Pompeo Challenged at Senate Foreign Relations Committee

by Renee Parsons

Newly appointed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had every reason to expect that his first official appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee would be the usual slam-dunk as mostly obedient, respectful Senators aligned with his testimony.
Instead of the typically gratuitous compliments and undeserved deference, there was a display (albeit a minority) of some moral courage with a rare slice of truth on Capitol Hill, epitomizing the real-time requirements of a Senator’s job: to be skeptical, provide oversight and demand accountability from every Federal government witness, no matter the rank – once referred to as ‘grilling the witness.”
Besides fraternizing with America’s most privileged citizens, endless rounds of lavish Capitol Hill receptions, wide ranging international travel opportunities (aka junkets), a liberal vacation policy and exorbitant benefits out of step for the minimal accomplishments actually achieved, the current Senate paradigm has allowed too many Members to degenerate into a protuberance of greedy, sniveling, weak-minded buffoons with no genuine regard for their constituents or what was once the greatest democracy on the planet.
Days earlier, as the nation’s top diplomat, Pompeo delivered the Trump Administration’s controversial “After the Deal: A New Iran Strategy” in a decidedly undiplomatic speech to a less than enthusiastic audience at the Heritage Foundation. That aggressive strategy included a dozen doomed-to-fail, untenable demands that were little more than a precursor for military intervention and regime change.
Before the hearing began, Pompeo unexpectedly read a crude letter from President Trump to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un cancelling the June 12th summit citing “tremendous anger and open hostility” and concluded with the moronic “If you change your mind …, please do not hesitate to call or write me.” To date, Trump has softened his stance against a meeting and hints the June summit may occur on schedule.
As the hearing began, most Senators expended their allotted time by steadfastly avoiding the massive foreign policy blunder that had just been dropped in their laps. The following excerpts focus on two Members, Sen. Rand Paul (R-SC) (1:58) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass) (2:19/3:27) since they had the most extensive dialogue with Pompeo and because they gave Pompeo the most grief. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Or) (3:34) and Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) (3:15) questioned implications of the upcoming Authority for Use of Military Force (AUMF).
Sen. Paul launched into a rapid-fire critique exposing the inadequacies of Pompeo’s Iran Plan with a much needed dose of reality as he methodically decimated the strategy, beginning with the requirement that Iran reveal the ‘military dimensions’ of its nuclear program:

Let’s substitute Israel for Iran. Does anyone believe that Israel is going to reveal the military dimensions of their nuclear program? ” Paul inquired whether the Saudi’s would be willing to discuss “anything they’ve done to develop nuclear weapons or reveal the military dimensions of their nuclear program. So really what you’re asking for is something they (Iranians) are never going to agree to.”

Regarding the requirement that Iran end its proliferation of ballistic missiles , Paul explained that

…when we supply weapons, the Saudis buy weapons, the Saudis have a ballistic weapon program, they (Iran) respond to that. The Saudis and their allies …spend more than eight times Iran so when you tell Iran that you have to give up your ballistic missile program but you don’t say anything to the Saudis, you think they are ever going to sign?”

If you leave Saudi Arabia and Israel out of it and look at Iran in isolation, that’s not how they (Iran) perceive it. We want Iran to do things that we’re not willing to ask anybody else to do and that we would never do.”

Regarding Pompeo’s demand to end military support for the Houthi rebels:

Once again, you’re asking them to end it but you’re not asking the Saudis to end their bombardment of Yemen. If you look at the humanitarian disaster that is Yemen, it is squarely on the shoulders of the Saudis.”

Paul then drew attention to the demand for Iran to withdraw all its forces from Syria noting that

ISIS is getting weapons from Qatar and Saudi Arabia” and that “Saudi Arabia and Qatar are ten times the problem. The people who attacked us came from Saudi Arabia. We ignore all that and lavish them with bombs.”

It was naïve to pull out of the Iran Agreement and in the end, we’ll be worse off for it.”

Pompeo was Stunned and the Silence was Deafening. Pompeo had absolutely no reaction to Paul’s devastating analysis of US foreign policy in the Middle East, offering no explanation, no excuse, no correction or thoughtful response; nor did any other Senator present dare step into the swamp.
Next up was Sen. Markey citing Trump’s reference to North Korea’s ‘tremendous anger and open hostility” and inquiring:

How did you expect North Korea to react to comparisons between Libya and North Korea, between the fates of Kim Jong Un and Qaddafi. Why would you expect anything other than anger and hostility in reaction to these comparisons?”

