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

Defense Contractors Operating with Weak Oversight; Who’s Benefitting from the Georgia Crisis;

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FEATURED ARTICLE

Going Soft on the Contractors?
By Nick Schwellenbach

In prosecuting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the “war on terror,” the Bush administration has relied on a huge number of contractors to do everything from building barracks to serving meals to soldiers and performing other vital jobs in conflict zones. But the Pentagon agency charged with oversight of defense contracts has been stymied by a crippling combination of too much work, too little time—and too much deference toward contractors—resulting in what one senator called a “debacle and an embarrassment.” Read full story.

FEATURED PROFILES

Committee for the Liberation of Iraq
The short-lived committee, whose members were an influential cadre of hawkish Beltway think-tankers and politicians, closed up shop in 2003 after what it termed the “successful liberation of Iraq.”

Peter Rodman (1943-2008)
A Kissinger protégé who supported the Project for the New American Century and served as an assistant to ex-Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld, Rodman passed away in early August.

Jack Kemp
A member of the revived Committee on the Present Danger, the former Republican congressman and standout NFL quarterback has championed the “war on terror,” arguing that “radical Islamists have declared war on freedom, democracy, and modernity.”

ALSO NEW ON RIGHT WEB

Iran Could Benefit from Georgia Crisis
By Jim Lobe (Inter Press Service)

The U.S. invasion of Iraq has increased Iran’s political leverage in the Middle East, and the crisis in Georgia could further boost that clout. Read full story.

An End to Pax Americana?
By Jim Lobe (Inter Press Service)

The Russian invasion of Georgia seems to have marked a definitive end to the “unipolar moment”—as well as to Bush administration plans to impose its will on Eurasia. Read full story.

“Ally” Musharraf Facilitated Taliban
Analysis by Gareth Porter (Inter Press Service)

Pakistan’s willingness to help the United States in the “war on terror” was partly myth created by the Bush administration. Read full story.

Legal Battle Continues for Ex-Detainee
By William Fisher (Inter Press Service)

A Canadian citizen wrongly detained in the “war on terror” will get another day in court, but the Bush administration may invoke the state secrets privilege—a tactic it has used excessively, some say, to cover up embarrassing mistakes. Read full story.

LETTERS

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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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