Right Web

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

The Failed Shiite Gambit; Plus: the American Foreign Policy Council, James Woolsey, and Ahmed Chalab

FEATURED ARTICLE

Haunting Mistakes in Iraq
By Gareth Porter | February 12, 2007

Despite Shiite death squads operating freely in Baghdad, the Bush administration refused to admit that there was a problem in Iraq with Shiite violence. Why? Because supporting the Shiites was U.S. policy. Read full story.

NEW RIGHT WEB PROFILES

American Foreign Policy Council
One of many hawkish Washington-based think tanks, the AFPC is today a leading member of the get-Iran lobby.

Ahmed Chalabi
The neocons’ favorite Iraqi exile, Chalabi has been accused of colluding with Iranian operatives, oversaw a failed bank in Jordan, and is a thorn in the side of U.S. efforts to reform the badly designed de-Baathification policy put in place by former U.S. proconsul in Iraq Paul Bremer.

James Woolsey
Woolsey is a man of many faces—champion of World War IV, former CIA director, business exec, government consultant, corporate lawyer, and high-profile proponent of the neoconservative agenda.

Sam Brownback
The Republican presidential hopeful, a key supporter of the Christian Right agenda in the Senate, has supported a host of bills attacking Iran and broadening the war on terror.

ALSO NEW THIS WEEK ON RIGHT WEB

The Mideast Opinion Gap
By Jim Lobe | February 12, 2007

A new poll shows that most Arabs fail to see Iran as an enemy—a notion that undermines U.S. hopes of forming a Sunni Arab alliance. Read full story.

ODDS & ENDS

Faith in Feith?

Appearing on FoxNews this past Sunday, Doug Feith, the controversial former undersecretary of defense who oversaw efforts to channel intel about Iraq and then stepped down at the end of President George W. Bush’s first term, took a shot at rewriting history. "Nobody in my office ever said there was an operational relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida," Feith told Fox’s Chris Wallace.

But as Laura Rozen pointed out in her War and Piece blog, it was an October 2003 memo from Feith—conveniently leaked to the conservative Weekly Standard—that helped establish the erroneous Iraq-Qaida connection. The Standard wrote at the time: "Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein had an operational relationship from the early 1990s to 2003 that involved training in explosives and weapons of mass destruction, logistical support for terrorist attacks, al-Qaida training camps and safe haven in Iraq, and Iraqi financial support for al-Qaida—perhaps even for Mohamed Atta—according to a top secret U.S. government memorandum obtained by the Weekly Standard. The memo, dated October 27, 2003, was sent from Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith to Senators Pat Roberts and Jay Rockefeller, the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee."

Commenting on Feith’s apparent memory loss, Larry C. Johnson, a former State Department and CIA counterterrorism official, told the Los Angeles Times: "It’s an abject lie, and it completely ignores what is in the documented public record. I think the problem is across the board that we have convenient memory loss. No one wants to go back and hold people accountable to what they were doing."

Defending Friends

The Wall Street Journal‘s neoconservative-dominated editorial page published a lengthy editorial this week lambasting the media-generated publicity surrounding a new American Enterprise Institute (AEI) initiative on global warming that reportedly involves paying scientists $10,000 to produce papers questioning the conclusions of the UN-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Pointing to a series of articles about the AEI program published in the British press early this month, including in the respected left-of-center Guardian and Independent, the Journal argued that "it would be easy to dismiss all this propaganda from British tabloids, except that last week the ‘news’ crossed the Atlantic where more respectable media outlets, including the Washington Post, are reporting the story in what has become all too typical pack fashion."

According to the Guardian story, AEI sent letters to scientists arguing that the UN panel was "resistant to reasonable criticism and dissent and prone to summary conclusions that are poorly supported by the analytical work" and asked for papers that "thoughtfully explore the limitations of climate model outputs" as part of an "independent review" of the IPCC’s work. The Guardian highlighted AEI’s connections to the oil industry, reporting that the think tank "has received more than $1.6m from ExxonMobil and more than 20 of its staff have worked as consultants to the Bush administration. Lee Raymond, a former head of ExxonMobil, is the vice-chairman of AEI’s board of trustees."

All the hand-wringing is much ado about nothing, according to the Journal. It quoted AEI President Chris DeMuth, who said: "What the Guardian essentially characterized as a bribe is the conventional practice of AEI—and Brookings, Harvard, and the University of Manchester—to pay individuals" commissions for their work.

LETTERS

Re: Douglas Feith

Doug Feith can deny anything he wants, but he knows the truth in his heart … Karma Doug? I hope your children won’t end up paying for your manipulation of the truth that allowed this failed commander-in-chief to invade Iraq.

— Michelle Meyer

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Featured Profiles

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From the Wires

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.


With President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talking openly about a possible “escalation between us and the Iranians,” there is a real risk that some combination of the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia could initiate a war with Iran. If there’s one lesson to be learned from U.S. wars since 9/11, it’s “don’t start another one.”


The former Kansas congressman and now Secretary of State in the Trump administration once told his constituents in Wichita, “The threat to America is from people who deeply believe that Islam is the way and the light and the only answer.” In this conception, if totalitarianism or terrorism is the content of the Iranian policy, then the Islamic Republic is its enabling form.


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