Rand Paul: Why I'll Fight Haspel, Pompeo Nominations

Authored by Rand Paul via The American Conservative,

Since President Trump took office, our country finally seems to be heading in the right direction. In just the past year, the American people have seen enormous tax cuts, more judges appointed who take the Constitution seriously, relief from the massive regulatory state, and an economy rapidly gaining strength and offering greater opportunities for those seeking to turn their dreams into reality.

But when it comes to our place on the world stage, we are at a crossroads. We can continue to build on our recent successes by reaffirming America’s role as a trusted, powerful nation guided by principle. Or we can throw it all away by allowing neocon interventionists to infiltrate our leadership and make America the purveyor of destruction.

For decades, we have failed to bring about real peace thanks to a foreign policy guided by the idea that war and intervention are the answers. “Blow up and rebuild” has been the battle cry of those determined to keep us perpetually in conflict.

It was the battle cry of Hillary Clinton, who supported military intervention in Iraq, Syria, and Libya. I supported President Trump during his campaign because he advocated for less military intervention. He opposed the Iraq War. He acknowledged that nation-building doesn’t work. He understood the damage previous foreign policy missteps have caused, including helping to strengthen ISIS.

I want to continue making America great again. That won’t happen if we give power-hungry neocons the reins to our nation’s foreign policy.

People already distrust the CIA. So why on earth has this administration picked someone to run the Agency who was instrumental in running a place where people were tortured and then covered it up afterwards?

Multiple undisputed accounts have detailed how Gina Haspel not only ran a CIA “black site” in Thailand but also destroyed video evidence of torture.

The retraction of one anecdote from a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter doesn’t absolve her of wrongdoing and certainly doesn’t negate the rest of the facts, which remain the same. Those actions alone should preclude her from ever running the CIA.

Unfortunately, Haspel is just one of many potential neoconservatives being considered to serve in our country’s top leadership roles.

The current CIA director and the president’s pick to become the next secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, has defended torture in the past.

Further, he’s been a stalwart defender of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) unconstitutional spying programs and has even written in support of expanding the information government can collect.

I could not support appointing him as CIA director in 2017, and for those same reasons, I will oppose his nomination to be our chief diplomat now.

Just as troublesome are recent news reports that John Bolton is being considered for a senior administration position. Just recently, Bolton advocated for a preemptive strike against North Korea. If he had his way, our nation would be embroiled in dozens of armed conflicts in every corner of the world.

I want to be clear. This issue is much bigger than a simple disagreement over policy - and far more consequential. These are dangerous appointments.

Allowing the failed foreign policies of the past to have a place in this administration, and sanctioning the infiltration of our government by those who eagerly await the next opportunity for war, not only says we don’t learn from our mistakes, it will result in a world with far more enemies than opportunities for stability and peace.

If we are to avoid a future that is war-torn and mired in endless conflicts, we must do better than appointing these flawed nominees. I find them unacceptable, and I won’t support them. I hope the president will reconsider, too.



takeaction Sun, 03/18/2018 - 19:17 Permalink

I Always stand with Rand...This is the most honest....."Do right for the people" guy.

Him and his dad are way too good for this country...

They care with all their hearts and think about you and I first...

Oldwood takeaction Sun, 03/18/2018 - 19:29 Permalink

How about we just get a consensus of what TORTURE is?

We are throwing this word around like it was "racist" or something.

We have millions of people in America TODAY that would testify that simply the election of Trump, or hearing him speak is unbearable torture. Others are running in fear from Trump's name written in chalk on the sidewalk.

I would submit that anything that is used on OUR troops as part of training exercizes, is NOT "torture" as has been the understanding for the last thousand years.

Now I fully understand they we are now "evolved" thanks mostly to the unending repetition and indoctrination of the progressives, but STILL, we should at least ATTEMPT to honor our words and their meanings a little, don't you think?

Many here have already had to accept the label of "racist". Is it too much to ask that we also at least timidly carry the banner of "torturer"?

