Right Web

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

Whither Torture; Fred Thompson; Misinterpreting the Militias in Iraq; and More

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Condoning Torture?
By Abra Pollock

Recent media reports about secret government attempts to justify possible torture techniques have thrown a spotlight on the nomination of the next U.S. attorney general. The revelations have also energized rights advocates, who hope to eliminate torture from the repertoire of weapons used in the Bush administration’s "war on terror." Read full story.


Right Web Profile: John Yoo

A visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and author of the infamous "torture memos," Yoo once purportedly argued that the legality of torturing a child, including by crushing his testicles, depends on "why the president thinks he needs to do that."


Sen. Jon Kyl
Kyl, a dependable Republican supporter of the Bush administration’s "war on terror," is one of the Senate’s most vocal backers of aggressive action with Iran.

Fred Thompson
Thompson, the well-known actor and former AEI fellow, made his debut as a presidential candidate in early October, highlighting in his first campaign debate his get-tough creds on the Iraq War in arguing that the country must not "leave with our tail between our legs" in the face of Islamic fascism in the Middle East.

Mark Gerson
The author of a 1996 hagiography of neoconservatism, Mark Gerson,CEO of the Gerson Lehrman Group consulting firm, is a director of the largely defunct Project for the New American Century.

Family Security Matters
Targeting so-called security moms, the right-wing group Family Security Matters portrays its radical ideas about the "war on terror" as merely a nonpartisan effort to provide Americans with tools to defend themselves against terrorism.


Soft Partition or Hard Politics?
By Khody Akhavi

Would a senate proposal to decentralize Iraq along ethnic and religious lines create a stable federal system, or lead to violent balkanization? Read full story.

Misinterpreting the Militias
By Gareth Porter

Iran may be the "enemy" of the moment in U.S. discourse regarding the Iraq War, but it is Shiite cleric Moqtada al Sadr’s Mahdi Army that is proving to be the main source of difficulties. Read full story.


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Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), President Trump’s nominee for secretary of state to replace Rex Tillerson, is a “tea party” Republican who previously served as director of the CIA.

Richard Goldberg is a senior adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who served as a foreign policy aide to former Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL).

Reuel Marc Gerecht, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, has been advocating regime change in Iran since even before 9/11.

John Hannah, Dick Cheney’s national security adviser, is now a leading advocate for regime change in both Iran and Syria based at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Dennis Ross, a U.S. diplomat who served in the Obama administration, is a fellow at the “pro-Israel” Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Sheldon Adelson is a wealthy casino magnate known for his large, influential political contributions, his efforts to impact U.S. foreign policy discourse particularly among Republicans, and his ownership and ideological direction of media outlets.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is known for his hawkish views on foreign policy and close ties to prominent neoconservatives.

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From the Wires

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North Korea and Iran both understand the lesson of Libya: Muammar Qaddafi, a horrifyingly brutal dictator, gave up his nuclear weapons, was eventually ousted from power with large-scale US assistance, and was killed. However, while Iran has a long and bitter history with the United States, North Korea’s outlook is shaped by its near-total destruction by forces led by the United States in the Korean War.

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Europe loathes having to choose between Tehran and Washington, and thus it will spare no efforts to avoid the choice. It might therefore opt for a middle road, trying to please both parties by persuading Trump to retain the accord and Iran to limit missile ballistic programs and regional activities.

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Key members of Trump’s cabinet should recognize the realism behind encouraging a Saudi- and Iranian-backed regional security agreement because the success of such an agreement would not only serve long-term U.S. interests, it could also have a positive impact on numerous conflicts in the Middle East.

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Given that Israel failed to defeat Hezbollah in its war in Lebanon in 2006, it’s difficult to imagine Israel succeeding in a war against both Hezbollah and its newfound regional network of Shiite allies. And at the same time not only is Hezbollah’s missile arsenal a lot larger and more dangerous than it was in 2006, but it has also gained vast experience alongside its allies in offensive operations against IS and similar groups.

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Donald Trump should never be excused of responsibility for tearing down the respect for truth, but a foundation for his flagrant falsifying is the fact that many people would rather be entertained, no matter how false is the source of their entertainment, than to confront truth that is boring or unsatisfying or that requires effort to understand.

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It would be a welcome change in twenty-first-century America if the reckless decision to throw yet more unbelievable sums of money at a Pentagon already vastly overfunded sparked a serious discussion about America’s hyper-militarized foreign policy.

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President Trump and his advisers ought to ask themselves whether it is in the U.S. interest to run the risk of Iranian withdrawal from the nuclear agreement. Seen from the other side of the Atlantic, running that risk looks dumb.