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

Torture Redux

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FEATURED ARTICLE

Enhanced Embellishment Techniques

By Peter Certo

A number of conservatives and security hawks have used the death of Osama bin Laden as a prop in their public relations war on behalf of torture. Despite evidence to the contrary, these pundits and “experts”—led by a passel of former Bush administration officials—allege that without “enhanced interrogation techniques” bin Laden would still be living and that Barack Obama’s efforts to stop the use of torture have endangered the United States. But their claims have amounted to little more than an embellishment of the historical record and a distortion of the real impact of torture on U.S. policy and security. Read article.


MILITARIST MONITOR

This week on “Militarist Monitor,” Right web explores the efforts of various torture apologists who have come out of the wood work since the killing of Osama bin Laden. Militarist Monitor.


FEATURED PROFILES

Donald Rumsfeld

Largely quiet since his untimely resignation from the Bush administration, Rumsfeld has reemerged of late to defend his track record, as well as the decision to torture terror suspects.

Rick Santorum

Former Senator Santorum, a 2012 Republican Party presidential candidate, has attempted to burnish his leadership credentials by promoting the value of torture and attacking President Obama for, among other things, not calling Jihadism “evil.”

Freedom House

Although no longer as closely associated with neoconservative activism as it was during much of the last few decades, Freedom House continues to support campaigns aligned with hawkish factions in U.S. politics.

John Yoo

Yoo, the former deputy assistant attorney general who is known for his extreme views on executive wartime powers and for helping author the infamous “torture memos,” is one of many former Bush figures who has cited the death of Osama bin Laden as vindication of their support for “enhance interrogation techniques.”


ALSO NEW ON RIGHT WEB

Debate Rages over U.S. Withdrawal

With the war in Afghanistan showing little signs of progress, the debate on Capitol Hill is shifting ever so slightly toward a faster withdrawal.

Pakistan: U.S. Development Aid v. Military Intervention

Aid to Pakistan is under threat from both Congress and the public, but it would be smarter to reform the U.S. package than end it.

Rifts Appear as Syrian Opposition Struggles to Maintain Momentum

The Syrian opposition remains unsure of the way forward in the wake of brutal state oppression, but events like the murdering of 13-year-old Hamzah Ali Alkhateeb will ensure that the struggle will not end soon.

U.S. Uses Peace Talks to Divide Taliban from Pakistan

U.S. hints at peace talks with the Taliban are designed to isolate the group from its Pakistani patron—but as long as western troops occupy Afghanistan, negotiations are unlikely.

US Veto Could Derail Palestine as New U.N. Member State

The United States, in the face of global opposition, looks likely to veto a possible UN resolution recognizing Palestine as an independent country.


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Featured Profiles

Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is one of the Senate’s more vocal hawks, and one of the prime vacillators among Republicans between objecting to and supporting Donald Trump.


Ron Dermer is the Israeli ambassador to the United States and has deep connections to the Republican Party and the neoconservative movement.


The Washington-based American Enterprise Institute is a rightist think tank with a broad mandate covering a range of foreign and domestic policy issues that is known for its strong connections to neoconservatism and overseas debacles like the Iraq War.


Max Boot, neoconservative military historian at the Council on Foreign Relations, on Trump and Russia: “At every turn Trump is undercutting the ‘get tough on Russia’ message because he just can’t help himself, he just loves Putin too much.”


Since taking office Donald Trump has revealed an erratic and extremely hawkish approach to U.S. foreign affairs, which has been marked by controversial actions like dropping out of the Iran nuclear agreement that have raised tensions across much of the world and threatened relations with key allies.


Mike Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas and an evangelical pastor, is a far-right pundit known for his hawkish policies and opposition to an Israeli peace deal with the Palestinians.


Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is known for her lock-step support for Israel and considered by some to be a future presidential candidate.


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From the Wires

The Trumpian new regional order in the Middle East is predicated on strongman rule, disregard for human rights, Sunni primacy over Iran and other Shia centers of power, continued military support for pro-American warring parties regardless of the unlawfulness of such wars, and Israeli hegemony.


A comparison of U.S. nuclear diplomacy with Iran and the current version with North Korea puts the former in a good light and makes the latter look disappointing. Those with an interest in curbing the dangers of proliferating nuclear weapons should hope that the North Korea picture will improve with time. But whether it does or not, the process has put into perspective how badly mistaken was the Trump administration’s trashing of the Iran nuclear agreement.


Numerous high profile Trump administration officials maintain close ties with anti-Muslim conspiracy theorists. In today’s America, disparaging Islam is acceptable in ways that disparaging other religions is not. Given the continuing well-funded campaigns by the Islamophobes and continuing support from their enablers in the Trump administration, starting with the president himself, it seems unlikely that this trend will be reversed any time soon.


The Trump administration’s nuclear proliferation policy is now in meltdown, one which no threat of “steely resolve”—in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s words—will easily contain. It is hemorrhaging in part because the administration has yet to forge a strategy that consistently and credibly signals a feasible bottom line that includes living with—rather than destroying—regimes it despises or fears. Political leaders on both sides of the aisle must call for a new model that has some reasonable hope of restraining America’s foes and bringing security to its Middle East allies.


Congressional midterm elections are just months away and another presidential election already looms. Who will be the political leader with the courage and presence of mind to declare: “Enough! Stop this madness!” Man or woman, straight or gay, black, brown, or white, that person will deserve the nation’s gratitude and the support of the electorate. Until that occurs, however, the American penchant for war will stretch on toward infinity.


To bolster the president’s arguments for cutting back immigration, the administration recently released a fear-mongering report about future terrorist threats. Among the potential threats: a Sudanese national who, in 2016, “pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to ISIS”; an Uzbek who “posted a threat on an Uzbek-language website to kill President Obama in an act of martyrdom on behalf of ISIS”; a Syrian who, in a plea agreement, “admitted that he knew a member of ISIS and that while in Syria he participated in a battle against the Syrian regime, including shooting at others, in coordination with Al Nusrah,” an al-Qaeda offshoot.


The recent appointment of purveyors of anti-Muslim rhetoric to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom exposes the cynical approach Republicans have taken in promoting religious freedom.


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