MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Pompeo Lied to Congress About Yemen To Protect Arms Sales – Antiwar.com Blog

Posted by M. C. Fox on September 21, 2018

Here the experts couldn’t be more wrong

Government “experts” usually are…some names would have been nice.

because it is in America’s national security interest. Yemen is a US national security issue? I need an “expert” to explain to me…why?

https://www.antiwar.com/blog/2018/09/20/pompeo-lied-to-congress-about-yemen-to-protect-arms-sales/

Daniel Larison

Originally appeared on The American Conservative.

Mike Pompeo’s certification earlier this month that the Saudi coalition was working to reduce harm to civilians in Yemen was an obvious sham. According to a new report in The Wall Street Journal, Pompeo made the decision to lie for the Saudis and Emiratis because he feared it would hurt arms sales:

Mr. Pompeo overruled concerns from most of the State Department specialists involved in the debate who were worried about the rising civilian death toll in Yemen. Those who objected included specialists in the region and in military affairs. He sided with his legislative affairs team after they argued that suspending support could undercut plans to sell more than 120,000 precision-guided missiles to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, according to a classified State Department memo and people familiar with the debate.

Cutting off refueling to the coalition likely would make it extremely difficult to sell more weapons to the Saudis and Emiratis, but that is not a good reason to ignore evidence and expert advice and then lie to Congress…

To their credit, most State Department officials were telling Pompeo that he shouldn’t do what he ended up doing:

The experts argued that certification would “provide no incentive for Saudi leadership to take our diplomatic messaging seriously,” and “damage the Department’s credibility with Congress,” according to portions of the memo shared with The Wall Street Journal.

The department’s experts were right on both counts, but they may have underestimated how much damage Pompeo has done with Congress by making such a transparently dishonest certification that flies in the face of all the available evidence. Unfortunately, the department experts still favored continued military assistance for the war anyway:

They urged Mr. Pompeo to instead tell Congress that he couldn’t certify that the Gulf nations were doing enough to minimize civilian casualties, but that the US would continue to provide military support to the coalition because it is in America’s national security interest.

Here the experts couldn’t be more wrong…

The US Agency for International Development went even further and argued that the US should halt military aid because “USAID does not believe that continued refueling support will improve either country’s approach to civilian casualties or human protections.”

There was never any chance that Pompeo was going to pay attention to this advice. This report just underscores why it is critical for Congress to do what the administration never will. Congress needs to vote for an end US involvement in the war and to block all arms sales in order to pressure the Saudi coalition to stop their military campaign.

Be seeing you

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