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

10 Years Later: Any Regrets?

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Project for the New American Century
The Project for the New American Century, a letterhead group closely associated with the American Enterprise Institute, served as the cornerstone of a neoconservative-led campaign to promote the 2003 invasion of Iraq, helping unite key figures from various ideological factions behind the cause. By 2006, as the United States became increasingly bogged down in a bloody counterinsurgency war in Iraq, the group phased out most operations. Its various directors and supporters, however, remain active today, particularly in the effort to push for war against Iran.

John Yoo
John Yoo, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and professor at the University of California-Berkeley, is a former Justice Department official who helped author the Bush administration's infamous “torture memos." Yoo has continued to defend the Bush administration's more controversial policies, speciously arguing on the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq that unless the war's critics are willing to restore the Baath Party to power in Iraq, they must concede "that on balance, the benefits of the war outweigh the costs." Yoo has also defended the Obama administration's targeted assassination program, including targeting U.S. citizens.

Richard Perle
A fierce advocate of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq while an adviser to the Bush administration, Richard Perle later expressed misgivings about some aspects of the war, arguing that the Iraqis would likely not have handled the postwar situation "as badly as we did. We sent thousands of Americans over there to run a country they knew nothing about." Regarding the decision to invade, however, Perle states: "You can’t, a decade later, go back and say, 'Well we shouldn’t have done that.'"

Paul Wolfowitz
Veteran Middle East hawk Paul Wolfowitz—a key architect of the Iraq War—continues to support the decision to topple Saddam Hussein. In a recent interview with the Sunday Times, Wolfowitz said that although the Bush administration had certainly made errors in Iraq, “we still don’t know how all this is all going to end,” offering South Korea as an example of a country that eventually democratized decades after a U.S.-led intervention.

John Bolton
Former UN ambassador John Bolton, a vocal advocate of unilateral U.S. military intervention, is unapologetic about the U.S. war in Iraq, even by the standards of most neoconservatives. While dismissing those critical of the humanitarian impact of the war as admirers of "totalitarianism," Bolton brushed aside the notion that the war was at all about "making life better for Iraqis." Invoking a war in which the United States was actually attacked, Bolton declared, "we didn't wage war after Pearl Harbor to do nation-building for our enemies."

Michael Goldfarb
Michael Goldfarb, a former researcher at the Project for the New American Century, is a neoconservative pundit, activist, and consultant who has proven adept at funneling anonymous Republican donations into high-profile advocacy efforts. Sensationalistic reports published by the Washington Free Beacon—a conservative blog of Goldfarb's Center for American Freedom—have cemented his reputation as a self-styled provocateur with little regard for the facts.

Philanthropy Roundtable
The Philanthropy Roundtable is a research and advocacy group that helps right-wing donors channel money to an assortment of philanthropic and political causes. The group, which has had numerous connections to neoconservative foundations and advocacy groups over the years, recently attracted notice for its role in helping bankroll efforts to fight environmental regulations.

Washington Free Beacon
The Washington Free Beacon is a news and commentary site published by the right-wing Center for American Freedom. Modeling itself after liberal blogs like Think Progress, the Beacon has developed a reputation for personal attacks and sensationalistic headlines, often hyping neoconservative narratives. The Beacon's "tabloid-style" coverage led one columnist to lambast the site as "a down-market version of the Weekly Standard."

From the Wires

Hawks Defend War on Low-Key 10th Anniversary of Iraq Invasion
Most of the U.S. media and foreign policy commentariat opted to overlook the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq—save for the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute, which held a low-key event devoted to celebrating the so-called "surge" in 2007.

Ten Years After Iraq War, Neo-Cons Struggle to Hold Republicans
Neoconservatives and like-minded militarists continue to hold sway over the Republican Party's foreign policy establishment 10 years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, but they face a growing insurrection from libertarian deficit hawks.

Letters

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I can remember a few years back, when even you yourselves were cautious and trepidacious about taking on the Right Wing. They were everywhere and seemed unstoppable. But now, almost everyone sees that you were on the right (not Right) path. This is one of the most important sources on the web. Keep up your good work. It's not over.

Rabbi David Ellis

Halifax

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Featured Profiles

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts and two-time failed presidential candidate, is a foreign policy hawk with neoconservative leanings who appears set to become the next senator from Utah.


Vin Weber, a former Republican congressman and longtime “superlobbyist” who has supported numerous neoconservative advocacy campaigns, has become embroiled in the special prosecutor’s investigation into the Donald Trump campaign’s potential collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.


Jon Lerner is a conservative political strategist and top adviser to US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. He was a key figure in the “Never Trump” Campaign, which appears to have led to his being ousted as Vice President Mike Pence’s national security adviser.


Pamela Geller is a controversial anti-Islam activist who has founded several “hate groups” and likes to repeat debunked myths, including about the alleged existence of “no-go” Muslim zones in Europe.


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.”


Although overlooked by President Trump for cabinet post, Gingrich has tried to shape affairs in the administration, including by conspiring with government officials to “purge the State Department of staffers they viewed as insufficiently loyal” to the president.


Former Sen Mark Kirk (R-IL) is an advisor for United Against Nuclear Iran. He is an outspoken advocate for aggressive action against Iran and a fierce defender of right-wing Israeli policies.


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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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The reality is that the Assad regime is winning the Syrian civil war, and this matters far less to U.S. interests than it does to that regime or its allies in Russia and Iran, who see Syria as their strongest and most consistent entrée into the Arab world. Those incontrovertible facts undermine any notion of using U.S. military force as leverage to gain a better deal for the Syrian people.


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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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