Markey was referring to Vice President Mike Pence’s comment that “Kim Jong Un will end up like Qaddafi if he does not make a deal” and National Security Advisor John Bolton’s “we have very much in mind the Libya model of 2003-2004.”
As background, in 2003 Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi relinquished his nuclear, biological and chemical weapons allowing inspectors to oversee and verify the process. By 2011, with US and NATO instigation, Libya experienced a violent overthrow of its government with Qaddafi brutally murdered. And who can ever forget former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s macabre glee “we came, we saw, he died.”
Pompeo expressed “misunderstanding taking place with this idea of a Libya model” and that he “hadn’t done the work to find out what that was…when Libyans chose to give up their nuclear weapons in 2003. That’s the Libya model.”
Markey explained:

The Libya model, as Kim Jong Un has been interpreting it, is that the leader of the country surrenders their nuclear capability only to then be overthrown and killed. Why would you not think that Kim would not interpret it that way as it continued to escalate with Bolton and Vice President talking about the Qaddafi model? .…why would you think there would be any other interpretation at what happened to Qaddafi at the end of his denuclearization which is that he wound up dead? Why would that not elicit hostility from a negotiating partner three weeks prior to sitting down..”

From there Markey and Pompeo bantered back and forth with Pompeo consistently failing to grasp the connection between Qaddafi’s 2003 disarmament agreement and US military interference in Libya in 2011 that resulted in Qaddafi’s death as sufficient reason for North Korea to feel threatened. No matter how precise the clarification, Pompeo continued to respond as a dense, one-dimensional thinker unable to wrap his mind around logic that challenged his view of a simulated reality, as if looking at the same object through a different lens.
Committee chair Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn) agreed with Markey.

I opposed so strongly what the Obama administration did in Libya was exactly the argument you are laying out right now…to have someone like Qaddafi who gave up their nuclear weapons and then go kill him to me sent exactly the signal that you are laying out right now.”

Corker then announced that he

just had discussion with Secretary’s staff and he is now 15 minutes late for a meeting. I’m going to allow a couple of comments but going to stop it in five minutes.”

Markey immediately inquired:

Who is the meeting with Mr. Secretary…if you are not going to stay here and answer questions from us…can you not push that meeting back another 15 minutes…”


…this is getting a little bit, this type of discourse, I’m sorry, I’m the one doing this. I’ve been very generous”


…but we agreed to two seven- minute question periods and it is being ended here for two members…”

Markey continued until Sen. Corker gaveled his time had expired.
As the Foreign Relations Committee contemplates an upcoming markup and vote on a Forever AUMF next week, it will be a time for other Committee Senators to step outside the Matrix and dig deep to find their own moral fortitude.

Renee Parsons has been a member of the ACLU’s Florida State Board of Directors and president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, an environmental lobbyist for Friends of the Earth and a staff member of the US House of Representatives in Washington DC. She can be found on Twitter @reneedove31


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Jun 4, 2018 6:21 PM

Methinks Senator Paul is about to have a random accident…or at the very least some salubrious revelation about his past, true or otherwise. It doesn’t seem to matter anymore.

Harry Law
Harry Law
Jun 4, 2018 3:46 PM

The US missile strikes on Syria did not raise to an issue of war say US DOJ “Given the absence of ground troops, the limited mission and time frame, and the efforts to avoid escalation, the anticipated nature, scope, and duration of these airstrikes did not rise to the level of a ‘war’ for constitutional purposes,” Engel wrote. Absolutely preposterous, so if a country lets say Iran sends 105 cruise missiles into the United States and thousands of civilians are killed, then the US would calmly do nothing since the attack did not rise to the level of a war. http://thehill.com/policy/defense/390331-doj-syria-strikes-not-war-in-constitutional-sense

Fair dinkum
Fair dinkum
Jun 4, 2018 10:39 AM

We need a term to counteract ‘anti semitism’
Anti human? Anti Love? Anti future? Anti justice?
The possibilities are endless.

Mulga Mumblebrain
Mulga Mumblebrain
Jun 5, 2018 12:20 AM
Reply to  Fair dinkum

‘Antigoyism’ has gotten me banned in numerous places, and sends the well-trained into paroxysms of outrage and befuddlement.

Jun 4, 2018 10:05 AM

“If you change your mind …, please do not hesitate to call or write me.”
P.S. Have a nice day.

