The U.S. House of Representatives, after several months of hearing testimony on the potential abuse of executive power within the Trump administration, voted along party lines, with the Democratic majority succeeding in impeaching the President of the United States for just the 3rd time in the nation’s history.
Taking charge after Barack Obama, analysts wobbled this way or that on what sort of policy Donald Trump would implement. A complete lack of a voting record, combined with the “drain the swamp” rhetoric of his campaign in the run-up to his election, suggested to some that Trump would not preserve the Bush-Clinton status quo of ever-increasing government spending, revolving occupational doors in Washington and seemingly endless warfare.
However the early appointments into his cabinet suggested business as usual, with several key positions being given to neo-conservative politicians who fit right in among the Karl Rove and Dick Cheneys of yesteryear.
State went to Michael Pompeo, while several neo-cons have cycled through Secretary of Defense and National Security Advisor, each more hawkish than the last. Finally the Vice Presidency was given to Mike Pence, who would take over the presidency if Trump is removed.
Who is Mike Pence?
There’s an argument to be made that perhaps Trump’s campaign rhetoric about the wars in the Middle-East being a waste of time and money, many of which being based on lies, is something he truly believes. For example, he has so far succeeded in bringing the United States to the cusp of a peace agreement with the Taliban. However he has not accomplished anything particularly anti-interventionist yet.
Previous members of his cabinet holding national security positions have resigned or been fired based on disagreements with Trump regarding national security issues, the most recent being John Bolton resulting from diverging opinions on Iran.
Vice presidency is not as influential over foreign policy as Sec. of State or Defense for example, but the presidency is more powerful than all of them combined, and Mike Pence could very well find himself in that chair in the not too distant future.
Who is Mike Pence, and what is his stance on national security/forever wars?
How bloody these talons
National surveillance and Homeland Security
In 2002 Mike Pence voted yes to the establishment of the Homeland Security Department and all budget growth appropriations thenceforth until present day. He also voted yes for the creation of the PATRIOT Act, and every reauthorization and extension thenceforth until the present day.
In 2012, Mike Pence voted nay on a bill that “prohibits the Armed Forces of the United States from detaining individuals captured or arrested in the United States without trial, or from transferring such individuals to military custody,” AKA as “Repeals Indefinite Military Detention Provisions”.
As Vice-president, in 2016 Mike Pence signed into law a bill that limits legal public access to body-cam footage of police.
Bush’s Wars – Iraq and Afghanistan
In 2002, Mike Pence co-sponsored the AUMF (authorization for the use of military force) in Iraq – a war fought entirely based on lies about alleged-ownership of WMDs by the Hussein dictatorship, and perhaps a measure of revenge for being unable to crush the Islamic Revolution in Iran decades earlier.
Two years later, Pence cosponsored another piece of legislation that gave the army and the presidency a great big pat on the back for disposing of the Hussein regime and liberating Iraq – a country still torn by strife and war to this day. On Thanksgiving 2019, President Trump snuck into Iraq to surprise the troops there, leaving a few hours later before anyone learned of his visit, citing “security concerns”.
In 2006, Pence voted yes on the “Global War on Terror Act” reaffirming America’s commitment to her fallen sons and daughters as well to the mission to create a sovereign, free, united, and secure Iraq.
Pence has never voted for an end to either the Afghanistan or Iraq wars, including legislation that would increase military funding in order to do so. He also voted nay on legislation to remove American troops from Pakistan.
Obama’s Wars – Libya and Syria
He also voted nay on a bill that would limit the involvement of US forces in Libya to 1 year.
Pence was not in Congressional office for many of the most significant pieces of legislation relating to Syria.
Military funding and budgetary expansion
Mike Pence’s record of voting yea or nay on budgets is a mixed bag, but direct increases in defense spending and R&D are always supported by the former-congressmen/governor from Indiana.
In 2010 and 2011, bills to hack $420 million away from the congressional budget – held for the purpose of acquiring new and additional planes for the army and navy, as well as another $500 million for R&D on F-35 propulsion systems. Mike Pence voted nay on both.
Finally, Pence voted to prohibit the dismantling or decommissioning of any nuclear weapons until the President of the United States can confirm Russia is making similar movements.
It may have been unclear what manner of president Donald Trump would be, but it’s painstakingly obvious, based on voting record, what America should expect from her possible future leader in the short time he might have before elections – unending war and defense spending increases.
Andrew Corbley is founder and editor of World at Large, an independent news outlet. He is a loyal listener of Antiwar radio and of the Scott Horton Show. Reprinted with permission from World at Large.