Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), who is running for Mark Kirk’s U.S. Senate seat, is suddenly speaking out about Syrian refugees, after doing and saying nothing for years.
She published an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune: “Reject fearmongers, welcome Syrian refuges.” She went on Wednesday’s Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC to repeat those sentiments. Curiously, though, Duckworth never did much for Syria or refugees before the Paris attacks, or before GOP opposition arose to Obama’s refugee plan.
In 2013, Duckworth opposed President Barack Obama’s plan for limited strikes against Syria, saying: “”War is messy. War is never that simple.”
She said that while “Syria is undergoing a humanitarian crisis,” and “the United States cannot stand by as innocent civilians are being massacred,” she wanted “to make sure we don’t commit resources, the most precious of which are our men and women in uniform, with no comprehensive plan for our involvement.”
She said nothing about helping Syrian refugees.
In 2014, Duckworth also voted against funding for Syrian rebels. She remained skeptical in 2015, saying in Congress that she had “some real reservations about our mission to train and equip the Syrian opposition forces.”
But she proposed no alternative for dealing with the Syrian civil war, the rise of ISIS, or the refugee problem, other than saying that a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) was needed before we could commit any further military resources to the problems in the region.
A search of Duckworth’s website and the Congressional Record suggests that she has said almost nothing about Syrian refugees since being elected to Congress in 2012–long after the Syrian civil war began.
Suddenly, however, Duckworth has discovered that “acting indifferent to human suffering ultimately threatens national security.”
She hasn’t discovered her humanitarian principles. Rather, she’s discovered a new set of Democratic Party talking points, just in time for the 2016 elections and the Senate primary.