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Jeffrey Prescott @jeffreyprescott
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THREAD: Something in Pompeo’s Iran speech today seemed oddly familiar. A country in the Middle East is accused of lying and cheating, harboring nuclear designs, and being active in regional aggression...…
... and we are told the U.S. should help the country’s long-oppressed people, and we lay out a long list of demands, promising to meet this adversary with “steely resolve” — and to go it alone if necessary.

Where have we heard this before?

Ah yes, on Iraq in 2002.
It is worth a re-read of Dick Cheney’s August 2002 speech to the VFW alongside Pompeo’s today.…
Cheney: We are, after all, dealing with the same dictator who … has been on the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism for the better part of two decades.

Pompeo: Iran continues to be, during the JCPOA, the world's largest sponsor of terror.
Cheney: Saddam has perfected the game of cheat and retreat, and is very skilled in the art of denial and deception.

Pompeo: Iran has lied for years about having had a nuclear weapons program… It is worth noting that even today, the regime continues to lie.
Cheney: Saddam Hussein could then be expected to seek domination of the entire Middle East, take control of a great portion of the world's energy supplies, directly threaten America's friends throughout the region, and subject the [U.S.] or any other nation to nuclear blackmail.
Pompeo: [T]he government spent its newfound treasure fueling proxy wars across the Middle East and lining the pockets of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Hizballah, Hamas, and the Houthis.
Cheney: What he wants is time and more time to husband his resources, to invest in his ongoing chemical and biological weapons programs, and to gain possession of nuclear arms.
Pompeo: After the countdown clock ran out on the deal’s sunset provisions, Iran would be free for a quick sprint to the bomb … Indeed, the very brevity of the delay in Iran’s nuclear program itself incentivized Middle Eastern proliferation.
Cheney: When the gravest of threats are eliminated, the freedom-loving peoples of the region will have a chance to promote the values that can bring lasting peace.
Pompeo: The Iranian people long to reclaim their country’s proud history, its culture, its civilization, and its cooperation with its neighbors.
Cheney: In the Middle East, where so many have known only poverty and oppression, terror and tyranny, we look to the day when people can live in freedom and dignity… With our help, a liberated Iraq can be a great nation once again.
Pompeo: It is America’s hope that our labors toward peace and security will bear fruit for the long-suffering people of Iran. We long to see them prosper and flourish as in past decades and, indeed, as never before.
What to make of these parallels? As late as 2016, Pompeo was explicit about his objectives on Iran, saying the U.S. “must act to change Iranian behavior, and, ultimately, the Iranian regime.”…
Pompeo did not go that far in his prepared remarks today. But in a brief Q and A following the speech he came close: “I can't put a timeline on it. But at the end of the day, the Iranian people will decide the timeline...
"At the end of the day, the Iranian people will get to make a choice about their leadership. If they make the decision quickly, that would be wonderful. If they choose not to do so, we will stay hard at this until we achieve the outcomes that I set forward today.”
I am confident more digging would identify other parallels between the Bush approach to Iraq in 2002 and Trump’s policy toward Iran today. In the event, the risks to our security — and of a new conflict in the Middle East — have been clear for some time.…
Cheney’s 2002 speech was, of course, explicit about regime change in Iraq. Even as he spoke, though, it was not yet clear the Bush approach would be military conflict. As Trump, Bolton, and Pompeo take us down a new path on Iran, we should ensure we don’t make the same mistake.
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