Tense exchange between Ilhan Omar and Venezuela envoy Elliott Abrams over his support for US-backed coups in the 80s.— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 13, 2019
"I fail to understand why members of this committee of the American people should find any testimony that you give today to be truthful." pic.twitter.com/BeprHzPkfy
In my humble opinion, if someone's history involves covering up a massacre (El Mozote in El Salvador), supporting a dictator later convicted of genocide (Rios-Montt, in Guatemala) and withholding evidence in Iran-Contra (where the Reagan Administration sought to extralegally arm the Contras in Nicaragua), maybe that person's diplomatic expertise should very well be questioned.
This is very different to how "old hands" in the foreign policy business have often been treated, and Abrams' response to Omar shows it. And there have been no small number of supporters of Abrams who know him from CFR or other associations who somehow don't think that there's something about being tangentially connected with atrocities in countries (whose people still try to seek asylum here due to the very long-term destabilization that shitty diplomatic policies exacerbated) that might, even a little, let's say, be disqualifying.
Well, no. If his work in these areas had really bad outcomes that were appalling for human rights and involved mass graves, maybe whether he's otherwise a decent and well-educated chap who pays his bar tab and scintillates at social gatherings is not really germane here. Maybe it takes an outsider to the Washington culture who appreciates the import of bad diplomacy, mass killing, and population displacement, to say the thing that ought to be said.
There's reason to believe Abram's judgement with respects to Venezuela might be already influenced by past information. I'm no fan of Maduro, who looks to me to be a thief. I just believe that a hand less bloodied should be involved in a region where the people have already suffered so much privation. In any event, he was only subjected to a harsh question--and that should not be considered out of bounds. It is what should happen, because our diplomats abroad should be answerable to the people they represent and report honestly and deal faithfully.