Chickenhawks out in force against Iraq War vet Tulsi Gabbard

by | Jan 30, 2017

Chickenhawk: a person who strongly supports war or other military action (i.e., a war hawk), yet who actively avoids or avoided military service.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s crime? She went on a fact finding trip to Syria in order to meet actual Syrians suffering the effects of war. She also met with President Assad in what she describes as an unplanned, impromptu sit down visit. She wants to end US covert participation in the war and prevent any plans for greater direct and overt intervention, something narrowly avoided back in September 2013.

Gabbard is an Iraq War vet and is now an outspoken opponent of what she describes as “regime change wars”. She’s had multiple deployments to Iraq as both an enlisted soldier and officer through her time in the Army National Guard. Her initial deployment was in a combat zone as a medical support specialist with the 29th Support Battalion medical company, where she presumably helped stitch up fellow soldiers suffering gruesome combat wounds.

With her recent multiple network TV appearances shedding light on US criminal policies in the Middle East, she’s really hit a nerve. The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, and other major outlets have unleashed repeated attacks, even getting personal. Josh Rogin just yesterday accused her of being “Assad’s mouthpiece” in a Post op-ed. Rogin has been smearing Gabbard for her stance on Syria since early 2016. Rogin is also on record attacking people for daring to experience Syria first hand all the way back to 2010 (well at least he’s consistent).

Why wouldn’t one want to investigate first hand a country the US has threatened to invade? If only more pundits had known what the hell they were talking about concerning on-the-ground realities in Baghdad prior the disastrous 2003 invasion of Iraq. But for most chickenhawks, no level of exposure to the people or places they clamor to bomb and invade would matter.

Charles Lister has also repeatedly trashed Gabbard for her visit to Damascus. This is ironic considering Lister is generally hailed as a Syria expert, and presents himself as such, yet there’s no evidence to suggest he’s ever stepped foot in the country of his supposed expertise.

Well, Lister may have visited Syria before as a tourist. During my own recent trip to Damascus I met one of Lister’s fellow think tank colleagues, who said it’s likely Lister once made a very brief visit to Syria while on vacation before the war. The same think tanker also called Lister’s credentials for talking about Syria a joke.

But more importantly concerning the Charles Lister and Josh Rogin types of the world (and they are legion)… they know nothing of war, military service, or the nightmarish consequences for all who would be directly impacted by the foolish and disgusting policies they advocate. While Gabbard, myself, and others were enlisting in the military in the early 2000’s, the chickenhawks were looking for ways to advance their careers while arguing to send others to war. (Rogin, for example, literally got his start interning for the hawkish Brookings Institution).

As they smear Tulsi Gabbard, they should take to heart these words from a US Special Forces combat vet, and know their place. I asked what he thought of Lister and other chickenhawks who are even now on the attack…


About Brad Hoff

Brad is a native Texan and US Marine veteran who after leaving the military began wandering around the Middle East, eventually making Syria his second home. He's authored multiple stories for his blog Levant Report which gained international attention. Find his writing at, SOFREP, Foreign Policy Journal, The Canary (UK), and others.

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