Not that the conflict in Syria is one of the greatest ideas any American administration has had when it comes to fighting overseas, but calling Mike Pompeo’s testimony in a confirmation hearing for Secretary of State “bragging” is laying on the modifiers a little thick. Really, what he did was confirm that Russian born fighters who were technically mercenaries were killed during an American airstrike.
Mike Pompeo, currently still serving as director of the CIA, offered this confirmation in response to questions from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the U.S. relationship with Russia.
“This administration announced a nuclear posture review that has put Russia on notice that we are gonna recapitalize our deterrent force,” Pompeo began.
“In Syria, now, a handful of weeks ago the Russian met their match and a couple hundred Russians were killed,” he added.
Pompeo was referring to an incident in February where the U.S.-led coalition struck pro-government forces in Deir ez-Zor. Not long after, reports emerged that the barrage of strikes also resulted in the deaths of Russian personnel. At first, the Russian Defense Ministry released a statement denying there were any Russian military personnel in the area.
The way Pompeo arranged his words was not the best, and the thought of Syria being the site of a proxy war between the United States and Russia is quite unpopular out on the fruited plain, but there was nothing untruthful about his words. How this rises to the level of bragging is not exactly clear.
The reality is that just about anything Pompeo has to say is going to be parsed six ways to Sunday by the swamp and the mainstream media. He is not a never-Trumper. He is a loyal military man who gets the job done, not unlike the high brass, both active and retired, that President Trump has surrounded himself with. Talking about killing mercenaries in straight terms may be jarring, but it is nowhere near bragging.