Right Web

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

Iraq, Middle East

Contents

This Week on the Right | Tom Barry
What’s New | Middle East Forum, The Evangelical Roots of American Unilateralism: The Christian Right’s Influence and How to Counter It
Letters and Feedback | Architecture of Power, Daniel Pipes, Remembering Team B

This Week on the Right

Baghdad and Beyond
By Tom Barry

(Editor’s Note: Excerpted from the second in a series of investigative reports on the influence of a web of right-wing organizations and individuals–chiefly associated with the Project for the New American Century–in setting radical new directions in U.S. foreign and military policy. For the complete Right Web Analysis, see: /analysis/2004/0403anniv.php.)

In defiance of world opinion and the UN Security Council–but with the support of the U.S. Congress–the Bush administration invaded Iraq in March 2003. A year later it’s still too soon to evaluate the success of the mission.

A few quick judgments, though, certainly can be made. The “liberation” was not the cakewalk that Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Wolfowitz had predicted, and the promised liberation has turned into a woeful occupation. Moreover, regime change and preventive war in Iraq cannot be chalked up as victories in the administration’s much-vaunted war on terrorism. Before the invasion there existed no ties between the Hussein government and the al Qaeda terrorist network, but a year of U.S. occupation has sparked a wave of anti-American Islamic militancy in Iraq. Osama bin Laden and his terrorist band were never favored or sheltered by the secular Ba’athist regime in Iraq, and bin Laden remains at large. Meanwhile, the Taliban and their ilk are resurgent in occupied Afghanistan.

What’s less clear is to what degree the regime change in Iraq has furthered the Bush administration’s larger mission of restructuring the Middle East in ways that further U.S. and Israeli national interests, as defined by the hard-liners and ideologues in both nations. An overly narrow focus on the missteps and misadventures in the political quicksand of Iraq misses what administration officials and neoconservative polemicists call “the big picture.”

In speeches at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in 2003, President Bush sketched out an interventionist foreign and military policy in the Middle East. This new policy, according to the president, is a “forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East,” which he describes as “the calling of our time, the calling of our country.” The president’s “axis of evil” and “global democratic revolution” formulations of the complexities of international affairs closely reflect the views of neocon ideologues and their institutions. But the details of this ambitious regional agenda together with its ideological and political backdrop come into sharp relief in the operations of such neocon-driven front groups as the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, the U.S. Committee for a Free Lebanon, the Coalition for Democracy in Iran, and, of course, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC).

While neocon institutes such as PNAC and AEI were laying out the overall agenda, the specific targets of the neocon transformative strategy have been developed by region- and country-focused front groups created and led by neoconservatives. One of the most successful neocon groups was the U.S. Committee on NATO, directed by Bruce Jackson. Other board members included Randy Scheunemann, Julie Finley, and Gary Schmitt, who like Jackson have been tangled with three other organizations: the Project on Transitional Democracies, the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, and the Project for the New American Century. Both the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq and the Project on Transitional Democracies were PNAC spin-offs. The U.S. Committee on NATO’s office also became the headquarters for the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq and the Project on Transitional Democracies.

Jackson’s success at the U.S. Committee on NATO in corralling bipartisan support to usher Central and East European nations into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Bush administration tapped Jackson to help build bipartisan support for the Iraq invasion.

(Tom Barry is Policy Director of the Interhemispheric Resource Center (IRC), online at: www.irc-online.org.)

Tom Barry, Neocon Philosophy of Intelligence Led to Iraq War,

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

Nikki Haley, Donald Trump’s first U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is known for her lock-step support for Israel and is widely considered to be a future presidential candidate.


Laurence Silberman, a senior justice on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, was a mentor to controversial Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and has been a vocal supporter of right-wing foreign and domestic agendas, including the campaign to support the invasion of Iraq.


The People’s Mujahedin of Iran, or MEK, advocates regime change in Iran and has strong connections with a wide range of top political figures in the U.S.


Haim Saban is a media mogul and major donor to the Democratic Party known for his hardline stance on Israel and opposition to the Iran nuclear deal.


Eli Lake is a columnist for Bloomberg View who has a lengthy record of advocating for aggressive U.S. foreign policies towards the Middle East.


Brian Hook is the director of policy planning and senior policy advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and is the head of the Iran Action Group.


Josh Rogin is a journalist known for his support for neoconservative policies and views.


For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

The contradictions in Donald Trump’s foreign policy create opportunities for both rivals and long-standing (if irritated) US allies to challenge American influence. But Trump’s immediate priority is political survival, and his actions in the international arena are of little concern to his domestic supporters.


While the notion that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic is decades old, it has been bolstered in recent years, by the campaign to add to the definition of anti-Semitism any criticism that singles Israel out and doesn’t apply the same standard to other countries. The bottom line is that this entire effort is designed not to combat anti-Semitism but to silence criticism. 


Short-term thinking, expedience, and a lack of strategic caution has led Washington to train, fund, and support group after group that have turned their guns on American soldiers and civilians.


Trump is not the problem. Think of him instead as a summons to address the real problem, which in a nation ostensibly of, by, and for the people is the collective responsibility of the people themselves. For Americans to shirk that responsibility further will almost surely pave the way for more Trumps — or someone worse — to come.


The United Nations has once again turn into a battleground between the United States and Iran, which are experiencing one of the darkest moments in their bilateral relations.


In many ways, Donald Trump’s bellicosity, his militarism, his hectoring cant about American exceptionalism and national greatness, his bullying of allies—all of it makes him not an opponent of neoconservatism but its apotheosis. Trump is a logical culmination of the Bush era as consolidated by Obama.


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.”


RightWeb
share