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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

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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

Former Vice President Dick Cheney was a leading framer of the “global war on terror” and a staunch supporter of aggressive U.S. military action around the world.


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.


Right Web readers will be familiar with Mr. Fleitz, the former CIA officer who once threatened to take “legal action” against Right Web for publicizing reports of controversies he was associated with in the George W. Bush administration. Fleitz recently left his job at the conspiracy-mongering Center for Security Policy to become chief of staff to John Bolton at the National Security Council.


Norm Coleman is chair of the Republican Jewish Coalition and a former senator from Minnesota known for his hawkish views on foreign policy.


Billionaire hedge fund mogul Paul Singer is known for his predatory business practices and support for neoconservative causes.


Keith Kellogg, national security adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, is a passionate supporter of Trump’s foreign policy.


Christians United for Israel (CUFI), the largest “pro-Israel” advocacy group in the United States, is known for its zealous Christian Zionism and its growing influence in the Republican Party.


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From the Wires

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The Trumpian new regional order in the Middle East is predicated on strongman rule, disregard for human rights, Sunni primacy over Iran and other Shia centers of power, continued military support for pro-American warring parties regardless of the unlawfulness of such wars, and Israeli hegemony.


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A comparison of U.S. nuclear diplomacy with Iran and the current version with North Korea puts the former in a good light and makes the latter look disappointing. Those with an interest in curbing the dangers of proliferating nuclear weapons should hope that the North Korea picture will improve with time. But whether it does or not, the process has put into perspective how badly mistaken was the Trump administration’s trashing of the Iran nuclear agreement.


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Numerous high profile Trump administration officials maintain close ties with anti-Muslim conspiracy theorists. In today’s America, disparaging Islam is acceptable in ways that disparaging other religions is not. Given the continuing well-funded campaigns by the Islamophobes and continuing support from their enablers in the Trump administration, starting with the president himself, it seems unlikely that this trend will be reversed any time soon.


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The Trump administration’s nuclear proliferation policy is now in meltdown, one which no threat of “steely resolve”—in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s words—will easily contain. It is hemorrhaging in part because the administration has yet to forge a strategy that consistently and credibly signals a feasible bottom line that includes living with—rather than destroying—regimes it despises or fears. Political leaders on both sides of the aisle must call for a new model that has some reasonable hope of restraining America’s foes and bringing security to its Middle East allies.


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Congressional midterm elections are just months away and another presidential election already looms. Who will be the political leader with the courage and presence of mind to declare: “Enough! Stop this madness!” Man or woman, straight or gay, black, brown, or white, that person will deserve the nation’s gratitude and the support of the electorate. Until that occurs, however, the American penchant for war will stretch on toward infinity.


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To bolster the president’s arguments for cutting back immigration, the administration recently released a fear-mongering report about future terrorist threats. Among the potential threats: a Sudanese national who, in 2016, “pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to ISIS”; an Uzbek who “posted a threat on an Uzbek-language website to kill President Obama in an act of martyrdom on behalf of ISIS”; a Syrian who, in a plea agreement, “admitted that he knew a member of ISIS and that while in Syria he participated in a battle against the Syrian regime, including shooting at others, in coordination with Al Nusrah,” an al-Qaeda offshoot.


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The recent appointment of purveyors of anti-Muslim rhetoric to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom exposes the cynical approach Republicans have taken in promoting religious freedom.


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