By Michael Karadjis
Dedicating an article to a particular US politician may seem overkill, but there are few American politicians that the ‘alt-left’ have lauded as much as reactionary, alt-rightist Tulsi Gabbard, former Democrat representative from Hawaii. For example, here is professional campist and apologist for mass murder, “journalist” Ben Norton, singing her praises back in 2019:
“Yeh I’ve been really impressed by Tulsi Gabbard … she’s really been hitting hard at the regime change war problem … Tulsi [her admirers are all on first name basis with Gabbard] is great because she has made this the key part of her platform.”
This is just one of hundreds, or thousands, of similar examples from the last decade or so. So no doubt they were impressed that Gabbard recently quit the Democratic Party, especially as she began by claiming they were led by an “elitist cabal of warmongers.” However, most of them quoting this – and many did – would have stopped there, embarrassed by what came after (though in many cases still not embarrassed enough to not cite her!). Let’s have a look at more of Gabbard’s resignation speech:
Gabbard resigns from “woke,” “anti-white,” “anti-God” Democratic Party
“I can no longer remain in today’s Democratic Party that is now under the complete control of an elitist cabal of warmongers driven by cowardly wokeness, who divide us by racializing every issue & stoke anti-white racism, actively work to undermine our God-given freedoms, are… hostile to people of faith & spirituality, demonize the police & protect criminals at the expense of law-abiding Americans, believe in open borders, weaponize the national security state to go after political opponents, and above all, dragging us ever closer to nuclear war.”
Have you ever seen a bigger right-wing dog-whistle while still making vague signals to the left? So, Gabbard, the ruling class Democratic party is a hotbed of “anti-white racism”! Hostile to “people of faith”! “Undermines the police”! Believes in “open borders”! Yes, the alt-left, the campist-tankie left, can have her. Of course, none of this is new – anyone who looked knew that Tulsi Gabbard has been an out and out reactionary for years, well, always.
Unlike many, this was too much even for Norton, who now declares her “a right-wing sheepdog [who] cynically tries to lure anti-war people into the GOP.” Yeh, Ben, that’s what we said when you were singing her praises. Norton recently quit the red-brown propaganda-for-tyrants site, Grayzone, apparently because he felt his co-thinker, Max Blumenthal, was taking conspiracist thinking a little far with his conversion to Covidiocy. Will be interesting to see how Grayzone explains their idol’s talk about the dangers of “anti-white racism” and the like.
It’s rather obvious from her resignation which direction she is heading after the Democrats. Earlier this year, Gabbard was invited and spoke to the 2022 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), where she spoke alongside Glenn Beck at the Ronald Reagan memorial dinner. She declared, not wrongly, that she finally found where she belonged, which helps us understand where her new “home” will be (where in reality it always was).
Gabbard: Apologist for genocidal Assad regime
Gabbard was good at hoodwinking the red-brown, tankie, campist “leftists” because they are not only easily fooled by definition, but also tend to be consciously and defiantly ignorant. One of the issues that really endeared them to Gabbard was her apologism for genocidal mass-murdering Syrian tyrant Bashar al-Assad, who she personally visited in 2017. Her explanation for this was that she was for peace, and therefore it was necessary to talk to everyone involved, including Assad. This was a very thin smokescreen, however, as she propagated almost all Assadist talking points.
She declared herself against an (actually non-existent) “US regime-change war” against Assad, leading tankies to see her as one of them, deciding she was “anti-war”, as in Norton’s quotes about “regime change” above. In reality of course, the only US bombing war in Syria since 2014 has been the air war against ISIS (which destroyed ISIS in Syria), which also hit anti-ISIS Islamist rebels, especially, from the first day, Jabhat-al-Nusra, this US intervention welcomed by the Assad regime. Far from being anti-war, Gabbard accused the US of not bombing them enough. She welcomed the onset of Russia’s terror bombing of Syria on behalf of Assad in 2015, claiming, falsely, that the “US has not been bombing al-Qaeda/al-Nusra in Syria” (the US bombed Nusra targets hundreds of times, killing large numbers of civilians in the process, and often enough, even mainstream anti-Assad rebels), and proceeding to state “but it’s mind-boggling that we protest Russia’s bombing of these terrorists,” despite the fact that the vast majority of Russia’s bombs, and Assad’s bombs, hit mainstream rebels, not “al-Qaeda.”
