Rep. Ilhan Omar Would Just Like To Know Which Massacre Elliott Abrams Is Proudest Of
If there is a lesson for 2019, it is that sometimes the rules change mid-game. So if you ever wore blackface to a party, or jerked off into a planter in front of someone who didn't consent, or trafficked in anti-Semitic slurs, or aided and abetted a whole slew of human-rights abusers in Latin America, then took a plea in the Iran-Contra affair and got pardoned by George H.W. Bush -- there may be a price to pay. Conservatives like to call this PC CULTURE RUN AMOK! Because ... they would. We call it ABOUT DAMN TIME, and if you get caught on the wrong side, well ... so sorry for your bad luck.
Yesterday's exchange between freshman Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and Special Envoy to Venezuela Elliott Abrams was peak 2019. Omar is facing a firestorm of criticism for tweets that draw on anti-Semitic tropes to imply that American politicians only support Israel because AIPAC bribes them with contributions. Which is both offensive and lazy -- anyone who has seen Christian tour groups baptizing themselves in the mud puddle that is the "River" Jordan can tell you that the Evangelical Israel boner has more to do with the Book of Revelation than AIPAC's checkbook. (Catch you in that Lake of Fire, (((my peeps!))))
For his part, Abrams has enough checkers in his past to cover a picnic table. As a rabid anti-Communist in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush years, Abrams never met a Latin American dictator he didn't love. Reagan's zeal to overthrow the "communist" Sandinistas in Nicaragua required him to park thousands of troops next door in Honduras -- which in turn required him to prop up the Honduran government with US aid dollars and ignore massive human rights abuses by that country's army. As Reagan's Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs (and IRONY!), Abrams supported the Honduras policy and also vouched for the human rights record of Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt, who was later convicted of genocide for trying to wipe out an indigenous Mayan tribe.
In 1981, the Salvadoran army massacred more than 800 civilians, but Abrams testified to Congress that reports of the massacre were FAKE NEWS, saying, "it appears to be an incident that is at least being significantly misused, at the very best, by the guerrillas." He later defended America's record in El Salvador as a "fabulous achievement." So there's that.
To top it all off, Abrams was embroiled in the Iran-Contra affair to illegally fund the anti-Sandinista rebels in Nicaragua, personally lobbying representatives of the Sultan of Brunei for $10 million in cash to prop up the cause. And he would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for those meddlesome youngsters at the National Security Council, where Ollie North fat-fingered the wire and sent the money to the wrong Swiss bank account. Womp womp!
Abrams escaped indictment by copping to two misdemeanors, and was then pardoned by George H. W. Bush and hired to senior advisory positions on the NSC by his son Dubya. Because NOTHING MATTERS if you're a Republican. Well nothing except criticizing Trump, which Abrams did in 2016, keeping him out of the White House for two years. But it looks like the Trump HR department ran out of applicants, so HOORAY AMERICA, IT IS YOUR LUCKY DAY. Elliott Abrams is back as our Special Envoy to Venezuela, and he's ready to fuck shit up in Latin America like the old days. Because everything old is new again -- which is also extremely on brand for 2019!
And that brings us to yesterday, where an embattled Ilhan Omar confronted a recycled Abrams in the House Foreign Affairs Committee. It went GREAT.
'It Was An Attack!': Omar And Abrams Share Heated Exchange | NBC News www.youtube.com
OMAR: Mr. Adams (sic), in 1991, you pleaded guilty to two counts of withholding information from Congress regarding your involvement in the Iran-Contra affair, for which you were later pardoned by President George H.W. Bush. I fail to understand why members of this committee or the American people should find any testimony that you give today to be truthful.
ABRAMS: If I could respond to that --
OMAR: It wasn't a question.
ABRAMS: It was an attack. And I would --
OMAR: That was not a question, and I reserve the right to my time.
ABRAMS: It is not right that this committee is permitted to attack a witness who is not permitted to reply.
WONKETTE: Oh, boo fucking hoo.
OMAR: On February 8, 1982, you testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about US Policy in El Salvador. In that hearing, you dismissed as communist propaganda a report about the massacre of El Mozote of which more than 800 civilians, including children as young as two years old, were brutally murdered by U.S.-trained troops. During that massacre, some of those troops bragged about raping a 12-year-old girl, girls before they killed them. You later said that the U.S. policy in El Salvador was a 'fabulous achievement.' Yes or no, do you still think so?
ABRAMS: From the day that President Duarte was elected in a free election, to this day, El Salvador has been a democracy. That's a fabulous achievement.
Then Abrams, who clearly didn't like being questioned by a brown lady who didn't know her place, turned to the Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Elliott Engel -- a white dude, PTL! -- and said he just wasn't going to answer any more rude questions that weren't even questions at all.
OMAR: Whether under your watch a genocide will take place, and you will look the other way, because American interests were being upheld is a fair question. The American people want to know that, any time we engage a country, that we think about what our actions could be and how we believe our values are being furthered. That is my question. Will you make sure that human rights are not violated and that we uphold international and human rights?
ABRAMS: I suppose there is a question in there, and the answer is, the entire thrust of American policy in Venezuela is to support the Venezuelan people's right to democracy. That's our policy.
He then went on to pinky swear that protecting people against genocide is "always the position of the United States." Which is ... not really how that went down under Abrams's watch last time. So, yeah, fuck that guy.
What we are saying here -- what I, Your FDF, the Hebrew in the Wonkhouse am saying here -- is that I really, really hope Ilhan Omar can knock it off it already with the glib anti-Jewish shit. Because she is standing up for human rights in American foreign policy in a way that is desperately needed right now. And we hope she can become the signal, and not the noise.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.