A Democratic congresswoman calls on the United States to stop the “illegal, counterproductive war” to overthrow the Syrian government and focus instead on defeating the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group.
Appearing on CNN on Friday, Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii said the campaign to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is “illegal because Congress has not declared war. It has not authorized a war to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad.”
“I don’t think Assad should be removed,” she said, arguing that if the Syrian government is toppled, extremist groups like ISIL and al-Qaeda will take over Syria. “They will be even stronger.”
“It is counterproductive because it works to help our enemy achieve their objective to take over the Syrian government and take over all of Syria and beyond, and presents a greater humanitarian crisis and huge threat not only to the region but to the world,” Gabbard explained.
The United States has been backing what it calls moderate militants fighting against the Assad government. Senior US officials, including President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, have repeatedly called for Assad’s removal.
Gabbard, an Iraq-war veteran, said the US seems to be repeating “the same mistakes of the past.”
“People said the very same thing about Saddam (Hussein), the very same thing about (Muammar) Gaddafi, the results of those two failed efforts of regime change and the following nation-building have been absolute, not only have they been failures, but they’ve actually worked to strengthen our enemy,” she stated.
“Look at the state of these countries today,” Gabbard added. “They have been overrun and are filled with chaos. And ISIS and extremist groups have only grown stronger in these countries and terrorizing the people there.”
Gabbard co-sponsored legislation on Thursday to block the US from waging a war to remove President Assad from power.
US State Department spokesman John Kirby said Thursday that Assad’s fate will be decided in international talks in the coming weeks.
“What I can tell you is that in the multilateral sessions, which will continue to occur going forward, the role of Assad in this transition will be spelled out,” Kirby told reporters.