Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), as a Hawaiian democrat, might be expected to toe the line, or at least hold her tongue, on President Obama’s startling refusal to label ISIS as being motivated by its Islamic beliefs. The Congresswoman, who is one of the first two women combat veterans elected to Congress, has however gone public with her opposition to the President’s policy in this area. Gabbard explained in a recent interview that “If we don’t identify our enemies, we cannot defeat them.” She went on to explain her thinking:

“Unless you accurately identify who your enemy is, you can’t come up with an effective strategy, a winning strategy to defeat that enemy….Our real focus needs to be…on the Islamic extremist threat that is posed not only to the United States and the American people, but around the world.”

The Congresswoman, by the way, is no knee-jerk war hawk. Indeed, she opposed President Obama’s decision to direct airstrikes against the Bashar Assad regime in Syria after concluding that intervention in Syria went against our “national security, international credibility, economic interest, and moral center.”

But Gabbard recognizes ISIS as an enemy to America’s interests, and characterizes the group as a destabilizing radical force in the Middle East with anti-Western ambitions. She has little patience for the President's posturing. “The administration is really claiming that the motivation or the thing that is fueling this terrorism around the world is something that has to do with poverty, has to do with a lack of jobs, or lack of access to education, really a materialistic motivation. And therefore they are proposing that the solution must be to alleviate poverty around the world, to continue this failed Bush and Obama policy of nation building.”

Gabbard links Obama’s and G.W. Bush as both seeking nation-building. This policy can be fairly be ascribed to Bush, who brought down Saddam Hussein in Iraq and replaced him with a semi-functional Iraq at a cost we are still debating. Obama’s Middle East policies, on the other hand, have brought about national collapse in Syria and Libya, the temporary installation of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (later rejected by the Egyptians), and of course the collapse of half of Iraq.

Nevertheless, it is refreshing to see a Congresswoman so insightfully skewer the President, from within his own party, on his refusal to call religiously-motivated terrorists what they so clearly are. ISIS is not burning Christians alive because there aren’t enough kebab-selling opportunities in Basra.


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