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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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FEATURED ARTICLE

“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.

 

FEATURED PROFILES

 

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.”

 

ALSO NEW ON RIGHT WEB

 

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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Featured Profiles

Although sometimes characterized as a Republican “maverick” for his bipartisan forays into domestic policy, Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is one of the Senate’s more vocal hawks.


Former CIA director Michael Hayden, a stalwart advocate of the Bush-era policies on torture and warrantless wiretapping, has been a vocal critic of Donald Trump


The former GOP presidential candidate and Speaker of the House has been a vociferous proponent of the idea that the America faces an existential threat from “Islamofascists.”


David Albright is the founder of the Institute for Science and International Security, a non-proliferation think tank whose influential analyses of nuclear proliferation issues in the Middle East have been the source of intense disagreement and debate.


A right-wing Christian and governor of Kansas, Brownback previously served in the U.S. Senate, where he gained a reputation as a leading social conservative as well as an outspoken “pro-Israel” hawk on U.S. Middle East policy.


Steve Forbes, head of the Forbes magazine empire, is an active supporter of a number of militarist policy organizations that have pushed for aggressive U.S. foreign policies.


Stephen Hadley, an Iraq War hawk and former national security adviser to President George W. Bush, now chairs the U.S. Institute for Peace.


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