Returning from her trip to Assad’s palace, Gabbard made videos calling for an end to the imaginary “US regime change war,” which showed vast footage of the massive, unending destruction of entire regions as far as they eye can see that Assad’s bombing had wrought, implicitly blaming it on the US, or on the anti-Assad rebels, who only had small arms: the cataclysmic destruction in the footage is clearly the work of an airforce and advanced missiles, possessed only the regime and Russia.
According to Gabbard, “If Assad is removed and overthrown, ISIS, al Qaeda, Al Nusra, these Islamic extremist groups will walk straight in and take over all of Syria … they will be even stronger,” sounding identical to Trump, Pence, Gingrich, Bolton or any of the American and global hard right. She claimed “Their message [ie, the message of her Assad regime handlers!] to the American people was powerful and consistent: There is no difference between ‘moderate’ rebels and al-Qaeda (al-Nusra) or ISIS—they are all the same,” claiming it was “a war between terrorists under the command of groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda and the Syrian government.” This shameless grouping together of terrorists and the millions who rose up against Assad is the most typical Assadist talking point: anyone opposed to a regime of torture and mass murder can only be a jihadi. The fact that ISIS fought rebels far more than it ever fought the regime, and the regime also fought the rebels far more than it fought ISIS, and the regime regularly bombed the rebels whenever they were fighting ISIS, is irrelevant to crude propagandists for mass murder like Gabbard.
But of course tankies, campists and red-browns think someone is progressive and anti-war when they support a genocidal tyrant who has killed hundreds of thousands of people and destroyed entire towns and cities throughout his country. Well, each to their own I suppose, so for argument’s sake, let’s go with that.
With exceptions, most of these same tankies and campists and even many red-browns pretend to be very pro-Palestine. It is their one alleged point of honour. If you point out massive repression by an Assad, Putin or Khameini, they can “what about Israel” you in response? “Why doesn’t the US stop Israel?” Since every genuine leftist has supported the Palestinian struggle their entire political lives, and has never stopped condemning the unconditional US support for the regime of occupation, apartheid and ethnic cleansing, this whataboutism is irrelevant and stupid, of course, but it gives them something to say. So, OK, let’s again go with that.
Gabbard: Hard Zionist
It therefore takes a very, very deliberate kind of ignorance to not know that Gabbard is also a hard Zionist (and of course there is zero contradiction between being a Zionist and an Assadist – virtually the entire global far-right achieve that, not just Gabbard). So then why do they extol someone who should be their enemy? Because she’s pro-Putin? Yeh well, so is Netanyahu! The bottom line is, her support for the Assad regime and Putin are far bigger priorities for the alt-left than their symbolic pro-Palestine views. Indeed, given Assad’s murder of thousands of Palestinians in Syria and his destruction of their camps, their support for Palestine while shilling for Assad is not only hypocritical, but also anti-Palestinian.
But let’s look at Gabbard’s well-known Zionism. Here is Gabbard at the Christians United for Israel convention, alongside John Hagee, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and every other kind of hard US reactionary. Here she is in the far-right Breitbart, exclaiming “Put yourself in Israel’s shoes”, as she defends staying for Netanyahu’s speech to the US Congress, where he was invited by the Republican Party rather than by the Obama US government, when nearly 60 Democrat reps boycotted. Gabbard stated that the US-Israel relationship “must rise above the political fray, as America continues to stand with Israel as her strongest ally.” During Israel’s genocidal Operation Protective Edge, Gabbard co-sponsored a congressional resolution that said that Israel exclusively “focused on terrorist targets” and that Israel “goes to extraordinary lengths to target only terrorist actors”!
