Gabbard's Misunderstanding of the Military's Role in a Civilian Government:
In 2016, when Donald Trump faced criticism for appointing John Kelly to head the Department of Homeland Security, James Mattis for Defense Secretary and Michael Flynn for National Security Adviser, Gabbard stated that the criticisms were "offensive...These people, arguably, have put far more on the line and are far more deeply personally committed to upholding our democracy than their critics"
Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo stated in "Something Disturbing About Tulsi Gabbard":
The issue of civilian control of the military and wariness of military or ex-military influence over the civilian government isn’t some new-fangled idea from coastal cosmopolitan elites. It’s deeply rooted in the American political tradition. Indeed it was even more potent earlier in the country’s history. That’s why ex-generals are actually barred from serving as Secretary of Defense for seven years. Mattis needs a specific waiver. Indeed, the importance of military subordination to civilian government and the penumbra of concerns like the one we’re discussing here are deeply inculcated in the U.S. military’s officer corps itself — for obvious reasons.
Gabbard currently has a lifetime rating of 60% from Peace Action based on her votes in Congress. (When you click on the Peace Action link, you have to wait for a minute for the lifetime rating to show up. Be patient!)
Only two other candidates for President who are currently in the House or Senate have Peace Action ratings lower than Gabbard's:
Others with similar peace ratings as Tulsi Gabbard are:
Kamala Harris with a 60% Lifetime Peace Action rating.
Amy Klobuchar with a 63% Lifetime Peace Action rating.
Michael Bennet with a 63% Lifetime Peace Action rating.
All other presidential candidates have significantly higher ratings based on their votes.
Eric Swalwell has a 77% Lifetime Peace Action rating.
Tim Ryan has a 78% Lifetime Peace Action rating.
Cory Booker has a 78% Lifetime Peace Action rating.
Kirsten Gillibrand has an 80% Lifetime Peace Action rating.
Elizabeth Warren has an 81% Lifetime Peace Action rating.
Bernie Sanders has an 84% Lifetime Peace Action rating.
Beto O'Rourke has an 84% Lifetime Peace Action rating.
Support of Military Spending:
In 2016, before she stopped taking PAC money and when she voted in strong support of military spending, her rating was 51%.
Support of Militarizing Hawaii:
According to a May 2, 2018 article in Breaking Defense:
The House Armed Sevices Committee markup of the 2019 defense budget asks the Pentagon to test the feasibility of stationing a THAAD battery in Hawaii, along with stationing an Aegis destroyer permanently offshore to protect against attack. The legislation was introduced by Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
Language on page 86 of the Committee Markup referenced above states:
Mindful of potential costs and untested capability of Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptors against long-range missile threats, the committee directs the Secretary of the Navy, in consultation with the Director of the Missile Defense Agency, to provide a briefing to the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives, not later than September 15, 2018, on the potential to supplement this defense by assigning a permanent Aegis ship patrol to increase a layered ballistic missile defense of Hawaii, with the assumption that SM-3 missiles might be effective against long- range threats. The briefing should address the technical capability, feasibility, benefits, risks, cost, and trade-offs of this option for the purpose of defending Hawaii.
The H.R. 5515 MARKUP AMENDMENT TRACKER can be accessed here. Screenshot of Gabbard's amendment:
Defense Industry Contributions:
On May 19 2017, Tulsi Gabbard stated:
"From the day I was elected to Congress, I promised myself I'd never allow money to influence the decisions I make on behalf of the people who elected me to serve them. Furthermore, I've refused to accept contributions from industries like Wall Street banks, Big Pharma, Tobacco, Liquor, and, more recently, Defense. However, from here on out, I've made the decision not to accept money from any political action committees."
From 2012-2016, Gabbard received the following contributions from the following defense corporations, for a total of $78,000:
Lockheed Martin Corp Employees' PAC: $24,000
Boeing Company PAC: $21,000
Raytheon Company PAC: $11,000
Bae Systems USA PAC: $11,000
Employees of Northrop Grumman Corp PAC: $5,000
United Technologies Corp PAC: $3,000
Huntington Ingalls Industries PAC: $2,000
Rolls Royce North America PAC: $1,000
They all rank among the top twenty companies profiting the most from war,
In 2015-2016, the campaign season prior to Gabbard stating that she would no longer accept money from PACs, she raised $36,000 of her career total of $78,000.
This screenshot shows a partial listing for 2015-2016. Go to the FEC site and search by each campaign cycle to see full listings.
Support for the "War on Terror":
Gabbard often expresses support for military action against "terrorists." Scroll to 3:36 to hear her views on this "second war."
Torture as a Military Strategy:
During her 2014 trip to India, Gabbard was interviewed by NDTV. One of the issues discussed was her position on torture. She stated that, "very bluntly," she was "conflicted." She continued:
"I can also understand that any of us, if we were in a situation where our family, our community, our state, or our country is in a place where, let's say, in an hour, a nuclear bomb or an attack will go off unless this information was found. I believe that if I were the president of the United States that I would do everything in my power to keep the American people safe." Scroll to 15:45 for this discussion.
