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

The Failed Shiite Gambit; Plus: the American Foreign Policy Council, James Woolsey, and Ahmed Chalab

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FEATURED ARTICLE

Haunting Mistakes in Iraq
By Gareth Porter | February 12, 2007

Despite Shiite death squads operating freely in Baghdad, the Bush administration refused to admit that there was a problem in Iraq with Shiite violence. Why? Because supporting the Shiites was U.S. policy. Read full story.

NEW RIGHT WEB PROFILES

American Foreign Policy Council
One of many hawkish Washington-based think tanks, the AFPC is today a leading member of the get-Iran lobby.

Ahmed Chalabi
The neocons’ favorite Iraqi exile, Chalabi has been accused of colluding with Iranian operatives, oversaw a failed bank in Jordan, and is a thorn in the side of U.S. efforts to reform the badly designed de-Baathification policy put in place by former U.S. proconsul in Iraq Paul Bremer.

James Woolsey
Woolsey is a man of many faces—champion of World War IV, former CIA director, business exec, government consultant, corporate lawyer, and high-profile proponent of the neoconservative agenda.

Sam Brownback
The Republican presidential hopeful, a key supporter of the Christian Right agenda in the Senate, has supported a host of bills attacking Iran and broadening the war on terror.

ALSO NEW THIS WEEK ON RIGHT WEB

The Mideast Opinion Gap
By Jim Lobe | February 12, 2007

A new poll shows that most Arabs fail to see Iran as an enemy—a notion that undermines U.S. hopes of forming a Sunni Arab alliance. Read full story.

ODDS & ENDS

Faith in Feith?

Appearing on FoxNews this past Sunday, Doug Feith, the controversial former undersecretary of defense who oversaw efforts to channel intel about Iraq and then stepped down at the end of President George W. Bush’s first term, took a shot at rewriting history. "Nobody in my office ever said there was an operational relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida," Feith told Fox’s Chris Wallace.

But as Laura Rozen pointed out in her War and Piece blog, it was an October 2003 memo from Feith—conveniently leaked to the conservative Weekly Standard—that helped establish the erroneous Iraq-Qaida connection. The Standard wrote at the time: "Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein had an operational relationship from the early 1990s to 2003 that involved training in explosives and weapons of mass destruction, logistical support for terrorist attacks, al-Qaida training camps and safe haven in Iraq, and Iraqi financial support for al-Qaida—perhaps even for Mohamed Atta—according to a top secret U.S. government memorandum obtained by the Weekly Standard. The memo, dated October 27, 2003, was sent from Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith to Senators Pat Roberts and Jay Rockefeller, the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee."

Commenting on Feith’s apparent memory loss, Larry C. Johnson, a former State Department and CIA counterterrorism official, told the Los Angeles Times: "It’s an abject lie, and it completely ignores what is in the documented public record. I think the problem is across the board that we have convenient memory loss. No one wants to go back and hold people accountable to what they were doing."

Defending Friends

The Wall Street Journal‘s neoconservative-dominated editorial page published a lengthy editorial this week lambasting the media-generated publicity surrounding a new American Enterprise Institute (AEI) initiative on global warming that reportedly involves paying scientists $10,000 to produce papers questioning the conclusions of the UN-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Pointing to a series of articles about the AEI program published in the British press early this month, including in the respected left-of-center Guardian and Independent, the Journal argued that "it would be easy to dismiss all this propaganda from British tabloids, except that last week the ‘news’ crossed the Atlantic where more respectable media outlets, including the Washington Post, are reporting the story in what has become all too typical pack fashion."

According to the Guardian story, AEI sent letters to scientists arguing that the UN panel was "resistant to reasonable criticism and dissent and prone to summary conclusions that are poorly supported by the analytical work" and asked for papers that "thoughtfully explore the limitations of climate model outputs" as part of an "independent review" of the IPCC’s work. The Guardian highlighted AEI’s connections to the oil industry, reporting that the think tank "has received more than $1.6m from ExxonMobil and more than 20 of its staff have worked as consultants to the Bush administration. Lee Raymond, a former head of ExxonMobil, is the vice-chairman of AEI’s board of trustees."

All the hand-wringing is much ado about nothing, according to the Journal. It quoted AEI President Chris DeMuth, who said: "What the Guardian essentially characterized as a bribe is the conventional practice of AEI—and Brookings, Harvard, and the University of Manchester—to pay individuals" commissions for their work.

LETTERS

Re: Douglas Feith

Doug Feith can deny anything he wants, but he knows the truth in his heart … Karma Doug? I hope your children won’t end up paying for your manipulation of the truth that allowed this failed commander-in-chief to invade Iraq.

— Michelle Meyer

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From the Wires

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Other than the cynical political interests in Moscow and Tehran, there is no conceivable rationale for wanting Bashar al-Assad to stay in power. But the simple fact is, he has won the war. And while Donald Trump has reveled in positive press coverage of the recent attacks on the country, it is clear that they were little more than a symbolic act.


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An effective rhetorical tool to normalize military build-ups is to characterize spending increases “modernization.”


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The Pentagon has officially announced that that “long war” against terrorism is drawing to a close — even as many counterinsurgency conflicts  rage across the Greater Middle East — and a new long war has begun, a permanent campaign to contain China and Russia in Eurasia.


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Revelations that data-consulting firm Cambridge Analytica used ill-gotten personal information from Facebook for the Trump campaign masks the more scandalous reality that the company is firmly ensconced in the U.S. military-industrial complex. It should come as no surprise then that the scandal has been linked to Erik Prince, co-founder of Blackwater.


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As the United States enters the second spring of the Trump era, it’s creeping ever closer to more war. McMaster and Mattis may have written the National Defense Strategy that over-hyped the threats on this planet, but Bolton and Pompeo will have the opportunity to address these inflated threats in the worst way possible: by force of arms.


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We meet Donald Trump in the media every hour of every day, which blots out much of the rest of the world and much of what’s meaningful in it.  Such largely unexamined, never-ending coverage of his doings represents a triumph of the first order both for him and for an American cult of personality.


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