The War Party

“Kristol and Kagan watched perhaps too many episodes of
Have Gun, Will Travel in childhood.”
— Patrick Buchanan,
A Republic, Not an Empire,
page 361

An alternative video (but the same inimitable audio:)

Freedom’s Watch

Freedom’s Watch — 2007

Democrats Refocus Message on Iraq After Military Gains
Criticism Shifts to Factional Unrest
By Jonathan Weisman and Anne E. Kornblut
Washington Post, 2007-08-22

[An excerpt.]

[T]he Democrats, along with wavering Republicans,
will face an advertising blitz from Bush supporters
determined to remain on offense.
A new pressure group, Freedom’s Watch, will unveil
a month-long, $15 million television, radio and grass-roots campaign today
designed to shore up support for Bush’s policies....

The new privately funded ad campaign, to run in 20 states,
features a gut-level appeal
from Iraq war veterans and the families of fallen soldiers,
“It’s no time to quit. It’s no time for politics.”

“For people who believe in peace through strength, the cavalry is coming,”
said Ari Fleischer,
a former Bush White House press secretary
who is helping to head Freedom’s Watch.

The Donors Behind Those New TV Ads
From NBC's Domenico Montanaro and Mark Murray
Firstread.msnbc.msn.com, 2007-08-22

[Emphasis is added.]

The donors who are financing the new multi-million-dollar TV ad campaign
arguing against a withdrawal from Iraq
include a Who’s Who of former Bush Administration ambassadors
(to plum assignments like France, Italy, and Malta);
a least one of Bush’s original Pioneers;
the man ranked by Forbes (in 2006) as the third-richest American;
and, of course, former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer.

Brad Blakeman [who is Jewish],
the president of Freedom’s Watch, which is running these ads,
released the following names as donors to his group.
Blakeman told NBC that the rest of the donors are choosing to be anonymous.
Freedom’s Watch is a 501(c)4 organization,
which can collect unlimited contributions
and doesn’t have to disclose its donors.

Here they are....

-- Anthony Gioia, former ambassador to Malta.
Per a White House press release announcing his appointment as ambassador, "Gioia is presently the Chairman and CEO of Gioia Management Company, a management and investment holding company located in Buffalo, New York."

-- Kevin Moley,
whom Bush appointed U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva in September 2001. Per the White House press release announcing his appointment, Moley "was a private investor and served on the Board of Directors of five publicly held companies and three privately held companies. He previously served as a consultant to Kinetra LLC, the successor company to Integrated Medical Systems Inc., which Ambassador Moley served as President and CEO. Ambassador Moley was also Senior Vice President of PCS Health Systems, Inc."

-- Mel Sembler [Jewish],
whom Bush appointed as US ambassador to Italy in 2001. According to a State Department bio, Stembler was "most recently the Chairman of the Board of The Sembler Company, one of the nation’s leading shopping center developers. He is nationally recognized as an activist in the anti-drug campaign and as a staunch, long-time supporter of the Republican Party and its candidates."

-- Howard Leach,
who was Bush’s ambassador to France from 2001-2005 and an original Bush Pioneer. Per the US embassy’s Web site, Leach is "an entrepreneur, investor and chief executive. He began his career as founder and president of several agri-business corporations. He has served as president and major shareholder of numerous industrial and financial companies."

-- Dr. John Templeton
is chairman and president of the John Templeton Foundation

-- Edward Snider [Jewish]

-- Sheldon Adelson [who is Jewish],
casino mogul, ranked as the third-richest American (worth $20 billion)
according to Forbes in 2006

[Note the following from his Wikipedia entry, as of 2007-08-26:
In 2006 Mr. Adelson contributed $25,000,000 to the organization Birthright Israel,
which finances Jewish youth trips to Israel.
The gift is anticipated to be given annually for the foreseeable future[1].

In 2007, Adelson pledged another $25,000,000 to the Birthright Israel program, allowing for approximately 20,000 people to take part in the program [2].
Further, Adelson has promised
a mind-boggling $200 million per year to Jewish and Israeli causes!
Now that’s a man who really cares about Israel.

So, media folk, why do you not list his ties to Israel?
Oh yeah, now I remember.
Pointing out
the links between Israel, American Jews, and the Iraq war
is anti-Semitism, according to the ADL.
Whether they are both true and pertinent is irrelevant.]

-- Richard Fox [Jewish, chairman of the Jewish Policy Center]

-- Ari Fleischer [Jewish], former White House press secretary

-- Gary Erlbaum [Jewish, vice president of Jewish Publishing Group]

-- Matt Brooks [Jewish, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition]

Matthew Brooks serves as Executive Director of both the
Republican Jewish Coalition,
an organization dedicated to enhancing ties between the Jewish community
and the Republican Party, and the
Jewish Policy Center,
a think-tank that examines public policy from a Jewish perspective.

