Opinion: Gabbard’s candidacy sheds light on the right anti-war diplomacy

The Army veteran and 2020 candidate has the experience to go about peacemaking and statecraft correctly


Nick Rohlman

Hawiian Representative Tulsi Gabbard during a campaign event at the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center on Monday Feb. 11, 2019. Rep. Gabbard visited Des Moines, Fairfield, and Iowa City on a tour of Iowa cities as she begins her 2020 presidential bid.

Marina Jaimes, Columnist

Hawaii Democratic Rep. and 2020 presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard will return to the campaign trail this week after serving with the Hawaii Army National Guard in Indonesia, where she participated in joint training exercises for two weeks.

She is a rare politician in the fact that gracefully promotes this libertarian perspective without masking it under disgusting rhetoric because, in the topic of war, many critics and supporters get lost in their own agenda without ever acknowledging the lives lost or ruined.

Gabbard has been deployed in the military since 2003 and has deployed to Iraq and Kuwait. As a Major in the Hawaii Army National Guard, she is one of the most staunch advocates for peace in Congress and in the 2020 Democratic Primary. Recent statements made by The Young Turks member Hasan Piker highlight the misunderstandings around the anti-war take on foreign policy.

Gabbard isn’t entirely alone in her endeavors. Republicans Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan spearheaded opposition to military intervention in Congress, Gabbard joins their cause — as a soldier. Combined, these members of Congress gracefully support diplomacy through nonintervention and still show respect for the less than 1 percent of active duty Americans choosing to serve their country.

Hasan Piker, a member of the far-left media group The Young Turks, recently aimed to criticize Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas, a retired Navy SEAL officer and Purple Heart Recipient, by wondering what was wrong with him, because he lost his eye while fighting as a soldier abroad. He also described “some Mujahideen­— a brave … soldier” having sex in his eye socket, using several expletives.

Mujahideen — Arabic for “one engaged in jihad” — demonstrates that Piker hides behind an “anti-war” shield and instead supports those engaged in war against enemies of Islam. He applauds Crenshaw’s attacker as “brave” but also insisted that American soldiers “don’t deserve respect by virtue of service,” when given the option to retract his statement.

His sentiment, in all of its filth, is popular and often disguised by those preaching peace. And while I cringe seeing my peers on social media in support of his remarks, I know that there is no getting through to them — disrespect is hard to change.

But I am relieved to see that in the large pool of Democratic contenders running for the 2020 presidency. Such a vocal, powerful, well-respected woman such as Gabbard is proud of her military service while being of two veteran candidates to preach of their experience overseas and use that as their basis for anti-war policies.

While there has been speculation that Gabbard will not participate in the next round of Democratic debates, her social-media platforms and appearances around the country are flooded with information on her pro-peace message — she does this all while respecting and leading her brothers and sisters in uniform.

Her candidacy can prove that it is possible to be one of the fiercest advocates for peace and simultaneously be a part of America’s fighting force.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.