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

The WaPo Hawks

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Many commentators have noticed a decidedly hawkish bent among the columnists of the Washington Post in recent years. Although the Post continues to publish a number of progressive writers—like the Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel and the American Prospect's Harold Meyerson—the newspaper's hiring in 2010 of neoconservative ideologue Jennifer Rubin and torture-apologist Marc Thiessen appeared to mark a decisive turn toward an aggressively hawkish outlook for one of the country's premier sources of opinion and political commentary, leading some to question the editorial direction of editorial page chief Fred Hiatt.

It is important that a newspaper provide space to a broad spectrum of opinions in order to be "fair and balanced." The trouble is, even before Rubin and Thiessen were brought on board, the Post had a stable of reliable—and generally more thoughtful—neocons like Charles Krauthammer and Robert Kagan. The rationale provided for the recent hires also raised questions. For instance, in announcing Rubin's hire, the Post said that she would serve as a counterpart to liberal Greg Sargent’s “Plum Line." But as one writer observed, that explanation revealed a great deal "about the way that 'balance' is understood in the mainstream media. Sargent certainly leans liberal, but he is also a very good reporter who breaks stories and is willing to criticize the Democrats; Rubin, by contrast, has no real experience as a reporter … and has never met a Republican or Likud talking point she didn’t like."

In this, the inaugural edition of Right Web's "Militarist Monitor" project—which aims to put a spotlight on important trends in militarist discourse in the United States—we feature profiles of WaPo's key hawks and neoconservatives, as well as an assortment of additional resources for investigating the newspaper’s long march to the militarist right since the attacks of 9/11 and the campaign to push the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Will Iran be next? As one well known conservative blogger wrote nearly two years ago, “The way in which the WaPo has been coopted by the neocon right, especially in its editorial pages, is getting more and more disturbing.”

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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.”


Michael Flynn, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general, has spurred criticism for his hawkish critiques of the Obama administration’s foreign policy, with some saying his comments are out of line for a former military leader.


Donald Trump, the billionaire real estate mogul and 2016 GOP presidential candidate, is known for racist and reactionary rhetoric, in addition to his ignorance about nuclear weapons strategy, Middle East conflicts, and the value of allies.


Former Rep. Vin Weber (R-MN) is a “superlobbyist” who has supported a number of pro-war advocacy campaigns over the years, including those spearheaded by the Project for the New American Century.


The bingo magnate and notorious backer of Jewish settlements in Palestinian territories, Irving Moskowitz has also funded the campaigns of rightwing U.S. politicians like Florida Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.


Former Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) was among the most strident Israel boosters and foreign policy hawks in Congress.


James Woolsey, a former CIA director who views the “war on terror” as the “Long War,” is chairman of the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies.


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From the Wires

From all outward appearances, AIPAC’s fundraising arm effectively pocketed the boost in fundraising revenue it enjoyed during the heated battle over the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.


The Israeli prime minister’s tells imaginary tales at the UN about meetings with Palestinians.


The unrelenting urge among American politicians to keep punishing Iran continues to work against sensible statecraft and U.S. interests.


The new U.S. aid deal for Israel is the largest military aid package to any country in the history of U.S. security assistance, providing Israel $38 billion over ten years starting in 2019.


Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), a hardline Iran hawk who consistently opposes diplomatic efforts to constrain Iran’s nuclear program, had a change of heart when it came to seeking the release of Americans held in Iran.


Within days of the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration announced a “war on terror,” which included launching an air war in numerous hotspots across the globe. Almost 15 years have passed and that air war is still ongoing.


In a recent speech Hillary Clinton made American exceptionalism a major theme. She chose that theme in part because it would enable her to criticize Donald Trump, who has said he doesn’t like the term.


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