Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) during a CNN Town Hall at the South by Southwest Conference said that she is not convinced for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to be tagged as a war criminal.
Gabbard said that “I think that the evidence needs to be gathered and, as I have said before, if there is evidence that he has committed war crimes, he should be prosecuted as such.”
Such a response coming from a military veteran like Tulsi Gabbard raises various speculations which she settled by resonating that it is essential before taking any form of action; authorities should be well versed with concrete evidence.
After Gabbard expressed her opinion on Assad, who has been involved in years-long civil war, moderator Dana Bash stressed on her views of Assad’s act of using chemical weapons against his own people. On which Gabbard responded that “Everything that I have said requires that we take action based on evidence,” but “If the evidence is there, there should be accountability.”
Further replying to a participant from the audience, she said that earlier there was a lot of skepticism regarding Assad’s role using such weapons in 2017. However, after reports are available, it is evident that such an action took place.
She further said that the skepticism and questions were driven at that time due to the speculations that suggested Trump administration was trying to find an excuse to launch military attacks in Syria.
As reported by the United Nations, various cases have been recorded wherein government led by Assad used chemical weapons against its own people, including an attack near Damascus which killed dozens of people, children included.
The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, a body established by the UNHRC, also monitored various such cases. These attacks included use of chlorine gas or the nerve agent sarin that affected people. Overall, the United States since last April have accused Assads’s government of using chemical weapons at least 50 times throughout the seven years of civil war.
However, as stated by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, one cannot defy the fact that no decision by the US should be taken without considering both ethical and diplomatic situation of the times which must also be based on strong evidence available against Assad’s Syrian regime.