Secretary Pompeo Has No Credibility
Mike Pompeo spoke at the National Review Institute this week and made several false statements about North Korea, Yemen, and other issues. For instance, he said this about North Korea:
Chairman Kim hasn’t yet demonstrated that he is prepared to fulfill the commitment that he made.
Kim hasn’t “demonstrated” this because he never made the commitment that Pompeo and the rest of the administration keep pretending that he made. The Trump administration very much wants us to believe that Kim made a commitment to disarm, and they want to be able to blame Kim for “failing” to do what he promised, but none of this is true. Pompeo has spent the last ten months lying to the American public, Congress, and everyone else when he says things like this, and he never seems to pay a price for it.
On Yemen, Pompeo told another one of his whoppers:
MR LOWRY: So speaking of Yemen, had some disgruntlement in the United States Senate, as I’m sure you’re aware, over the war in Yemen. You have the critics making the case that the Saudis are prosecuting this in an immoral or even barbarous way and we should completely wash our hands of it. Why are they wrong?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah. Well, factually, they’re wrong. Factually, frankly, the American role there has reduced civilian casualties there inordinately [bold mine-DL]. I can – I think it’s declassified. I can show you the statistics. Since America’s begun to assist the Saudis in their campaign, the ratio of civilian casualties to effectiveness has decreased dramatically, and that’s important. And so it’s been a good thing that we’ve helped them [bold mine-DL].
The Yemen Data Project has tracked Saudi coalition airstrikes throughout the war, and they have found that the coalition has consistently struck civilian targets roughly one-third of the time. Hitting civilian targets that often and doing so consistently over four years of bombing show that coalition airstrikes are doing enormous harm to the civilian population and U.S. support is not reducing that harm.
Indeed, last year Saudi coalition strikes on civilian targets were increasing. Non-military targets sometimes exceeded military targets by a factor to two-to-one. U.S. military assistance has made no discernible difference in reducing harm to the civilian population, and because U.S. assistance enables the Saudi coalition to wage its war it is guaranteeing that more civilians die. Our government has helped the Saudis and Emiratis to commit countless war crimes. There can be nothing good about that. Pompeo doesn’t have any statistics that prove otherwise because all of the evidence points in the opposite direction. This is just another example of his shameless shilling on behalf of the Saudis and Emiratis. Coming on the heels of his pro-Saudi spin before the House Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday and his obnoxious lies about Yemen two weeks ago, Pompeo’s latest Yemen statements suggest that he is incapable of telling the truth about the effects of U.S. policy there.
His defense of Trump’s recognition of Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights was similarly absurd:
Many countries have said they’re not going to join us, but almost no one said that what we did wasn’t right [bold mine-DL], didn’t recognize a set of facts on the ground that were important.
In fact, every other government besides the U.S. and Israel opposes the Trump administration’s action, and every current member of the Security Council specifically denounced it. It would be fair to say that no other government except Israel’s said that the U.S. action was right. Farnaz Fassihi reported:
President Trump’s decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights became the latest rallying call against U.S. policies at the U.N. Security Council.
All 14 other council members said Wednesday that they oppose Washington’s decision and that the Golan Heights is occupied territory by Israel.
It is bad enough to offer disingenuous defenses of violations of international law (and Pompeo offered them), but it is pathological to claim that “almost no one” said that the U.S. position was wrong. Every other government that has addressed the issue has concluded that the U.S. is in the wrong. The Council members could not have been more blunt in their excoriation of the U.S. for its violation of Security Council resolutions and the U.N. Charter:
The U.K, France and Russia said the U.S. is disregarding international norms and violating at least two previous council resolutions stating that Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights is null and with no legal bearing. Germany said security concerns are pressing but don’t justify annexation. Kuwait said the decision threatens the stability of the region.
Pompeo is the chief representative of the United States abroad besides the president, so his habit of making things up out of thin air and telling easily refuted lies can only harm our reputation, undermine trust, and cause even our allies to doubt our government’s claims. Thanks to his constant misrepresentations and fabrications, nothing that the Secretary of State says can be believed.