Pence Is A Shameless Warmonger

In March of 2003, then-Congressman Mike Pence stood on the House floor and gave a speech intended to convince his colleagues to vote for a resolution, which he co-sponsored, that would send the U.S. to war with Iraq. He ended it by saying that the U.S. and an international coalition would “lead Iraq into a new dawn of civilization.” Nearly 15 years later, we know just how wrong he was. And based on his recent national security decisions, we know he hasn’t learned from his mistakes.

In August, Pence and national security adviser H.R. McMaster, successfully pushed for a troop escalation in Afghanistan. Still, it remains as unclear as ever how thousands of Americans on the ground will lead to victory in a place where that concept is so difficult to define. More likely, the escalation is a way to save face, delay the admission of defeat and make a little cash for the administration’s friends in the defense industry.

Pence has a habit of pushing for military confrontation.

Despite the isolationist tone President Trump struck during the presidential campaign, Pence seems eager to escalate the war in Syria, where he’s called forthe U.S. to “use military force to strike military targets of the Assad regime.” When talking about North Korea, he uses the same saber-rattling bluster that comes out of Pyongyang. In the Baltics, he’s courting confrontation with Russia. And during a trip to Latin America, just days after Trump suggested a possible military intervention in Venezuela, Pence refused to rule it out.

Even with nations that are ostensibly U.S. partners, such as Pakistan, Pence can’t help but create conflict. “We’re putting them on notice,” he said in August 2017, doubling down on a warning Trump gave Islamabad. As some experts have pointed out though, pressuring Pakistan could drive it further away from the U.S., during much more harm than good.

Pence shamelessly exploits religious groups to justify his warmongering

Meanwhile, on Israel, Pence moved the White House into uncharted territory in July by speaking to the group Christians United for Israel and framing the administration’s support in religious terms. The upshot of this unprecedented endorsement is that the U.S. could have a much harder time claiming to be an “honest broker” in the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. And that’s not a conflict that needs any more muddying.

But even a decade and a half later, the best illustration of why Pence should be kept far away from foreign policy and national defense decisions is his handling of the Iraq war. Pence’s promise to usher in a “a new dawn of freedom from oppression and torture,” has instead created a country that leads all others in terrorism. His public statements at the time, which include connecting Iraq to al Qaeda and claiming Saddam Hussein was a threat to Americans, display a remarkable misreading of the circumstances in Iraq. He also showed a disconcerting willingness to twist the facts to get what he wanted: war. The U.S. already has a president who will lie to get his way, it does not need the next one to do the same.