In reply to by takeaction

malek Oldwood Sun, 03/18/2018 - 19:59 Permalink

Whew, I never expected you to be THAT full of shit.

anything that is used on OUR troops as part of training exercizes, is NOT "torture"

What an utter bullshit statement. Limited exercises? Used on all or just some of our troops?
And how does a limited exercise make it OK to use it limitless, on a person??
Do you personally volunteer to endure all those "non-torture treatments" once a week, for the rest of your life - because hey, it's not torture after all???

In reply to by Oldwood

philipat cheka Sun, 03/18/2018 - 21:04 Permalink

Torture is only something that enemies of the US do to its personnel? The US would never even think about surrendering the moral high ground and resorting to such tactics itself, especially in view of the Geneva Conventions which the US fully respects along with all other Treaties it has entered into and that Washington always fully respects International law?

Do I still need the /sarc?

In reply to by cheka

Oldwood philipat Sun, 03/18/2018 - 22:37 Permalink

Play ignorant if you wish but you know what I mean. Anything can be called torture and we know the definition of waterboarding as torture is relatively new. Political correctness is an effort to criminalize otherwise prior legal activities. If you can't see the slippery slope before you it aint my fault.

In reply to by philipat

Branded Oldwood Mon, 03/19/2018 - 02:04 Permalink

The Geneva Convention apparently has some ideas on this issue:

Part I
Article 1
For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.
This article is without prejudice to any international instrument or national legislation which does or may contain provisions of wider application.

In reply to by Oldwood

Oldwood malek Sun, 03/18/2018 - 22:46 Permalink

Was it used limitless? Would you be more comfortable with a FISA court judgement to create legal limitations? Because that is not what is said here. NO TORTURE, WHATEVER THE FUCK YOU THINK THAT IS. 

Soldiers voluntarily submit to these "tortures" because they feel it is for their own good...training. They also submit to being shot and killed if necessary. Are you going to outlaw that too? Why not just fix the whole damned thing and outlaw WAR? Try enforcing THAT without using violence!

If I was in a position to preserve what I believe in by submitting to waterboarding, then yes, I would volunteer. 

Please tell us of your willingness to sacrifice ANYTHING for ANYONE.

I forgot...this is fight club, but only if we can dodge the punch.

In reply to by malek

malek Oldwood Mon, 03/19/2018 - 15:00 Permalink

You have some serious soul-searching to do.

If I was in a position to preserve what I believe in by submitting to waterboarding

And very telling is that you easily see yourself as victim (even one accepting that status), but never as the perpetrator of evil.

The whole bullshittery around torture -by people like you- dances around made-up extreme outlier cases ("24" anyone?)

Tell you what
I have no problem with torture under the following strict rules:
- the person (perpetrator) puts his own livelihood at stake against the to-be-tortured person.
If the results from the torture lead to clearly identifiable crime-to-be-stopped (of the severe felony category), the torturer goes scot-free.
If however
- no crime can be identified OR
- a crime can be identified but not stopped (including if it already occurred) OR
- the crime(s) identified do not involve severe bodily harm
THEN the perpetrator gets hit with the full brunt of the law for Imprisonment, Torture, and Cruel and Unusual Punishment.

Otherwise you are demanding a cure that is worse than the disease.

But hey, try to find a US citizen with a still working moral compass!

In reply to by Oldwood

Shemp 4 Victory Oldwood Sun, 03/18/2018 - 20:21 Permalink


Those are HUMAN traits.

No. It simply sounds like a typical US citizen who want to extend the result of the Unique Experiment known as US Americanism (citizenism) to all humanity and make it human nature.

A conundrum for sure, but who cares?

US citizens want the comfort of their propaganda. The fact that the current state of the world is the result, not of human nature, but of US citizenism (the predominant ideology in the US world order), is not a comforting thought for people who can't face the negative consequences of their actions.

Most here speak from theory, of some belief in utopian values that have never existed on this earth beyond fairy tales.

Nothing theoretical here. Terrorism, torture, and wars of aggression are the actual 'American values' that the US propagates, forcibly if need be.

In reply to by Oldwood

Oldwood Shemp 4 Victory Sun, 03/18/2018 - 22:08 Permalink

You're right and I'm wrong. America invented torture especially this most viscious kind...waterboarding, and no other nation or people of the world have EVER done such a thing.

