Op-Ed

What have we become? Pompeo, Pence comments are reasons to look in the mirror

CIA Director Mike Pompeo, left, listened as Vice President Mike Pence spoke in January. Pompeo recently said his agency aims to get “more vicious.” Pence praised the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo, left, listened as Vice President Mike Pence spoke in January. Pompeo recently said his agency aims to get “more vicious.” Pence praised the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Associated Press

Who are we as a nation? What have we become?

The answer to those questions should scare the hell out of us. Evidently, we’ve become an absolutely brutal, soulless people — frightening beyond belief.

This time I’m not referring to our “leaders’” moronic denial of climate chaos that menaces the lives and futures of our children, grandchildren and the entire planet. I’m referring instead our status as a blatantly terrorist nation that on religious principle (in North Korea) casually threatens to wipe more than 25 million people off the map in a single instant.

Three recent revelations evoke my alarm.

One was a statement on Oct. 26 by Mike Pompeo, the director of the CIA. The second was issued the next day by Vice President Mike Pence. The third came the same week with the release of the 50-year-old Kennedy Assassination papers that put flesh on both statements, making them mind-numbingly terrifying.

Consider Pompeo and the assassination revelations first.

At a forum convoked by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Pompeo — who has proudly supported torture, and who heads an agency that has sponsored coups, assassinations and omnipresent black-hole prisons — declared that the CIA has to become “a much more vicious agency.”

Those were his exact words. And shockingly, they represent acknowledgment on Pompeo’s part that the CIA has always been vicious. According to Webster, Pompeo’s term means “dangerously aggressive.” Its synonyms are: brutal, ferocious, savage, violent, dangerous, ruthless, remorseless, merciless, heartless, callous, cruel, harsh, cold-blooded, inhuman, fierce, barbarous, barbaric, brutish, bloodthirsty, fiendish, sadistic, monstrous, murderous and homicidal.

As descriptors of an extremely prominent agency of the U.S. government, those adjectives could apply to our entire D.C. apparatus, couldn’t they? They could describe us. Is that what we want to be in the world?

And just how vicious has the CIA been? It’s here that the assassination disclosures come in.

They clearly show that from its birth in 1947, the CIA has been a full-fledged terrorist organization that could hardly be more vicious. In fact, because of its reach and resources, it clearly surpasses the vice of any terrorist group or crime syndicate in the world — including ISIS.

The papers show that in the past the agency has stood ready to kill indiscriminately by sinking ships, setting off bombs, using chemical weapons, and murdering heads of state as its routine modus operandi — all the while covering its tracks and leaving clues that implicate designated enemies like Russia and Cuba.

If the CIA stood ready to engage in such mass “false flag” atrocities 50 years ago, and if now Pompeo wants its cadres to step it up, where do you think they will set their limits? Will they fly airplanes into tall buildings? Will they assassinate presidents? Have they?

In other words, Pompeo’s assertions and the assassination papers lend credence to conspiracy theories of all kinds. Fact is the CIA is a conspiracy factory.

That there are no limits to the brutality housed in Langley, the White House or in American souls was made clear by a statement by Pence.

This self-proclaimed man of God — who had previously identified himself as “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order” — recently disclosed the true object of his faith. It’s nuclear weapons.

Speaking at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, Pence declared “. . . there’s no greater force for peace in the world than the United States nuclear arsenal.”

What have we become as a people? What have Christians become?

On both counts, we have not only lost direction. Bloodthirsty, brutal, fiendish and monstrous — we have lost our souls.

And remember, those adjectives represent the boastful, carefully chosen sentiments of the leaders we have somehow allowed to represent us.

God help us!

Reach Mike Rivage-Seul, retired Berea College professor, at Mike_Rivage-Seul @berea.edu.

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