Misuse of Uniform for Political Activities:
On August 7, 2018, the Star Advertiser reported that: "The Hawaii Army National Guard has instructed Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard to take down or amend certain campaign material from her VoteTulsi Facebook page because it violates military ethics rules."
Rather than remove the image, she added a disclaimer when/if the image is clicked. (Screenshot taken August 7, 2018.)
DoD directive 1344.10 (Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces) prohibits political use of photographs of members in uniform.
4.3. Additional Limitations on Nomination or Candidacy and Campaigning
4.3.2. Members included in subparagraph 4.3.1. may NOT, in campaign literature (including Web sites, videos, television, and conventional print advertisements):
18.104.22.168. Use or allow the use of photographs, drawings, and other similar media formats of themselves in uniform as the primary graphic representation in any campaign media, such as a billboard, brochure, flyer, Web site, or television commercial. For the purposes of this policy, “photographs” include video images, drawings, and all other similar formats of representational media.
DoDD 1344.10, February 19, 2008
Gabbard has consistently used photographs of herself in uniform, as well as those of fellow soldiers, and posted them on her Congressional and campaign social media pages -- starting with her first Congressional campaign in 2012:
Though she has been warned repeatedly to follow DoD rules, she persists in using her uniformed image in campaign materials, particularly when the image is "the primary graphic representation in any campaign media, such as a billboard, brochure, flyer, Web site, or television commercial."
In such instances, including a disclaimer does not satisfy the DoD regulation.
In fact, in a powerpoint presented by the Office of Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel & Readiness, the above post was used as an example of concerns that come up regarding "Service Members in Campaign Materials," particularly with regard to social media.
Most recently, she has cynically skirted the rules about including a "prominent and clearly displayed disclaimer" in videos posted on her Facebook campaign page, by using colors and fonts that are illegible.
Gabbard also posts the images of fellow serviceman on her campaign Facebook and Twitter pages, which puts them in danger of violating DoD rules:
Gabbard was first warned about using other service members images as early as 2012. These posts are still on her Facebook campaign page:
Gabbard's foreign policy positions:
As is clear from various votes she has taken, India is clearly of special interest to Tulsi Gabbard.
At a February 24, 2016 Committee on Armed Services Meeting entitled the CHALLENGE OF CONVENTIONAL AND HYBRID WARFARE IN THE ASIA-PACIFIC REGION: THE CHANGING NATURE OF THE SECURITY ENVIRONMENT AND ITS EFFECT ON MILITARY PLANNING, Gabbard took the opportunity to speak at length about the US-India relationship:
Ms. Gabbard. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Gentlemen, welcome. Aloha. I am not going to harp on this, but I will mention it quickly. I know it has been talked earlier about the Aegis Ashore on Kauai and just the paramount importance of protecting Hawaii and the United States from North Korea's threat. But, Admiral Harris, I would like to talk to you a little bit about India. I know you have a trip very soon to go and visit India. Two things: there is a potential sale of eight F- 16s to Pakistan that I and other Members of Congress have expressed very serious concerns about, given the fact that Pakistan has long harbored and given safe haven to various terrorist groups that continue to launch destabilizing attacks within India as well as Afghanistan; the recent release of Hafiz Saeed, one of the masterminds of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack, where six U.S. citizens were killed, even at the protests of the United States. There are a number of other concerns that we have. But, in particular, I am wondering if you can talk about how, as you and others have spoken of the importance of this opportunity to strengthen our relationship with India as we head into a strong partnership into the future and the benefits that that brings us, what impact could this sale of F-16s have on our relationship with India and the work that you and others are doing to strengthen that?
Though Gabbard ultimately voted for President Obama's Iran Deal, she expressed a great deal of concern about it. According to a July 29, 2015 article in the US Naval Institute News:
Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) said “the worse thing we can do is stake out positions” based on partisan concerns before fully examining the deal.
The most common concern is whether there truly is “a strong verifiable inspection regime” in place, she said. That question came up several times earlier in the week, at Tuesday’s House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing.
Linked to that concern is the 24-day period that Iran is given to respond to a request for an inspection, she said.
“The answers seem to vary … on what are the consequences if Iran does not comply” and allow representatives from the United Nations to thoroughly inspect a site for potential violations, she said.
Gabbard also wants more clarity from the administration on how the “snapback sanctions” would work if Iran is found to be in violation.
On January 17, 2019, Branko Narcotic wrote a detailed analysis of Gabbard's positions on Iran, noting, "there’s the Tulsi Gabbard who believes the Iran Deal was a 'high water mark for diplomacy' with the country; and the Tulsi Gabbard who relentlessly trashed diplomatic rapprochement with Iran for years."
Link to his piece in Jacobin here.