an old saying that the road
to hell is paved with good intentions.
even after seeing how disastrous those wars in Iraq
and Libya were, many people who championed those
wars are behind the ongoing war to overthrow the
Syrian government — even pushing to escalate that
war, saying yet again that humanitarian concerns
justify overthrowing yet another dictator we don’t
most people don’t know that we’re actually waging
two wars in Syria.
The first is
the war to defeat ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other jihadist
groups. This is a war against the terrorists who
have declared war on America, and one we must win.
The second is
the counterproductive war to overthrow the
government of Assad, an illegal war that has not
been authorized by Congress, which we must end.
Our war to
overthrow the Assad government has strengthened
rather than weakened our enemies like ISIS. Working
with Saudi Arabia and Turkey we are fueling the
brutal civil war that has caused the deaths of over
400,000 Syrians and millions of refugees.
If this war is
successful and the Assad government is overthrown,
the strongest force that will take over Syria is
ISIS and al-Qaeda. This will result in a far worse
humanitarian and refugee crisis, a genocide against
religious minorities, secularists, atheists, LGBT,
and any who do not prescribe to their specific
extreme ideology, and will present an even greater
security threat to the region and the world.
Recent news of
51 State Department diplomats calling on the
President to bomb the Syrian government is
unfortunately not surprising. These kinds of
bombings and escalation are what will occur if
Secretary Clinton does what she says she will do as
President, which is establish a so-called safe zone
or no fly zone. This action would cost billions of
dollars and require tens if not hundreds of
thousands of ground troops and a massive U.S. air
escalate the war to overthrow the Syrian government,
causing more death, destruction and chaos, worsening
the refugee crisis, and strengthening ISIS and
action to implement a No-Fly Zone would be to bomb
Russian and Syrian anti- aircraft defense systems,
leading to direct confrontation between the world’s
two nuclear powers: the U.S and Russia.
simply have not learned from the past. They’ve
learned nothing from Iraq & our overthrow of Saddam
Hussein; learned nothing from overthrowing Gaddafi
in Libya, where ISIS is strongest and most
The only way
to prevent this is for the American people to come
out strongly now, before a new administration comes
into power, and say, the war to overthrow the Syrian
government must end
In order for
this to happen, the Obama Administration and
Congress need to hear your voices.
On Thursday, I
offered an amendment on the House floor that would
have begun this process of ending the
interventionist war in Syria. 135 bipartisan members
of Congress voted for the amendment. However, too
many Democrats voted against it, many who consider
themselves progressive, many who are
well-intentioned but who need to understand that
this war, just like the one in Iraq and Libya, will
not help the Syrian people. It will simply compound
the devastation, suffering, and chaos, making their
lives far worse than before. I have introduced a
bill, HR 4108 to end this regime change war in Syria
and urge you to call on Congress to support this
This is an
issue that we’ll have to continue to fight on, but
it’s an issue that confronts us right now, because
we know there are people in this Administration and
in the State Department who are trying to pressure
and convince President Obama to escalate this war.
We have to let him know that the solution is not an
escalation of this war, but rather what’s needed is
an end to this regime change war in Syria.
President Obama showed tremendous courage back in
2013 (it was my first year in Congress) when he
chose not to carry out airstrikes against the Assad
government, to begin yet another war. He needs to
hear from us to exercise that same courage once
again. Whether it’s through a petition, sending
letters, social media, letting your member of
congress know — we need to send a strong message
that this war must end.
Many of you
stood up and protested the war in Viet Nam. Many of
you stood up and protested the war in Iraq. And many
of you stood up against the war to overthrow Gaddafi
asking you to stand up once again stand with me to
demand an end to the war to overthrow the Syrian
government demand an end to interventionist wars.
Let leaders in
Washington know that we will not stand idly by and
allow our nation to escalate an already devastating
Let leaders in
Washington know that we do not support overthrowing
any dictator we want, acting as the world’s police,
as if it’s America’s responsibility to use military
force to attempt to remake the world however we want
it to be.
Let leaders in
Washington know that we must stop wasting our
valuable, limited resources on these regime change
wars, and instead focus our resources on investing
in and rebuilding our nation and communities here at
home. We simply cannot afford to do both.
We CAN bring
about change when we the people stand up and let our
voices be heard.
Gabbard - Soldier. Veteran. Surfer. Member of
Congress. Doing my best to be of service.
Gabbard at People’s Summit: We must end our war to
overthrow the Syrian government now.
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