HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has been stepping up in the national discussion over Syria. She appeared on CNN, predicting dire consequences as a result of the U.S. missile strike in that country.
American and foreign intelligence have said there is a high probability that Syrian president Bashir al-Assad ordered Tuesday's chemical attack that killed innocent civilians and prompted the U.S. strike. Gabbard's skepticism over that assertion is adding to the national debate, with some political fallout.
On CNN's "The Situation Room," Gabbard was asked about her January trip to Syria where she met with al-Assad.
"You know, I went to Syria in the interest of furthering the cause of peace," she told host Wolf Blitzer during a sometimes pointed interview. Her controversial meeting with the Syrian president boosted her prominence, but continues to shadow her position on the Syrian War. She doesn't want to repeat the mistakes of the Iraq war.
"All of that evidence proved to be false, so that war was launched on a false premise," she told Hawaii News Now. "Which is why it's so important to be deliberate and gather evidence so we can make a determination on what needs to occur."
Gabbard has been drawing criticism and praise on social media. But she's not alone in having doubts over the chemical weapons attack. Other members of Congress are also demanding that the Trump administration explain its legal basis for the U.S. response.
Still, Hawaii News Now political analyst Colin Moore believes the U.S. missile strike may have caught Gabbard off guard politically.
"The visuals are pretty troubling, given that she met with Assad, and now the Trump administration has attacked one of his air bases and it seems very likely that he did use chemical weapons against his own people," said Moore.
Despite Gabbard's doubts, a University of Hawaii professor from Syria is glad the U.S. took action.
"In some ways it's comforting to see that a big power or that one of the strongest nations in the world has taken a stand against the barbaric events to show that the world has to do something," said Professor Shadia Rifai Habbal.
Gabbard remains pessimistic, believing the U.S. attack may lead to war.
"Direct military confrontation between the United States and Russia has now become more of a probability than a possibility," she said.