Mike Pompeo is ‘all in for war’ with Iran — recalling Cheney and Rumsfeld before 2003 Iraq 'debacle’: national affairs correspondent

Mike Pompeo is ‘all in for war’ with Iran — recalling Cheney and Rumsfeld before 2003 Iraq 'debacle’: national affairs correspondent
Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo delivers a speech on “In Tribute to Human Freedom” at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, in Houston, Texas on November 15, 2019. [State Department photo by Ron Przysucha/Public Domain]

As tensions between the United States and Iran continue to escalate following the drone attack that killed Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani, one of the most visible cheerleaders of that escalation is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Journalist Joan Walsh, in a January 7 article for The Nation, notes the troubling parallels between Pompeo beating the war drum in 2020 and members of the Bush Administration pushing for the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

“The secretary of state is normally in charge of diplomacy,” Walsh asserts, “but Pompeo seems all in for war, and he’s peddling it with the same mix of mendacity and recklessness the George W. Bush crew used to justify their 2003 Iraq debacle.”

Walsh notes that on Friday, January 3, Pompeo claimed, “I saw last night, there was dancing in the streets in parts of Iraq. We have every expectation that people not only in Iraq, but in Iran, will view the American action last night as giving them freedom.”

That “ludicrous claim” by Pompeo, Walsh adds, recalls former Vice President Dick Cheney’s 2003 prediction that U.S. troops “will, in fact, be treated as liberators” after an invasion.

Of course, post-Saddam Hussein Iraq hardly turned out to be the oasis of peace and tranquility that Cheney, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other neocons in the Bush Administration claimed it would be. Hussein was a brutal dictator, but he brought an element of stability to Iraq; with Hussein overthrown and executed, Iraq descended into a state of chaos and tribalist conflict.

The response to Soleimani’s death in the Middle East, Walsh stresses, has by no means been uniformly positive.

Walsh observes, “In fact, the million-plus people in the streets of Iran Monday were not dancing, but angrily mourning Soleimani…. Iraqi leaders were livid, with lame-duck Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi denouncing the assassination, and the Iraqi Parliament passing a non-binding resolution demanding that the U.S. withdraw its troops from Iraq.”

When Pompeo was interviewed by NBC News’ Chuck Todd for “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Todd asked if he expected “retaliation on American citizens” — to which Pompeo responded, “It may be that there’s a little noise here in the interim.” That response, according to Walsh, “callously” recalled “Rumsfeld’s indifferent ‘stuff happens’ and ‘freedom’s untidy’ in the wake of violence and looting after the 2003 invasion of Iraq.”

Walsh asserts, “If, and more likely when, Americans die in an Iranian retaliatory strike, I hope many people remind Pompeo that he called those deaths ‘a little noise.’”

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.