Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, the only war veteran on stage tonight, said most policymakers in Washington can’t fathom the cost of the war.
Her political record has come under intense scrutiny over the past few years, but Gabbard’s criticism of the US foreign policy establishment is in line with most progressives’ – and she pulled no punches on stage tonight.
“For too long, we had leaders who have been arbitrating foreign policy from ivory towers in Washington without any idea about the cost and the consequence, the toll it takes on our service members, on their families,” Gabbard said. “We have to do the right thing. End the wasteful regime change wars and bring our troops home."
Before she began, Gabbard who was deployed to Iraq in 2005, said her feelings on the issue are “difficult to convey in words.”
“I served in a field medical unit where every single day I saw the high cost of war. Just this past week two more of our soldiers were killed in Afghanistan,” the Hawaii congresswoman said. “My cousin is deployed to Afghanistan right now. Nearly 300 of our Hawaii National Guard soldiers are deployed to Afghanistan. Fourteen thousand service members are deployed there.”
Ending the American conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, she added, should not be about the setting of “arbitrary deadline.” It’s a question, Gabbard said, “about leadership.”
“The leadership I will bring to do the right thing, to bring our troops home within the first year in office because they shouldn't have been there this long,” she said.
Turning to Trump, Gabbard added: “We were all lied to (about Iraq). The problem is that this current president is continuing to betray us.”
Watch Gabbard speak on Afghanistan: