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

Neocon Redux: Blame Iran, Back Israel

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Neocon Redux: Blame Iran, Back Israel

Jim Lobe, Right Web contributing writer

Israel’s military offensives in Gaza and Lebanon have reenergized neoconservatives who see an opportunity to regain influence lost as a result of setbacks in Iraq. While insisting on unconditional U.S. support for Israel, the neoconservatives are also pushing for U.S. attacks on Tehran’s nuclear facilities in retaliation for its support of Hezbollah. Read article.

Midterm Elections: Lieberman in the Hot Seat

Michael Flynn, Right Web program director

As the battles over the November mid-term elections heat up, few campaigns are receiving as much attention in the nation’s press and blogosphere as that of Sen. Joe Lieberman, the three-term Democrat from Connecticut who is facing a stiff challenge from upstart Democrat Ned Lamont. Lamont is a so-called Netroot candidate, one of a handful of election hopefuls whose blogger-driven campaigns are raising eyebrows of Democrats and Republicans alike. As Matthew Continetti of the neoconservative Weekly Standard put it recently, “What increasingly seems to be the case … is that one’s status as a member of the Democratic establishment is entirely dependent on how much attention one pays to the progressive bloggers.” He adds: “The furious assault against Lieberman … has little to do with Lieberman. Its real target is George W. Bush. Each of Lieberman’s alleged errors comes from siding with positions that the Bush administration also has taken. Since the Iraq war is the major project of the Bush administration, and since Lieberman supports that project, it stands to reason that the Iraq war would dominate the primary. For the progressive bloggers, the actual content of Lamont’s positions on the issues is mostly irrelevant. What is most relevant is his willingness to oppose Bush and conservatives in general.”

Harold Meyerson, editor-at-large for the left-leaning American Prospect, poses a different argument, writing in a recent op-ed for the Washington Post: “Lieberman’s ultimate problem isn’t fanatical bloggers, any more than Lyndon Johnson’s was crazy, antiwar Democrats. His problem is that Bush, and the war that both he and Bush have championed, is speeding the ongoing realignment of the Northeast. His problem, dear colleagues, is Connecticut.”

But Lieberman’s position on Iraq is not the only issue jeopardizing his reelection. He has consistently supported rightist foreign policy causes for over a decade, championing everything from discredited national missile defense systems to wider U.S. military intervention in the Middle East—most recently, in Iran. Also absent from much of the debate is Lieberman’s steady support for a long line of neoconservative-led advocacy campaigns; for example, he is serving as co-chair to the recently revived Committee on the Present Danger and as distinguished adviser to the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. His record raises an intriguing question: If Lieberman loses in November, will he resurface as a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute?

For more details, see the new Right Web Profile:

Bush’s “Favorite Democrat”
http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/3357

See also:

Right Web Profile: Committee on the Present Danger
http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/3301

Right Web Profile: Committee for the Liberation of Iraq
http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/1458

Right Web Profile: Foundation for the Defense of Democracies
http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/1475

Also new on Right Web

A Perfect Fit
Michael Doran, appointed Senior Director for Near East and North African Affairs in the National Security Council late last year, doesn’t fit the neoconservative profile. But his ideas about the Middle East certainly do.
http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/3358

Attack of the “Security Moms”
Family Security Matters, a group established by the hardline Center for Security Policy, features smiling soccer mom-types who argue the benefits of targeted assassination. The group is a case study in the modus operandi of right-wing advocacy efforts in the war on terror.
http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/3368

Letters & Comments

Re: Iran Policy Committee (May 22, 2006)
http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/3280

Your assessment of the Mujahedin e-Khalq (MEK) needs work. If someone like Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) supports them, saying simply that MEK supporters are “to the right” of the Bush administration isn’t adequate. The array of MEK supporters you list is complex and contradictory, as is the fact that you and David Horowitz seem to agree to an unusual degree—how often does that happen?

I am not a supporter of MEK. I do not know anything about their history or activities since the 1980s. But I do know that an anti-Shah Iranian exile co-worker of mine in 1979 went back to Iran to join what was then a left-wing “People’s Mujahideen,” only to turn up on the front page of an exile newspaper as one of the first victims executed by the Khomeini government in its murderous purge of thousands of leftists. At that time, that array of forces was seen as a potential source for a progressive outcome to the Iranian revolution. Maybe MEK is now a terrorist group and not a legitimate liberation movement—that is a question for analysis, not assertion.

It is not news that the hard right is willing to support terrorist groups for its ends. But surely it is a mistake to think that such support ipso facto makes them cat’s paws for the right—just ask Osama bin Laden. That too is a question for analysis, not assumption or assertion.

It would be useful to have an analysis from IRC of left-progressive dilemmas when faced with the problem of trying to oppose U.S. bellicosity and aggression, while at the same time being in solidarity with democratic and popular desires for change in countries whose repressive and reactionary governments also happen to be targeted by U.S. reactionaries for their own reasons.

—Chris Lowe

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