Not surprisingly, she got a “Champion of Freedom” award at the Jewish Values Gala, held by the World Values Network, founded by Trump supporter Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. Here is a photo showing Gabbard with Shmuley and Miriam Adelson, the wife of Sheldon Adelson, another big Trump supporter who believes Palestinians are “a made-up people”.
In 2017, Gabbard co-sponsored H.Res.23, which supports the U.S. policy of vetoing “any one-sided or anti-Israel UN Security Council Resolutions that seek to impose a negotiated settlement on Israel and Palestine.” It also condemns boycott and divestment campaigns and sanctions that target Israel. Then in 2019, Gabbard voted for an AIPAC bill condemning Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS).
Gabbard: Islamophobe extraordinaire and “hawk” on the “war on terror”
One thing Gabbard’s pro-Assad and pro-Israel stances have in common is that they both accord with the very Islamophobic and “war on terror” basis of her politics. Both the Assad regime and Israel leaders, when they mercilessly bomb civilian infrastructure, medical facilities, schools, refugee camps, anything really, and murder with impunity on a daily basis, claim they are targeting “radical Islamic terrorists.” The US and Russia claim the same in their imperialist wars.
Therefore, among other things, for Gabbard this also includes:
- Being a hard-line supporter of Modi, the BJP and Hindutva chauvinism; Modi had been personally implicated in the murderous anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat in 2002, which killed around 1000 people. Due to this, for about a decade, the US had refused to give Modi a visa. For Gabbard, this was a “great blunder,” claiming “there was a lot of misinformation that surrounded the event in 2002.”
- Loving bloody Egyptian tyrant al-Sisi (given that Sisi is allied to both Assad and Israel, this works well), who she visited in 2015, and declared “President el-Sisi has shown great courage and leadership in taking on this extreme Islamist ideology”
- While opposing non-existent US “regime change” war, on the “war on terror” Gabbard declares “I’m a hawk.”
- Calling for a “forever war” against “terrorism”
- Refusing to unequivocally condemn CIA torture: “I’m conflicted.”
- Continually slamming Obama and other leading Democrats for refusing to use the label “radical Islam” to describe ISIS and al-Qaida terrorism.
- Voting in favor of Republican-led “American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act” in 2015, making it harder for Syrian and Iraqi refugees to get to the U.S.
- On a more humorous note, the ignorant Gabbard declared she wants to fight “radical wasabi ideology.”
The rest of her politics isn’t much different, even if she now claims to no longer be a homophobe, and one wonders how long that phase will last given the territory she is openly moving into. Her right-wing baiting about the danger of “anti-white racism” reveals a more reactionary Gabbard than even many of those aware of her real politics realised. For example, Gabbard claimed US could not possibly be a racist country, since Ahmaud Arbery’s killers were found guilty. That was certainly be news to the hundreds of African-Americans murdered by cops and vigilantes where the killers have gone free; apparently, Black Lives Matter was all about nothing.
Several years ago Gabbard refused to sign letter by 169 Democrats opposing far-rightist Steve Bannon being appointed appointed as Trump’s advisor; little wonder she has received praise from Bannon who claimed she “would fit perfectly [in the Trump administration] … She gets the foreign policy stuff, the Islamic terrorism stuff.” As well as praise from Nazis and white supremacists David Duke and Richard Spencer, from the leading right-wing economic/defence/security think-tank the American Enterprise Institute, from Fox News heavy-weight far-rightist Tucker Carlson, whose show Gabbard regularly appears on, really you name it, from almost anyone on the right.
So if tankie and campist leftists want to keep citing Gabbard of all people as an “anti-war” voice in support of Putin’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine or Assad’s genocidal reign of terror in Syria, please go for it: she suits you.