Let's face it: despite one notable exception at Fox, Tucker Carlson, the conservative network remains stacked with war hawk pundits — especially when it comes to Washington's longtime arch-villain Iran. Almost two decades after 9/11, and after the rise of ISIS — both long documented to have had the hidden hand of Saudi state Wahhabism behind them — the US hawks still insist Tehran is the real global threat while "Riyadh is our friend".
Which is why it was so refreshing this week to see the thorn in the establishment Democratic presidential nominee Tulsi Gabbard so expertly and with ease dismantle Fox's remnant neocon talking points on Iran. As we've covered many times before, what makes her non-interventionist and anti regime change arguments so effective is that she herself has "skin in the game" — to use Taleb — as an Iraq War veteran and current Army reserve officer. She appeared on Fox where longtime anchor Neil Cavuto sought to skewer her recent biting criticisms of the Trump administration for acting like "Saudi Arabia's bitch" and not with "America first" in mind (a US foreign policy trend spanning administrations over decades).
Tulsi Gabbard wipes the floor with war hawk Neil Cavuto on the issue of Iran and Saudi Arabia pic.twitter.com/ayP81S5afG— Jake Mercier (@jakemerci) September 19, 2019
“Look Neil, I’m a soldier,” Gabbard began after Cavuto went on the offensive. “And I took an oath as a soldier as well as a member of Congress to support and defend our Constitution of the United States, to serve the American people.”
“And it’s a huge disgrace to hear our commander-in-chief basically put us in a position —the American people, our men and women in uniform, our military assets — in a position where we are servants of the Saudi kingdom. Standing by and awaiting their orders on how we should proceed.”
Part 2: Tulsi renders Cavuto speechless, explains that Saudi Arabia funds terrorism and that a war with Iran would make the Iraq war look like a “picnic” pic.twitter.com/7ssJ0LYPoW— Jake Mercier (@jakemerci) September 19, 2019
Specifically she had criticized the president's early remarks following the twin attacks on Saudi Aramco facilities last week, where Trump tweeted he's "waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!".
The Your World anchor thought she would back down after point blank saying — “a president Gabbard would see Saudi Arabia as a bigger threat to our country than Iran.”
“What I would like to see is Saudi Arabia ending their support for Al-Qaeda,” the Hawaiian Congresswomen retorted.
It got further heated from there:
“I’m sorry, that’s not what I asked,” Cavuto said, pressing.
“I know,” Gabbard said. “You’re turning my words around.”
“I want to just be very clear,” Cavuto said. “You have a higher opinion of Iran than Saudi Arabia?”
“No, that’s not what I’m saying.”
Cavuto asked Gabbard to expand.
“I’m focused on how we can best keep the American people safe. On how we can make sure that we have our national security intact,” she said.
“And the Saudis are a bigger threat to that safety than Iran?!” Cavuto said.
“The Saudis are directly supporting the very terrorist group that attacked us on 9/11 and that continue to pose a threat to the American people today!” Gabbard said.
Cavuto looked exasperated and speechless by the end of it, in surely what was an outside-the-establishment argument that he wasn't used to hearing, given the norm of Fox (which prior to 2017 had a significant chunk of its parent company 21st Century Fox owned by Saudi investors) consistently toeing the Saudi line on everything from Syria to Yemen to Iran.
Indeed Gabbard remains a rare voice: as a veteran seeking to dismantle American Empire and its regime change wars abroad, akin to a "Ron Paul of the Left".
This is why it appears the Democrats are doing everything they can to keep her out of the debates, despite her consistently polling higher than some of those who do make it to the stage.