And lord knows that America invented aggression, wars or otherwise.

Maybe you should look at the changing borders of most of the planet over the last two hundred years. I'm not for wars and I'm not excusing ours, but it is a bit rich to suggest that this is somehow an American value, just because we have the power to do so when others might not. For YOU or anyone else to suggest that what you propose as an ideal is anything BUT fiction, is idiotic. War has been the history of this planet, long before any white faces appeared on the American continent. If the rest of the world is not pursuing aggression on its neighbors, it is likely only due to their American oppressors.

We should all work for peace and understanding, but to pretend you can just wish it into existence, over even use your own brand of death and oppression to achieve it, is just plain stupid.

And let's not beat about the bush here. Most people here wish violence on those they blame for war, just as those who perpetrate war NOW do. Peace is only achieved by restraint from the use of violence while making it perfectly clear that violence is always an option.

In reply to by Shemp 4 Victory

bh2 Oldwood Mon, 03/19/2018 - 01:26 Permalink

Violence isn't the problem. Humans are violent creatures, ever and always. Some more than others, some more often than others. That's why we have police. That's why we have the military.

As a matter of national policy, however, we should always shun initiating aggression against others. Doesn't matter what the cause, nor whether it affects only a few people or entire nations. It also does not demand passivism. If attacked, we should respond with nothing less than the will to prevail absolutely.

However, neocons always at war or promoting a new one are a cancer which should be cut out and discarded. To expend force is to consume power. Eventually, if you continue to expend force on useless "missions", a consequent steady lose of actual power has negative second-order effects on the society and its place in the world.

Even if you win, you lose.

In reply to by Oldwood

Abaco Oldwood Mon, 03/19/2018 - 09:51 Permalink

Let's not pretend that our involvement in armed conflict all over the world is defensive. Let's not pretend that haven't thwarted the the same democratic aspirations for others all across the globe that we proudly proclaim for ourselves.  Sure, the world can be a scary place and we play by the Marquis of Queensbury rules when our opponents do not. However, we cannot use their savagery to justify our own when it is us mucking about in their backyards.


In reply to by Oldwood

Baron von Bud Twatter Sun, 03/18/2018 - 19:50 Permalink

I think Trump is playing congress. These two nominees and the insane Bolton haven't got a prayer. But Trump was pressured to nominate these neocons to show brotherhood with the crazy faction of the Republican party (McCain et al). So he takes their super-crazies. On cue, Rand Paul denigrates them and gives congress a way out. If either of these nutters or John Bolton enter the cabinet/cia, then you know you been had.

In reply to by Twatter

Rubicon727 Baron von Bud Sun, 03/18/2018 - 20:42 Permalink

"I think Trump is playing congress. These two nominees and the insane Bolton haven't got a prayer."

Sure hope you're right, but the evidence points to Trump being bulldozed over by Zionists in D.C./Israel.

In fact, as things are taking shape, the Trump is starting to look and feel more like the hideous Cheney/Bush administration with its Zionists, torturers, and blatant lies about Iraq and 9/11.

In reply to by Baron von Bud

Oldwood KrazyUncle Sun, 03/18/2018 - 23:13 Permalink

There are some issues of which I agree, and his anti war stance is one of them. I simply disagree with much of this torture talk. 

I support the willingness and ability to defend one's self, individually or as a nation, and that does not mean I must carry a bullet in my body to have that excuse. Peace through strength, not capitulation.

And Trump wants pitbulls on a leash, not poodles requiring whips.

Just my thoughts.

In reply to by KrazyUncle

truthseeker47 Oldwood Mon, 03/19/2018 - 00:43 Permalink

We have had to "accept the label of racist"?  Oldwood you must be getting senile. I have never been a racist and nobody is about to talk me into it.  If you are a racist, shame on you.  But I hope you are not like some people I have met that seem to think only whites can be racists.  Black people are much more racist than whites, but they would never admit it.  Even Farrakhan would not admit it.

In reply to by Oldwood