Harry Law
Harry Law
Jun 3, 2018 11:20 PM

NATO will not side with Israel if the Islamic Republic of Iran attacks the Jewish state, the head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization told a German magazine on Saturday NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told Der Spiegel, “The security guarantee [of NATO] does not apply to Israel” because the Jewish state is not a member of the 29 country alliance. https://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Iran-News/NATO-chief-said-alliance-wont-defend-Israel-in-war-with-Iran-558987
Off topic London Metropolitan Police Chief implies Yulia Skripal consents to being incarcerated and incommunicado. Or does she.. http://johnhelmer.net/london-police-commissioner-makes-new-claim-to-keep-yulia-skripal-incommunicado/

Gary Weglarz
Gary Weglarz
Jun 3, 2018 11:08 PM

(“No matter how precise the clarification, Pompeo continued to respond as a dense, one-dimensional thinker unable to wrap his mind around logic that challenged his view of a simulated reality, as if looking at the same object through a different lens.”) – quote from article
—- What is difficult at some level to get one’s mind around is the fundamental reality that the same sort of amoral numb nut idiots who populated the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1960, who kept pushing Kennedy to authorize them to launch a nuclear first strike against Moscow and Havana, have simply been replaced decade after decade by an endless stream of psychopathic violent humaniods like Pompeo. These are people quite literally devoid of the important attributes like empathy and compassion that make us functionally human. Yet such people rise over and over again to top positions in the U.S. military, the CIA and the government because the very traits that make them monsters is what makes them important and necessary to a “monstrous” system.
(“We came, we saw, he died”) – followed by uproarious laughter – Hillary R. Clinton Commenting on the death of Gaddafi and the completely illegal and immoral destruction of the nation of Libya that until that time had the highest standard of living in Africa.
(“I think this is a very hard choice, but the price – we think the price is worth it.”) – Madeline Albright U.S. Sec. of State responding to a question about the deaths of a half-a-million Iraqi children due to U.S. supported sanctions.
We have created and are a part of a system that elevates and rewards these monsters, because our system of Western, neoliberal, militarized, amoral, “exceptionalist,” mass violence, “democracies” – ((needs them)) – as our system is itself totally and completely monstrous evaluated in any human terms.
We are long past a time when anyone in the U.S., or the West in general, can find comfort through deflecting our own responsibility for this state of affairs by self-righteously asking – “how could the German people could have ever allowed a Hitler”? How indeed do we continue to allow this?

Harry Law
Harry Law
Jun 3, 2018 11:07 PM

NATO will not side with Israel if the Islamic Republic of Iran attacks the Jewish state, the head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization told a German magazine on Saturday NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told Der Spiegel, “The security guarantee [of NATO] does not apply to Israel” because the Jewish state is not a member of the 29 country alliance. https://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Iran-News/NATO-chief-said-alliance-wont-defend-Israel-in-war-with-Iran-558987 That means in any war its the USA and Israel against the rest of the world. Off topic. London Police Chief Cressida Dick implies Yulia Skripal consents to being incarcerated incommunicado. Or does she? http://johnhelmer.net/london-police-commissioner-makes-new-claim-to-keep-yulia-skripal-incommunicado/

Mulga Mumblebrain
Mulga Mumblebrain
Jun 3, 2018 9:53 PM

Pompeo is almost a parody of the Imperial Thanatopian pig-thugs that has terrorised humanity for 200 plus years. His, and the religious fundamentalist pig-thug Pence’s threats against Iran are in breach of Article One of the UN Charter, but the Real Evil Empire respects NOTHING but force, threats and violence.

Jun 3, 2018 9:24 PM

“Moral fortitude”? Please tell me you are kidding! Congressional members wouldn’t know morals if they fell over them!

Jun 3, 2018 11:04 PM
Reply to  Archie2954

Pompeo thinks fortitude is something to do with forts.

John Jeffery
John Jeffery
Jun 3, 2018 8:57 PM

The AIPAC loyalty oath to Israel is effective in giving Israel complete control over the US government. There are only one or two members of Congress not signed up. If they do not sign they do not get re- elected. If you add the 154 Israeli citizens sitting in Congress with the balance of power you can see the totality of Israeli domination of US policy.. John Bolten is an Israeli.
It many ways the Israeli control of the US is similar to the British Raj in India.
To expect anything other than Israeli foreign policies from the US is fanciful.

Mulga Mumblebrain
Mulga Mumblebrain
Jun 3, 2018 9:57 PM
Reply to  John Jeffery

Quite true-a situation unprecedented in history, one which the Zionists boast of, among themselves, but Heaven help any mere goy that dares notice, or comment on it. That is the very essence of the New Supreme Crime-‘antisemitism’. Omnipresent, ubiquitous and universal.

Jun 3, 2018 6:32 PM

Pompeo is NATO’s anointed successor to Trump. The Demcrats have no credible candidate,. Trump himself is flakey on NATO – which they will not accept. Pompeo will walk it, because it’s what the military-industrial complex wants – and he is one of them, he is their very own man on Capitol Hill. He has carefully arranged for his sidekicks in the Oval Office to be his own disgraced former assistant, and a silly old ninny with a carnival-store moustache.
Two terms are already written in stone.

Jun 3, 2018 5:34 PM

At least a few people that have logical and reasonable heads on their shoulders . Pompeo doing Israel’s bidding is pretty obvious .

Jun 3, 2018 4:41 PM

‘Curiouser and curiouser’