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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

Update was slow, but still no lag in the editor window, and footnotes are intact.     This has been updated – Bernard Lewis, who passed away in May 2018, was a renowned British-American historian of Islam and the Middle East. A former British intelligence officer, Foreign Office staffer, and Princeton University professor, Lewis was…


Bernard Lewis was a renowned historian of Islam and the Middle East who stirred controversy with his often chauvinistic attitude towards the Muslim world and his associations with high-profile neoconservatives and foreign policy hawks.


John Bolton, the controversial former U.S. ambassador to the UN and dyed-in the-wool foreign policy hawk, is President Trump’s National Security Adviser McMaster, reflecting a sharp move to the hawkish extreme by the administration.


Michael Joyce, who passed away in 2006, was once described by neoconservative guru Irving Kristol as the “godfather of modern philanthropy.”


Mike Pompeo, the Trump administration’s second secretary of state, is a long time foreign policy hawk and has led the public charge for an aggressive policy toward Iran.


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.”


Michael Flynn is a former Trump administration National Security Advisor who was forced to step down only weeks on the job because of his controversial contacts with Russian officials before Trump took office.


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From the Wires

Trump is not the problem. Think of him instead as a summons to address the real problem, which in a nation ostensibly of, by, and for the people is the collective responsibility of the people themselves. For Americans to shirk that responsibility further will almost surely pave the way for more Trumps — or someone worse — to come.


The United Nations has once again turn into a battleground between the United States and Iran, which are experiencing one of the darkest moments in their bilateral relations.


In many ways, Donald Trump’s bellicosity, his militarism, his hectoring cant about American exceptionalism and national greatness, his bullying of allies—all of it makes him not an opponent of neoconservatism but its apotheosis. Trump is a logical culmination of the Bush era as consolidated by Obama.


For the past few decades the vast majority of private security companies like Blackwater and DynCorp operating internationally have come from a relatively small number of countries: the United States, Great Britain and other European countries, and Russia. But that seeming monopoly is opening up to new players, like DeWe Group, China Security and Protection Group, and Huaxin Zhongan Group. What they all have in common is that they are from China.


The Trump administration’s massive sales of tanks, helicopters, and fighter aircraft are indeed a grim wonder of the modern world and never receive the attention they truly deserve. However, a potentially deadlier aspect of the U.S. weapons trade receives even less attention than the sale of big-ticket items: the export of firearms, ammunition, and related equipment.


Soon after a Saudi-led coalition strike on a bus killed 40 children on August 9, a CENTCOM spokesperson stated to Vox, “We may never know if the munition [used] was one that the U.S. sold to them.”


The West has dominated the post-war narrative with its doctrine of liberal values, arguing that not only were they right in themselves but that economic success itself depended on their application. Two developments have challenged those claims. The first was the West’s own betrayal of its principles: on too many occasions the self interest of the powerful, and disdain for the victims of collateral damage, has showed through. The second dates from more recently: the growth of Chinese capitalism owes nothing to a democratic system of government, let alone liberal values.


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