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Veteran Tulsi Gabbard calls out Trump’s “chicken hawk Cabinet” over Iran policy

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a veteran of the Iraq war and an active member of the Hawaii National Guard, accused Trump's "chicken hawk Cabinet" of leading the U.S. "to the brink of war with Iran" at the first Democratic primary debate on Wednesday.

"A war with Iran would be far more costly and far more devastating than anything that we experienced in Iraq. It would take many more lives, it would exacerbate the refugee crisis. This would turn into a regional war."

Context: President Trump approved military strikes "on a handful of Iranian targets" last week but called them off at the last minute, amid heightened tensions that have brought back fears that the U.S. could be on course for war with Iran. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton, both of whom are considered hawks by the foreign policy establishment, have steered the Trump administration's campaign of "maximum pressure" against Iran.

What they're saying: Sen. Cory Booker was the only candidate on stage to say the 2015 Iran nuclear deal was a "mistake," adding: "I'm not going to have a primary platform to say, unilaterally, I'm going to rejoin that deal...If I have an opportunity to leverage a better deal, I'm going to do it."

  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar said she would re-negotiate the U.S. back into the Iran deal, and — in a shot at Trump — added: "I don't think we should conduct foreign policy in our bathrobe at 5 o'clock in the morning."

Go deeper: A timeline of how Trump and Tehran came to the brink of war