The “Immiment Threat”: Voices in Mike Pence’s Head?

A sentence buried far down in a Wall Street Journal article is getting a lot of attention.

Mr. Trump, after the strike, told associates he was under pressure to deal with Gen. Soleimani from GOP senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate.

The New York Times reported something similar this week, stating that Trump had said in a phone call that “he had been pressured to take a harder line on Iran by some Republican senators whose support he needs now more than ever amid an impeachment battle.”

If this reporting is true, it’s hard to overstate how explosive it would be that the president of the United States nearly started a war in order to appease a handful of Republican senators before impeachment arrives in the Senate.

Well, yes, it would, wouldn’t it? David Kurtz at TPM:

We don’t have to delve too deeply into whether key GOP senators were in fact pressuring Trump on Soleimani (or whether “deal with” meant target him with a drone strike). The point is this is how this president thinks, ignorant of U.S. national interests, fixated on his own personal dramas, veering from impulse to reaction and back again even in the gravest matters.
The irony is almost too obvious to point out: In order to stave off an impeachment conviction for putting his own personal interests above the national interest, Trump once again put his own interests above the national interest.

John Cassidy at The New Yorker:

The picture we are getting is of the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and Vice-President Mike Pence both egging on an impetuous President to launch the January 2nd drone attack that killed the Iranian military commander Qassem Suleimani at Baghdad International Airport. None of Trump’s other senior political or military advisers, meanwhile, appear to have urged restraint, despite the near-certainty that the move would inflame the entire Middle East and provoke reprisals. Any deliberative policymaking process appears to have been replaced by a combination of belligerence, toadyism, and saluting the Commander-in-Chief….

… Pompeo and Pence “were two of the most hawkish voices arguing for a response to Iranian aggression, according to administration officials,” the Times reported, a couple of days after Suleimani’s death. “Mr. Pence’s office helped run herd on meetings and conference calls held by officials in the run-up to the strike.”

Pence is emerging as a five-alarm hawk. Along with his ridiculous claim that Soleimani was linked to the September 11 attacks, Pence also has said that the administration didn’t share its intelligence with Congress because Congress couldn’t be trusted with it.

In another wrinkle to the story, the Washington Post is reporting that the administration also attempted to assassinate an Iranian official in Yemen, but failed.

On the day the U.S. military killed a top Iranian commander in Baghdad, U.S. forces carried out another top secret mission against a senior Iranian military official in Yemen, according to U.S. officials.

The strike targeting Abdul Reza Shahlai, a financier and key commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force who has been active in Yemen, did not result in his death, according to four U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

It’s hard to know what that attempt signifies, because American operations in Yemen are behind a veil of secrecy. It might mean that the administration was trying to damage the leader of the Quds force.

Defense and State Department officials said the strike against Soleimani saved “dozens” if not “hundreds” of American lives under imminent threat. The strike against Shahlai potentially complicates that argument.

“This suggests a mission with a longer planning horizon and a larger objective, and it really does call into question why there was an attempt to explain this publicly on the basis of an imminent threat,” said Suzanne Maloney, an Iran scholar at the Brookings Institution.

Trying to make sense of Trump’s foreign policy is a fool’s errand, I say.

In other news, Nancy Pelosi is signaling she is sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate next week.

7 thoughts on “The “Immiment Threat”: Voices in Mike Pence’s Head?

  1. Pompeo  is quite the failure.  In this part of the country it would be so nice to have one politician on the rise that could outshine he continues to fail.  He got on PBS news trying to hit the moral high road tonight on the plight of the Muslims in China.  It was comedy at it's highest level.  Pompeo is one sold out Republican, with the moral fiber of a rabid cobra.  He is smart though, but I would doubt if he knows how to spell the sect.  It may be disputed.  I, a spelling moron, had to look it up.  Uigers or Uygurs I find when I Bing that up.  That's Google that up to some.  

    Pompeo is quite unpopular with senior US state department officials.  They are not going to launch his political career.  As Charles Koch leans Libertarian, and Rand Paul rails against Trump's recent Mideast policy, Pompeo may be out on quite a political limb.  Good he tries to put the focus on the plight of the Uygurs or however you spell it.  He needs all the phony diversions he can get right now.  He may have learned this trick when he in Trump's butt  on a French kissing session with Lindsey Graham.  Who is to say.  He is not a dummy.  He is not even a minor  moral voice either.  

  2. Assassination of a foreign general without Congressional consultation and consent is an impeachable offense. Pelosi should add that to the charges, along with Mueller's 10 counts of obstruction of justice.

  3. Its telling that while Pence and Pompeo specifically, and others, are lauded for their piousness and "faith" they routinely lie their asses off without any apparent concern of how their lying squares with that faith.  Their brand of "christianity" is nothing more than white supremacy tribalism, and lying in defense of it is no "sin" .

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  4. Another day cursed by times which are way too interesting.  The official line of the Iraq government changed from denial to admission of shooting down the airliner.  At least this is one victory for truth and reality.  The horror of war acts quickly made casualties out of innocents, and are they not always at risk of being the biggest victims of war or war actions.  You can't blame the surface to air missile, if bogus NRA logic was imposed,  but the availability of powerful weapons to edgy soldiers does makes the occurrences of powerful mistakes a certain unintended consequences.  It would be good if we could tell ourselves honestly that Trump and Pompeo know this fact.  

    An article in Spiegel outlined the US -Iran conflict well and provided insight from what can be considered a more objective perspective.  Pompeo is mentioned in a way that makes his judgement highly suspect, using the phrase Christian Ayatollah as a descriptor. 

    In March 2018, Trump fired Tillerson, with National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster leaving his post that same month. Both were replaced by hawks who preferred a hardline stance on Iran. Tillerson was replaced by Mike Pompeo — who had railed against the nuclear deal as a congressman and, later, as CIA director, had established close ties with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Pompeo is a deeply religious man, with some officials seeing him as a kind of Christian Ayatollah. In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network in March 2019, the secretary of state said he considered it possible that God had sent Trump to protect Israel from the Iranian threat. "I am confident that the Lord is at work here," he said.

    Voices in his head, that fit this thinking pattern, are consistent with the Christian Ayatollah label.  Oh dear.

    The article with Markus Becker and many other authors is quite well researched and enlightening in many other ways.  The link follows.

    https://www.spiegel.de/international/a-dangerous-new-era-in-the-middle-east-a-a31c24dc-24db-4aaa-9e72-cacfcc0490c0

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