comscore Gabbard says she will personally pay for Syria trip | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Gabbard says she will personally pay for Syria trip

  • BRUCE ASATO / BASATO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard addresses the crowd at the Democratic Party of Hawaii 2016 Convention at the Sheraton Waikiki in May 2016. Gabbard said today that she will personally pay for her trip to Syria following questions about her trip sponsor.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has decided to personally pay for her trip to Syria, following new stories about her trip sponsor being a backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Gabbard issued a news release this evening, saying while she has met U.S. House ethics guidelines, the travel expenses for her trip in January have become a distraction from the important issue of whether the U.S. should support terrorists in overthrowing Assad.

“Contrary to baseless claims in the media, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is beholden to no one in the region, her views on the situation are her own, and her determination to seek peace is beyond question,” the news release from Gabbard’s office said.

Her announcement follows a story in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser today, noting that her travel sponsor, Bassam Khawam, and his brother Elie had been members of a group called the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, which according to news reports, has backed Assad and has links to terrorist activities.

The brothers said they were no longer a part of the organization.

Gabbard last week described the two men as “long-time peace advocates.”

Her office said she accompanied former Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich on the trip, after receiving his invitation.

Gabbard wants Assad to remain in power and for the U.S. to withdraw support of rebel groups opposing Assad that she says have ties to terrorist groups.

Former President Barack Obama supported the ouster of Assad, who is accused of war crimes and human rights violations in the Syrian civil war. Assad also has received support from Soviet President Vladimir Putin.

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  • Who is she going to pay? The Assad-supporting brothers? That a win-win for them. They trick a Congress member into flying to Syria to meet with Assad, a war criminal who has committed horrific acts against his own people, and then they get reimbursed by Tulsi. And in her mind that makes it okay!

      • Let’s remember this whole thing started when Assad began to murder peaceful protesters who wanted him out. The U.S. was not involved until it began to provide humanitarian aid to the victims of Assads attacks. ISIS was able to move in military because President Obama refused to get involved militarily. The U.S. Is now involved militarily by trying to weaken ISIS. Tulsi’s efforts to get her face on national TV by siding with a terrorizing Assad regime makes a complicated situation worse.

        • No you are incorrect. The original protestors were peaceful and their movement was quickly hijacked by jihadi terrorists with the support of the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. The original resistance movement supports the government of Assad and wants peaceful reform. They do not want their country to be destroyed and overrun with terrorists. Tulsi is on the side of peace; a voice for the people of Syria crying out for the U.S. to stop supporting the terrorists who are overrunning their country.

    • Saddam was known as the butcher of Baghdad. Deposing him only lead to worse outcomes for the Iraqis and US. If you and the Star Advertiser so strongly believes that Tulsi is wrong in opposing another regime change war and deserves to be smeared like this, why don’t you guys write an article explaining why you believe that our war to overthrow President Assad is a good thing and why you believe we should be allying ourselves with al-Qaeda and other Islamic extremist organizations that oppose Assad? Your failure to intelligently advocate for your position tells me that they have no legitimate or reasonable argument and that they have no choice but to try to undermine Tulsi’s credibility with propaganda tactics like name-calling, guilt by association, etc.

      • Completly agree with you. Had we talked to Saddam, we would have known he had no weapons of mass destruction and he wanted to partner with the US to defeat Al-Queda. Instead we had the disaster of the Iraq war that is still ongoing.

        Tulsi was right to go to Syria to see for herself what’s happening on the ground. Wish some congressperson had done it in Iraq or talked to Saddam before we launched the Iraq war. Whether we like it or not, Assad is the President of Syria, so how can we achieve peace if we refuse to talk to him?

        • Tulsi only does things to get attention and this is why she went during the Presiden’t inauguration. She is forever appearing on CNN Wolf Blitzer’s show for commentary and sounding like she knows about the military because of her “military experience” which was not even equal to Senator Tammy Duckworth (a local gal)! Tulsi loves the limelight and that is the only reason she is in office…sad like many “wannabe” politicians.

      • Since this is not in the editorial section, I don’t believe the SA is supposed to be advocating for any position. It is supposed to be reporting the facts. Unfortunately for Tulsi, like at least a few of our past presidents, she has put herself in a position where no side seems to be doing the right thing, and no one is who they appear to be. A choice between a butcher and violent extremists? If Tulsi can find a new answer and the good guys,more power to her. But picking the butcher is like picking poison instead of a shot to the head.

      • Sorry disagree…she is not secretary of State…she should be instead working to fix the many great problems of our state instead of grandstanding on controversial issues.

  • Who will she pay for the trip ? Bassam and Elie Kahawam ? Moshe accompanied Dennis Kucinich or did Kucinich accompany her ?
    My goodness doesn’t this lady have advisors ? Looks like that there is a ” loose cannon ” running around. Interesting that Gabbard wants a war criminal
    to remain in power.

  • The people that backed her trip have ties to Assad and links to terrorist activities. If not for the news investigation finding and reporting this information, this would not have been brought out and we would never have know about this. Now that it is out in the open, Gabbard’s office attacks the media. She is taking a play out of Trumps and Bannon’s political play book. Attack those that expose you and make you look bad. No small wonder that she got an audience with Assad and backs his murderous regime. (It is well documented that he used chemical weapons against his own people and other atrocities.)

  • Tulsi is for peace and that’s why she wants the US to stop giving money and weapons to terrorist groups and stop policing other countries. She’s brave for going to Syria to see firsthand what’s really happening there. I agree with Tulsi that this is the way to bring about long term peace and stability to not just Syria but the entire region. I don’t see why the positives of her trip are being hidden by all these misleading statements.

  • Wait a second Star Ad I have been closely following Tulsi Gabbard’s brave endeavor to stop the cycle of US involvement in these regime change wars, and to stop US funding of terrorists but I have never ever heard her say that she wants Assad to remain in power. I believe that is a completely false and irresponsible statement.

  • Since the links I posted aren’t going through and with all the negativity and misinformation going around, Tulsi’s Medium blog “There’s An Old Saying That the Road to He|| Is Paved with Good Intentions” says everything I want to say, only better.

    “As 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.

    Proponents of 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.

    That is precisely the same argument being used today to justify our war to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad.

    Hoping to 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 he|| is paved with good intentions.

    Unfortunately, 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 like.”

  • Distraction? Tulsi, the only distraction is revealing that you are indeed a tool and a shill for a murderous despot echoing his propaganda that the only way to peace is through him. But that is lne with Putin and his pal (and yours) Trump. Shame.

  • Tulsi did not foresee the repercussions that her visit to Syria might cause. Unfortunately it’s a done deal. Don’t see why she now wants to pay for her own trip. It was paid for already and she went and came back. That’s it. Now she gets to hear the backlash of it.

  • Its obvious Hawaii Congresswoman Gabbard went on this trip for Peace. She is all over TV news speaking her message to stop U.S. involvement in counter productive regime change wars. Now she has introduced a bill to stop arming terrorists, and shares from this trip that there are No “moderate rebels” the U.S. thinks it is arming. Shame on fake news and sofa critics who try to find fault, when someone in Congress doesn’t sit at their desk, collecting a paycheck, and goes across the world on a brave mission to help people for real. We should be thanking Tulsi for representing Hawaii’s Aloha.

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