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

In Bed with the Generals; Profiles on Fred Kagan, Institute for Study of War, Blackwater, and more

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“The Surge of Ideas”

By Michael Flynn

In recent years, there has been a growing tendency for think tanks and military brass to jointly pursue policy objectives, some of which are opposed by the public or the White House—take, for example, the campaigns to build support for the troop “surges” in both Iraq and Afghanistan. This trend, say critics, raises important questions about the appropriate role of the military in promoting particular policies and whether there is enough transparency and accountability in the work of policy groups. Should military brass be more circumspect in how they influence public debates? At what point do “non-partisan” wonks cease being non-partisan? And, just as importantly, will there be a new joint campaign aimed at pressuring the Obama administration to delay troop withdrawal from Afghanistan? Read full article.




Institute for the Study of War
Although it calls itself a “non-partisan” think tank, ISW has repeatedly demonstrated its partisan preferences for longer and bigger wars.

Michael O’Hanlon
O’Hanlon, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, has a knack for getting invited on military-sponsored tours of war zones and then promoting the views of the generals in op-eds for major newspapers.

Frederick Kagan
In a recently published book, Kagan, a neoconservative writer at the American Enterprise Institute, argues that the United States must remain committed to fighting “Long Wars” in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Blackwater (Xe)
The controversial U.S. security contractor, Xe Services—formerly Blackwater—was recently put up for sale by it’s founder, Erik Prince.

Norman Augustine
A former Lockheed Martin CEO and board member at the Center for a New American Security, Augustine recently led a defense acquisitions task force organized by Business Executives for National Security, a group that aims to help government do national security “faster,” “better,” and “cheaper.”




Bad News from Afghanistan
Senior military officials are conceding privately that their much-touted counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan is not working out as planned despite the “surge” of some 20,000 additional U.S. troops over the past six months.  

Neo-Conservatives Lead Charge against Turkey 
A familiar clutch of neo-conservative hawks is going on the offensive against who they see as the Gaza flotilla’s chief defender, Turkey.

AFGHANISTAN: Shades of Iraq in 2006? 
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, head of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, confronts the specter of a collapse of U.S. political support for the war in Afghanistan in coming months comparable to the one that occurred in the Iraq War in late 2006.

Draft U.N. Treaty Targets Security Firms in War Zones 
A UN working group is leading efforts to draft a new global treaty aimed at reining in human rights abuses committed by private security firms employed in war zones.

The Trillion-Dollar Question 
The Obama administration wants to cut several outdated defense items not so that it can balance the budget or expand healthcare, but in order to boost the war effort in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

Doubts Grow Over Israel’s Value as U.S. Ally 
Doubts about Israel’s value to the United States have recently been expressed by a diverse group of people, including the head of Israel’s foreign-intelligence agency, the Mossad, and leading centrist analysts in Washington.

“Israel Lobby” Mobilizes, Threatens 
The U.S. “Israel Lobby” has pulled out all the stops in its efforts to defend Israel’s attack on the Palestine aid flotilla.



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Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) has been an outspoken proponent of militarist U.S. foreign polices and the use of torture, aping the views of her father, Dick Cheney.

United against Nuclear Iran is a pressure group that attacks companies doing business in Iran and disseminates alarmist reports about the country’s nuclear program.

John Bolton, senior fellow at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute and the controversial former ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, has been considered for a variety of positions in the Trump administration, including most recently as national security adviser.

Gina Haspel is a CIA officer who was nominated to head the agency by President Donald Trump in March 2018. She first came to prominence because of accusations that she oversaw the torture of prisoners and later destroyed video evidence of that torture.

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.

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