If President Donald Trump grants a State Department position to Elliott Abrams, "neocons will scurry in by the hundreds," according to Sen. Rand Paul.
"Neoconservative interventionists have had us at perpetual war for 25 years," Paul wrote in Rare Tuesday. "While President Trump has repeatedly stated his belief that the Iraq War was a mistake, the neocons (all of them Never-Trumpers) continue to maintain that the Iraq and Libyan Wars were brilliant ideas. These are the same people who think we must blow up half the Middle East, then rebuild it and police it for decades.
"They're wrong and they should not be given a voice in this administration."
Trump is set to meet with Abrams on Tuesday, to find if he would be a suitable deputy for recently confirmed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Abrams was a former assistant secretary of state during President Ronald Reagan's administration. In 1991, during the Iran-contra affair, he was convicted of a misdemeanor for withholding information from Congress. President George H.W. Bush later granted him a pardon.
"His conviction for deceiving Congress over secret arms deals, better known as the Iran-Contra scandal, show that his neocon agenda trumps his fidelity to the rule of law. The Constitution directs Congress to approve or disapprove of war. It would be a mistake to appoint anyone to the State Department who was previously convicted for defying Congressional authority," Paul wrote.
Paul also points to Abrams' support of former Guatemalan dictator Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt, who will stand retrial soon for acts of genocide carried out under his leadership between 1982 and 1983 in the Mayan Highlands. He was convicted in 2013, and sentenced to 80 years in prison for his connection with the killings of 1,771 people, but it was overturned on a technicality, according to The New York Times.
"Abrams also supervised, covered up and defended a policy of arming a Guatemalan government undeniably waging war against an indigenous native population. Thousands of the indigenous people of the Ixil region of Guatemala were exterminated. The Guatemalan President was eventually convicted of war crimes. Abrams was an unabashed supporter and organizer of sending arms into this tragic situation" Paul wrote.
"In a country of 300 million people, surely there are reasonable foreign policy experts who have not been convicted of deceiving Congress and actually share the president's foreign policy views," he concludes. "I hope Secretary Rex Tillerson will continue the search for expert assistance from experienced, non-convicted diplomats who understand the mistakes of the past and the challenges ahead."
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