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

Torture Redux

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FEATURED ARTICLE

Enhanced Embellishment Techniques

By Peter Certo

A number of conservatives and security hawks have used the death of Osama bin Laden as a prop in their public relations war on behalf of torture. Despite evidence to the contrary, these pundits and “experts”—led by a passel of former Bush administration officials—allege that without “enhanced interrogation techniques” bin Laden would still be living and that Barack Obama’s efforts to stop the use of torture have endangered the United States. But their claims have amounted to little more than an embellishment of the historical record and a distortion of the real impact of torture on U.S. policy and security. Read article.


MILITARIST MONITOR

This week on “Militarist Monitor,” Right web explores the efforts of various torture apologists who have come out of the wood work since the killing of Osama bin Laden. Militarist Monitor.


FEATURED PROFILES

Donald Rumsfeld

Largely quiet since his untimely resignation from the Bush administration, Rumsfeld has reemerged of late to defend his track record, as well as the decision to torture terror suspects.

Rick Santorum

Former Senator Santorum, a 2012 Republican Party presidential candidate, has attempted to burnish his leadership credentials by promoting the value of torture and attacking President Obama for, among other things, not calling Jihadism “evil.”

Freedom House

Although no longer as closely associated with neoconservative activism as it was during much of the last few decades, Freedom House continues to support campaigns aligned with hawkish factions in U.S. politics.

John Yoo

Yoo, the former deputy assistant attorney general who is known for his extreme views on executive wartime powers and for helping author the infamous “torture memos,” is one of many former Bush figures who has cited the death of Osama bin Laden as vindication of their support for “enhance interrogation techniques.”


ALSO NEW ON RIGHT WEB

Debate Rages over U.S. Withdrawal

With the war in Afghanistan showing little signs of progress, the debate on Capitol Hill is shifting ever so slightly toward a faster withdrawal.

Pakistan: U.S. Development Aid v. Military Intervention

Aid to Pakistan is under threat from both Congress and the public, but it would be smarter to reform the U.S. package than end it.

Rifts Appear as Syrian Opposition Struggles to Maintain Momentum

The Syrian opposition remains unsure of the way forward in the wake of brutal state oppression, but events like the murdering of 13-year-old Hamzah Ali Alkhateeb will ensure that the struggle will not end soon.

U.S. Uses Peace Talks to Divide Taliban from Pakistan

U.S. hints at peace talks with the Taliban are designed to isolate the group from its Pakistani patron—but as long as western troops occupy Afghanistan, negotiations are unlikely.

US Veto Could Derail Palestine as New U.N. Member State

The United States, in the face of global opposition, looks likely to veto a possible UN resolution recognizing Palestine as an independent country.


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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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