Originally appeared on The American Conservative.
During his testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Mike Pompeo said the following about Yemen and Saudi Arabia (around 4:10:15 here):
The challenges that you’ve cited, the death that you just cited in Yemen, is not because of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. You have the wrong end of the stick on that.
That answer caught the attention of several observers, some of whom referred to the coalition attack on the Save the Children hospital in Saada that took place yesterday and killed eight people, including five children:
Pompeo absolves MBS from what's happening in Yemen. He says the "death in Yemen … is not because of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia"
— John Hudson (@John_Hudson) March 27, 2019
Thank you Congressman for speaking truth to power.
— Kate Kizer (@KateKizer) March 27, 2019
But Pompeo until today absolves MBS from what's happening in Yemen. He says the "death in Yemen … is not because of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia"
— Mohammed al-Kibsi (@MohammedalKibsi) March 27, 2019
Sec. Pompeo testifying today repeatedly absolves Saudi gov't & MBS from staggering civilian casualties in Yemen, says the "death in Yemen…is not because of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia" https://t.co/1t7CueY30k
— Peter Billerbeck (@PeterJBX) March 27, 2019
This is not the first time that Pompeo has knowingly made false statements to Congress. His outrageous certification last fall that the Saudi coalition was working to reduce harm to civilians was the most obvious example, but he has followed it up with numerous lies about Yemen and who is to blame for most of the loss of life and the humanitarian crisis there. We saw that on display earlier this month. It is not surprising that an enabler and accomplice to war criminals would cover for the criminals, but Pompeo’s brazen denialism is nonetheless remarkable. Pompeo’s statement is consistent with his usual shameless whitewashing of Saudi responsibility for war crimes and especially the crime of mass starvation. The reality is that the Saudi coalition’s airstrikes are responsible for most of the civilian deaths that have occurred in Yemen, and they bear the largest share of responsibility for creating the humanitarian crisis that threatens the lives of 15 million people. As the principal supporter of the Saudi coalition’s war effort, the U.S. shares in this responsibility, and that is probably why Pompeo is so determined to cover it up. The crown prince is the architect of the war, and attacking Yemen is his signature policy. No one can honestly deny Mohammed bin Salman’s responsibility and that of the Saudi government for their crimes in Yemen, but Pompeo is making a career out of doing just that.
Daniel Larison is a senior editor at The American Conservative, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and is a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Dallas. Follow him on Twitter. This article is reprinted from The American Conservative with permission.