Tulsi Gabbard ‘skeptical’ Assad regime behind gas attack


Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) said Friday she was “skeptical” that Syrian leader Bashar Assad’s regime was behind this week’s chemical weapons attack in northern Syria.
“There are a number of theories that are out there,” Gabbard said during an interview on CNN’s “The Situation” when addressing who was behind the attack.
Gabbard pointed to false intelligence reports about weapons of mass destruction used to justify the Iraq War under President George W. Bush as an example of how the intelligence assessments can produce inaccurate information.
“There are a number of ways that you can point the finger,” she said.
Pressed to specify if Assad was responsible for civilian deaths in Syria, as the U.S. and Western leaders have maintained, Gabbard said that responsibility “goes around.”
“There is responsibility that goes around … again, my interest is in bringing about peace. Standing here and pointing fingers does not accomplish peace for the Syrian people,” she said.
Asked if she would change her mind if the Pentagon would present her with hard evidence that Assad was behind the chemical attack, the lawmaker replied “no.”
Gabbard has been a lightning rod for criticism over her position on Syria, with her decision to meet with Assad in January drawing disgust from members of both parties.
The Iraq War veteran, who serves as a prominent member of both the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, argued the meeting was part of her push to expedite a peaceful resolution to Syria’s years-old conflict.
Gabbard argued Friday that President Trump’s decision to launch a missile strike against Syrian government forces the previous day in response to the gas attack was “reckless.”
“It made me sad and it made me angry to see that President Trump took this reckless action without really considering, frankly, the dire consequences,” she said.
Trump claimed Thursday after the strike that “there can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons” and that “numerous previous attempts at changing Assad’s behavior have all found and failed very dramatically.”
Gabbard rejected that, asserting also that it went against U.S. national security interests.
“Escalating a counter-productive, destructive regime-change war is harmful for the Syrian people and its harmful for the United States and our national security interests. We need to learn our lessons from the past,” she said.
“If President Assad is found to be responsible after an independent investigation for these horrific chemical weapons attack, I’ll be the first one to denounce him.”
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