Pompeo's excuses for Iranian assassination sound eerily familiar


Pompeo's claim of an 'imminent threat' from Iran and his statement that the assassination gives Iranians 'freedom' is very similar to the Bush administration's justification for the Iraq War.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's public rationale for the U.S. attack on an Iranian general has striking similarities to the justification former President George W. Bush's administration made for the Iraq War.

On CNN Friday morning, Pompeo claimed that Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani was plotting an "imminent" attack on Americans, and that the United States successful mission to kill Soleimani "saved American lives."

Pompeo went on to say that he saw "dancing in the streets" in Iraq from Iraqis celebrating Soleimani's murder, adding that, "We have every expectation that people not only in Iraq, but in Iran, will view the American action last night as giving them freedom."

Pompeo's comments are eerily similar to the comments Bush administration officials, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, made to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.

First, the Bush administration claimed Iraq had "weapons of mass destruction" that put people in danger, a claim that turned out not to be true.

Then, Cheney, as well as others, in the Bush administration said that the people of Iraq would celebrate the American invasion.

"My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators," Cheney said on NBC in March 2003, days before the United States invaded.

Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleisher, who has continued to defend the invasion of Iraq years later, made similar comments immediately after the invasion in March 2003.

"Once the Iraqi people see that Saddam Hussein and those around him will be removed from power, they will welcome freedom, they will be a liberated people," Fleischer said at a White House press briefing at the time — a tradition Trump has ended.

Of course, the people of Iraq did not greet American troops as liberators.

Instead, the United States spent years fighting in the country, leading to the death of roughly 5,000 troops, according to the Washington Post.

Pompeo has so far refused to elaborate on the details of the threat he claimed provoked the action in Iran. Yet Pompeo's rationalizing comments are giving many deja vu.

"The Foreverwar Industrial Complex will keep singing from the same worn sheet music so long as wars cost them nothing but the deaths of other people's loved ones, funded by bottomless borrowing against the future to avoid paying for their wars by canceling rich people tax breaks," former government ethics official Walter Shaub tweeted.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.