Tulsi Gabbard Says 'War With Iran Would Make Iraq/Afghanistan Wars Seem Like A Picnic'

Representative Tulsi Gabbard, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, warned in a Fox News interview Tuesday that a war between the United States and Iran would be more devastating than previous U.S. wars in the region.

"Well, we've got to be clear-eyed about the situation that we are in, that.... Speeding towards an all-out war with Iran would make the wars that we've seen in Iraq and in Afghanistan look like a picnic," she said on Fox show The Story With Martha MacCallum. "It will be far more costly in lives, American lives and American taxpayer dollars."

Gabbard went on to say that Trump has worsened American national security in two ways. First, by antagonizing Iran, Trump gave the country a reason to pull out of the international agreement that restricted its development of nuclear weapons. Secondly, U.S. troops in the Middle East will no longer be able to focus on combating the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda if they have to fight Iran's military. This, she argued, could give those two groups an opportunity to resurge.

Newsweek has reached out to Gabbard's office for further comment but did not hear back before publication.

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In expressing her opinions on a possible conflict between the U.S. and Iran, Gabbard joined other politicians as well as pundits who have offered their view on what might occur after the U.S. killing of Qassem Soleimani. The Iranian general was considered to be the nation's second most powerful figure, after supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Since the strike, Democrats such as Gabbard have criticized Trump's decision to order the attack. They say Soleimani's death, which drew thousands of mourners to his funeral in Tehran, would lead to another war in the Middle East that the U.S. cannot win.

However, Trump has said the strike was a preventive measure and will decrease the likelihood of a future conflict instead of creating one.

"Just recently, Soleimani led the brutal repression of protest in Iran, where more than a thousand innocent civilians were tortured and killed by their own government," the president said in a speech about the strike last Friday. "We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war."

The commander in chief has no military experience—Trump was able to secure a medical deferment from the draft during the Vietnam War. Gabbard, on the other hand, is a combat veteran. She was a major in the Hawaii National Guard during the Iraq War and served a 12-month tour in that country from 2004 to 2005.

Not long after the news of Soleimani's killing broke, Gabbard put out a video statement on her Twitter account that called for removal of U.S. troops from Iraq and Syria.

"That is the only way that we're going to prevent ourselves from being dragged into this quagmire, deeper and deeper into a war with Iran," she wrote.

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Representative Tulsi Gabbard speaks during the fifth Democratic presidential debate on November 20, 2019, in Atlanta. Saul Loeb/Getty