Pompeo has just proven once again that there is nothing the Trump administration won’t do to cover for Saudi Arabia as it prosecutes the atrocious U.S.-backed war on Yemen:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blocked the inclusion of Saudi Arabia on a U.S. list of countries that recruit child soldiers, dismissing his experts’ findings that a Saudi-led coalition has been using under-age fighters in Yemen’s civil war, according to four people familiar with the matter.
Pompeo has made a habit of overruling State Department experts when their recommendations don’t line up with the administration’s preference for giving the Saudis whatever they want. Last fall, he overruled them to make the bogus certification that the Saudi coalition was making an effort to reduce civilian casualties, and now he has overruled them to pretend that the Saudi coalition doesn’t use child soldiers when there is ample evidence that they have been doing that for years. All parties to the conflict have recruited child soldiers, and the Saudi coalition is no exception. There is no good reason to keep Saudi Arabia off the list of countries that engage in this awful practice, and so we are left to assume that Pompeo is doing it as a favor to a despotic regime because it happens to buy a lot of U.S.-made weapons.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has taken the extraordinarily unusual move of traveling to Miami to meet with (and browbeat?) heads of US Centcom and Special Operations Command. Are military leaders balking as neocon plans for “tactical assault” seem to be gaining ground? Where’s Trump? Where’s Congress? Where’s the Pentagon? Who’s in charge? Tune in to today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s rush to judgement that Iran was behind the apparent attacks on two tanker ships last week has not galvanized world opinion against Iran, as the neocons hoped. Instead, it was met with high skepticism even among Washington’s closest allies. Has the neocon practice of massively exaggerating and endlessly issuing threats finally destroyed US credibility on the world stage? On today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:
Iran hawks are always saying that they don’t want war with Iran, but somehow they always end up advocating for attacking Iran. Bret Stephens did that again yesterday:
Nobody wants a war with Iran. But not wanting a war does not mean remaining supine in the face of its outrages. We sank Iran’s navy before. Tehran should be put on notice that we are prepared and able to do it again.
When denying that they seek war, most hawks usually put some distance between their pro forma denial and their demand for unleashing havoc, but Stephens doesn’t want to wait. Calling for the U.S. to threaten sinking the Iranian navy is to demand that our government threaten massive escalation and the initiation of a major war over relatively minor incidents. It is also calling for putting thousands of US sailors in grave danger. The US Navy presumably would prevail in any fight, it would come at a much higher cost than most Americans expect. Harry Kazianis wrote an article for The American Conservative about the wargame he participated in that simulated a war with Iran in the Persian Gulf, and the results were very ugly:
Then Iran decides such an action cannot be allowed to stand, and decides to make a statement that not only is its military powerful, but it can cause serious damage to US naval assets in the region. They counterattack with a massive volley of anti-ship missiles pointed at the ultimate symbol of US military might: America’s only aircraft carrier operating in the region. Firing over 100 missiles, the carrier’s defenses are overwhelmed and the 100,000-ton vessel is destroyed, with over 2,000 sailors and airmen lost.
Iran doesn’t stop there. To make clear that it won’t tolerate any further US military operations against its forces, Iranian conventional attack submarines – purchased from Russia – launch a series of attacks on US surface combatants in the Persian Gulf. While Tehran loses two of its prized subs, one American Littoral Combat Vessel is sunk, with over 62 sailors killed.
There is no compelling reason for the US to go to war with Iran. What US interest is served by courting such a disaster? When we strip away the nonsense about a “pirate state,” Stephens doesn’t have an answer for that. If the US weren’t strangling Iran’s economy with unwarranted sanctions and inflicting collective punishment on the Iranian people, our governments wouldn’t be on a collision course. Instead of additional threats that will only worsen the tensions between the US and Iran, our government should be looking for a way to backtrack and de-escalate the situation as quickly as possible. The danger is that the Trump administration may be incapable of doing that after investing so much in their bankrupt Iran policy.
This morning on Antiwar Radio, I’ll be playing my interview of the Great Gareth Porter from Friday — interview #317 of Gareth, and number 5,000 overall since 2003 (including now my long-lost first interview from 1999.)
Sen. Rand Paul argues for stopping US arms sales to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Qatar.
Shortly after, the Senate voted down bills to block these arm sales. The bills were expected to pass, but following the unattributed attack on two Oman oil tankers this morning, some senators switched sides to kill the bills.