Left, Right Proxies Push on Iraq
by Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post, 2007-08-23

The proxy fight over the Iraq war grew more crowded yesterday
with the launch of Freedom’s Watch, a lobbying group
that will mount a $15 million advertising and grass-roots campaign
to maintain Republican support for President Bush’s policies.

[Note how the WP tries to tie the war to Bush,
rather than to the man who
tied the Iraq war to Israel’s security.]

Freedom’s Watch’s ads include images such as this one [??],
and they emphasize the sacrifice of U.S. troops and their families.

Freedom’s Watch will go head to head with Americans United for Change,
a Democratic Party ally, backed by organized labor,
that is pressuring the same wavering Republicans to break with the White House.
Although louder and more experienced,
Americans United is not so moneyed [!!],
with a fundraising goal of $10 million for the year,
and $1.75 million to $2 million already spent on ad campaigns.


Antiwar groups branded the organization a White House front,
and it does have an administration pedigree
[Hey WP,
how about pointing out the JEWISH aspect of many of these people
(e.g., all three of the leaders)?]


Bradley A. Blakeman [Jewish], president,
a former deputy assistant to President Bush.

Ari Fleischer [Jewish], board member,
former Bush press secretary.

Matthew Brooks [Jewish], board member,
executive director, Republican Jewish Coalition.


Mel Sembler [Jewish],
GOP funder and former ambassador to Italy
who bankrolled the president's inaugural committee
and helped finance the 2000 Florida recount battle.

John Templeton Jr.,
a pediatric surgeon and board member of Canada-based Templeton Growth Fund.
Templeton's foundation in 2004 financed an independent expenditure group,
Let Freedom Ring, promoted as a counter to George Soros-backed liberal groups attacking the president's reelection.

Sheldon G. Adelson [Jewish],
the third-richest American in Forbes magazine's rankings last year,
is chairman and chief executive of the casino giant Las Vegas Sands Corp.
and the creator of Comdex, the huge high-tech trade show.

Kevin E. Moley,
former U.S. ambassador to international organizations in Geneva.
He was a senior adviser to Dick Cheney during the 2000 campaign,
and he and his immediate family have contributed more than $100,000
to Republican candidates and party committees.

Howard Leach,
former ambassador to France,
chief executive of Leach Capital Corp. and
president of Foley Timber and Land Co. in Florida.
A Bush "Pioneer,"
Leach contributed $100,000 to the president's inaugural committee, helped fund the Florida recount,
and financed GOP campaigns with more than $225,000 in 1999 and 2000.

Anthony Gioia,
former ambassador to Malta and the head of Gioia Management,
who raised about $500,000 for Bush's first presidential campaign
at one event in his Buffalo home.

Richard Fox [Jewish],
one of the major building, development and real estate management companies in eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey and a longtime GOP activist.
He co-founded the Republican Jewish Coalition.

Gary Erlbaum [Jewish],
owner of Greentree Properties in Ardmore, Pa.,
who tried to rally Orthodox Jewish support
for last year's failed reelection bid of conservative Christian Sen. Rick Santorum.
He has been a contributor to Rudolph W. Giuliani's presidential campaign,
but he has backed some Democrats,
including Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.) and Rep. Nita M. Lowey (N.Y.).


Since the umbrella group formed to beat back Bush's Social Security plan in 2005,
it has become the clearinghouse for causes allied with the Democratic leadership.


Brad Woodhouse, president, a former press secretary for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and press secretary for Erskine Bowles’s unsuccessful Senate bid in North Carolina against Elizabeth Dole.

Suzanne Granville, deputy executive director and former official in the AFL-CIO's women’s department.

Donors and key players:

Tom Matzzie, Washington director of MoveOn.org, who has helped fund Americans United as MoveOn pursues its own antiwar campaign. He headed online organizing for John F. Kerry's unsuccessful presidential bid in 2004 and was online mobilization director for the AFL-CIO.

Gerald McEntee, president of AFSCME, the union of state and municipal employees and a fixture in Democratic fundraising.

John J. Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO, who saw his union splinter with upstart service workers unions but has worked with the splinter group to help fund Americans United.

Andy Stern, president, the Service Employees International Union, a leader of the splinter group and an aggressive backer of Democratic political causes.

Anna Berger, head of Change to Win, the umbrella labor organization and budding AFL-CIO rival.

Larry Cohen, president, Communications Workers of America, who has moved to unionize white-collar, high-tech workers and may see antiwar activism as a hook.

Reggie Weaver, president of the National Education Association, the powerful teachers lobby.

New Pro-Iraq-War Organization Hides Its Pro-Israel Agenda
by Philip Weiss
Mondoweiss, 2007-08-23

[An excerpt:]

According to the Washington Post,
two of the three leaders of Freedom’s Watch, including Fleischer,
are associated with the Republican Jewish Coalition
(the third is involved with the Holocaust Memorial).
Its donors, per the Post,
include three other members of the Rep. Jewish Coalition
and Gary Erlbaum, a leader of the conservative Jewish community in Philadelphia.
That’s a lot of right wing Jews.


