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Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Bush’s Two-Man Song and Dance; Plus, Profile on John Yoo, Devon Gaffney Cross, Pete Wilson and

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Bush’s Two-Man Song and Dance
By Ali Gharib

Last week David Petraeus and Ryan Crocker were trotted out before Congress and television talk shows to give a progress report on “the surge.” They defended the high troop levels as necessary if things go well—and if they don’t. What Petraeus and Crocker—as well as any of the like-minded war supporters in and out of the administration—failed to do was clearly define U.S. goals in Iraq, which makes sense because Washington has consistently failed to accomplish any of its goals since the war began. Clearly, solutions to fixing the mess in Iraq are not to be found in the hands of those who made it.
Read full story.


John Yoo
The recent release of his Justice Department “torture” memos has placed a harsh spotlight on this American Enterprise Institute scholar who worked under former Attorney General John Ashcroft.

Devon Gaffney Cross
A one-time member of the Defense Policy Board, Cross works for groups that promote a positive image of U.S. foreign policies abroad and, like her brother Frank Gaffney, is an associate of many neoconservative advocacy outfits.

Pete Wilson
Known for his strident anti-immigration stance, Pete Wilson has served on two influential advisory boards to the Bush administration—the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and the Defense Policy Board.


Rethinking Unconditional Commitment in Iraq
By Jim Lobe

Even if the United States makes progress in Iraq, it might not be worth the high price, according to a new U.S. Institute of Peace report. Read full story.

Islam’s Positive Influence
By John Feffer

Central Asia has been viewed as potential flashpoint for the “war on terror” because of its supposed instability and militant Islamic groups, but scholars say that reputation is unwarranted and that the region’s Islamic revival is having a positive effect. Read full story.

With Friends Like These
By William Fisher

A respected Middle Eastern human rights organization reports that some two dozen Arab countries systematically abuse civil rights. Most of the countries are U.S. allies in the “war on terror.” Read full story.


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Featured Profiles

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), President Trump’s nominee for secretary of state to replace Rex Tillerson, is a “tea party” Republican who previously served as director of the CIA.

Richard Goldberg is a senior adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who served as a foreign policy aide to former Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL).

Reuel Marc Gerecht, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, has been advocating regime change in Iran since even before 9/11.

John Hannah, Dick Cheney’s national security adviser, is now a leading advocate for regime change in both Iran and Syria based at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Dennis Ross, a U.S. diplomat who served in the Obama administration, is a fellow at the “pro-Israel” Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Sheldon Adelson is a wealthy casino magnate known for his large, influential political contributions, his efforts to impact U.S. foreign policy discourse particularly among Republicans, and his ownership and ideological direction of media outlets.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is known for his hawkish views on foreign policy and close ties to prominent neoconservatives.

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From the Wires

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North Korea and Iran both understand the lesson of Libya: Muammar Qaddafi, a horrifyingly brutal dictator, gave up his nuclear weapons, was eventually ousted from power with large-scale US assistance, and was killed. However, while Iran has a long and bitter history with the United States, North Korea’s outlook is shaped by its near-total destruction by forces led by the United States in the Korean War.

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Europe loathes having to choose between Tehran and Washington, and thus it will spare no efforts to avoid the choice. It might therefore opt for a middle road, trying to please both parties by persuading Trump to retain the accord and Iran to limit missile ballistic programs and regional activities.

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Key members of Trump’s cabinet should recognize the realism behind encouraging a Saudi- and Iranian-backed regional security agreement because the success of such an agreement would not only serve long-term U.S. interests, it could also have a positive impact on numerous conflicts in the Middle East.

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Given that Israel failed to defeat Hezbollah in its war in Lebanon in 2006, it’s difficult to imagine Israel succeeding in a war against both Hezbollah and its newfound regional network of Shiite allies. And at the same time not only is Hezbollah’s missile arsenal a lot larger and more dangerous than it was in 2006, but it has also gained vast experience alongside its allies in offensive operations against IS and similar groups.

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Donald Trump should never be excused of responsibility for tearing down the respect for truth, but a foundation for his flagrant falsifying is the fact that many people would rather be entertained, no matter how false is the source of their entertainment, than to confront truth that is boring or unsatisfying or that requires effort to understand.

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It would be a welcome change in twenty-first-century America if the reckless decision to throw yet more unbelievable sums of money at a Pentagon already vastly overfunded sparked a serious discussion about America’s hyper-militarized foreign policy.

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President Trump and his advisers ought to ask themselves whether it is in the U.S. interest to run the risk of Iranian withdrawal from the nuclear agreement. Seen from the other side of the Atlantic, running that risk looks dumb.