Opinion Extra

Op-ed: Democratic candidate Gabbard is a foreign policy specialist

I retired in South Carolina after 21 years of military service. I was raised by journalists. Current events are dinner table topics in my house as they were in my parents’ house.

I was taught about bias at a young age and raised to find answers for myself. I was also taught that people are allowed to have differing opinions and get along. I have watched politicians lie to get elected my whole life and wondered how people could believe them since presidents don’t have the authority to do most of the things they promise on the campaign trail. Then I remember what my mother told me long ago: a lot of people know about the separation of powers or the checks and balances of the branches of our government, but don’t understand it.

Commander-in-chief is arguably the most important hat a president wears. America has only known 17 calendar years without armed conflict. Our current “forever wars” have impacted multiple generations now. My son, nephews and niece now serve. I had been in the military for four years on 9/11. How many more of our service members need to die or be physically or mentally wounded? Why are we still engaged? We are no longer fighting those who attacked us and have not been for a long time. I have lost active duty friends to war and suicide. I am scarred.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard hasn’t promised me a thing outside of executive authority. She also hasn’t lied. I challenge anyone to find one instance of her lying or making false promises. In turn, she has been consistently lied about from mostly the left wing media of all places. Her only promises fall within the authority of the executive branch and her role as commander-in-chief.

Gabbard promised a full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan within her first year in office. She has also vowed to end our forceful regime change policies and act on a standard of peace as opposed to fomenting violence, sanctions or embargoes. This will end America’s role in creating or aiding humanitarian crises in places like Honduras or Venezuela in the name of American control of their resources.

She gets to the root of problems like supporting the spread of the dangerous ideology of Wahhabism that bred al-Qaeda and ISIS in the name of arms sales and intelligence against Saudi Arabia’s enemies. She said we should wait until we have the facts before responding to chemical attacks in Syria with Tomohawk missile strikes.

The OPCW reports show she has been right about Syria all along. Her unplanned meeting with Assad was part of her job on the Foreign Affairs and Armed Services committees. She’s no more an “Assad apologist” than anyone who voted against the Iraq war was a Saddam apologist. She does not want the nation to look back on Syria the way we look back on Iraq. Or worse, she does not want the same for Iran.

Gabbard stands to unite left, right and center. She understands that she serves the American people. She understands how government works and the role of each government entity. She’s a foreign policy specialist who does not need a “chicken hawk” cabinet. Check her voting record. Check the bills she has authored and cosigned. Search her speeches and interviews. Check the real facts about Syria. Do what my mother says and check for yourself.

Joseph Netti served 21 years in the US Air Force, which included multiple deployments and assignments in tactical, intelligence, communications and global command and control units.