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

Embedding the Analysts: Modern-Day Propaganda?; Plus, Profile on Paul Vallely, Steve Forbes, Bret St

FEATURED ARTICLE

Embedding the Analysts: Modern-Day Propaganda?
By Bill Berkowitz

An investigative exposé by the New York Times has revealed part of the Pentagon’s “information dominance” apparatus, through which it manipulated perceptions about the conflict in Iraq. Throughout the Iraq War, the Bush administration gave private briefings to selected military retirees, who then made public appearances as independent military experts. The brains behind this program belong to former Pentagon public affairs officer Victoria Clarke, who now works for one of the same TV networks that had been hoodwinked by her program. Read full story.

FEATURED PROFILES

Paul Vallely
A right-wing radio talk show host and retired general who supports a number of militarist policy groups, Vallely is also one of nearly 75 retired military men who were given Pentagon talking points before making media appearances as supposedly independent analysts.

Steve Forbes
Steve Forbes, the former “flat tax” presidential candidate, heads the Forbes publishing empire and supports the work of a number of militarist policy groups, including the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

Bret Stephens
A rising media star who oversees the Wall Street Journal’s foreign policy editorials, Stephens argues that people who criticize the influence of the “Israel lobby” contribute to growing antisemitism.

Charles Kupperman
A defense industry executive and missile defense proponent, Kupperman is associated with a number militarist think tanks and policy forums.

ALSO NEW ON RIGHT WEB

Feith’s Unsurprising Revelations
By Gareth Porter

A new memoir by neoconservative Douglas Feith, the controversial former undersecretary of defense, shows that soon after 9/11, the administration was intent on using the crisis to reshape the Middle East. Read full story.

No Help from Washington
By Khody Akhavi

With tensions running high, Israel and Syria are using Turkey as a mediator and edging toward a peaceful resolution—with little help from Washington. Read full story.

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Featured Profiles

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.


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.


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From the Wires

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.


Falsely demonizing all Muslims, their beliefs, and their institutions is exactly the wrong way to make Americans safer, because the more we scare ourselves with imaginary enemies, the harder it will be to find and protect ourselves from real ones.


Division in the ranks of the conservative movement is a critical sign that a war with Iran isn’t inevitable.


Donald Trump stole the headlines, but the declaration from the recent NATO summit suggests the odds of an unnecessary conflict are rising. Instead of inviting a dialogue, the document boasts that the Alliance has “suspended all practical civilian and military cooperation between NATO and Russia.” The fact is, NATO was a child of the Cold War, when the West believed that the Soviets were a threat. But Russia today is not the Soviet Union, and there’s no way Moscow would be stupid enough to attack a superior military force.


War with Iran may not be imminent, but neither was war with Iraq in late 2001.


Donald Trump was one of the many bets the Russians routinely place, recognizing that while most such bets will never pay off a few will, often in unpredictable ways. Trump’s actions since taking office provide the strongest evidence that this one bet is paying off handsomely for the Russians. Putin could hardly have made the script for Trump’s conduct at the recent NATO meeting any more to his liking—and any better designed to foment division and distrust within the Western alliance—than the way Trump actually behaved.


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