There is nothing wrong with rightwing Israel-centric Jews
getting involved in American politics.
[That sounds like quite a concession to me ;-)]
Let 100 flowers bloom.
But I want their agendas explicit.
It’s clear to me that several members of the new group
care about Israel’s security
as a reason for American military engagement in the Middle East.
They should say so upfront.
As it is,
the Freedom’s Watch website has imagery of the eagle wrapped in a flag;
its big new ad shows an Iraq War veteran
who continues to support the disastrous war because of 9/11,
and no one on the site is talking about Israel.
Fleischer didn’t mention it last night
in his analysis of the regional fallout if we left Iraq.
This is dangerous dishonesty.

[By the way,
the comments to the original version of Weiss’s post
provide quite an interesting window into
how honest and hard-hitting Jews can be when they are,
to some extent, talking among themselves.]

White House Vet Ari Fleischer, Back to Fight for The Surge in Iraq
By Sridhar Pappu
Washington Post, 2007-08-24

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

“The notion we could lose this war in Iraq
because Congress pulled out scared me,”
says [Ari] Fleischer, a founding board member of Freedom’s Watch.
“That’s why I got back involved.
That’s the only issue that could draw me back in.


... Fleischer was drawn back into the fight.
This return began last spring
when Fleischer began speaking with
Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, and
Mel Sembler, the former ambassador to Italy
who currently serves as chairman of
the (Lewis “Scooter”) Libby Legal Defense Trust.
They’d seen support for the war and the president dwindle.
It was then they decided to act.

Home Front 'Surge'
War Party's ad campaign will boomerang
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2007-08-24

[An excerpt.]

[In these ads] the neocons – let’s name the real enemy, after all –
are quite explicitly pushing their “stab-in-the-back” theory,
which blames our looming defeat in Iraq
not on the inherent impossibility of winning over the Iraqis
while we occupy their country and brutalize their people,
but on the evils of “politics”
(i.e. democracy, where the majority supposedly rules)
and scheming politicians,
who are somehow manipulating the popular will
in order to betray our fighting men and women.

“They attacked us” avers the wounded vet, but that’s not true:
Iraq never attacked us,
never had the capacity to attack us, and
was never even a credible threat.
We attacked them – i.e. the Iraqis, not al-Qaeda –
and we’re still attacking them, four years after the “liberation” of Iraq.


[Among the identified donors to Freedom’s Watch are:]

Sheldon G Adelson –
He’s the third richest person in the U.S., worth $20.5 billion ....
Adelson is a major contributor to Jewish and Israeli causes,
and to the GOP.
This series of ads isn’t his only propagandistic foray:
the Vegas casino king has also gone into the newspaper business –
in Israel.
Yisrael Hayom is a new daily paper
closely tied to the ultra-nationalist wing of the Likud party,
and Benjamin Netanyahu’s political aspirations.
It was recently launched with a massive free mailing to hundreds of thousands,
and has attracted considerable attention.

Richard Fox –
He made his fortune in real estate,
with properties centered in eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey,
and is a co-founder of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

Gary Erlbaum,
owner of Greentree Properties in Ardmore, Pa.,
an ardent Republican organizer in the Orthodox community and a Giuliani supporter,
as well as a staunch advocate for Israel.

Pro-'surge' group is almost all Jewish
Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 2007-08-24

[An excerpt:]

Four of five members of the board of a campaign
promoting President Bush’s policies in the Iraq war
are Republican Jews.

The board of “Freedom’s Watch” includes
Ari Fleischer, Bush’s former press secretary;
Matt Brooks, the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition;
Bradley Blakeman, a senior White House staffer in Bush’s first term; and
Mel Sembler, a longtime RJC leader and former ambassador to Rome.

Brooks told JTA that the fifth member,
William Weidner, a casino operator in Las Vegas, is not Jewish.
However, Weidner’s wife, Lynn, is Jewish and is active in that city’s federation.
Blakeman is the group’s president.

Brooks said
it would be a mistake to regard the group as having a Jewish direction.

“It’s a coincidence that several of the board members are Jewish,” [yeah, right]
he said,
noting that
half of the donors contributing to the group’s first $15 million ad campaign
are not Jewish.
[OK, but what fraction of the $15 million is Jewish?]


Of eight donors named Thursday in Politico, a political newspaper,
four are Jewish:
Richard Fox,
the chairman of the Jewish Policy Center, an RJC-affiliated think tank;
Ed Snider,
the founder of the Philadelphia Flyers ice hockey franchise
who has been elected to several Jewish Sports Halls of Fame; and
Sheldon Adelson,
a Las Vegas casino operator
who recently launched a giveaway newspaper venture in Israel.

Only the Jewish Press Calls a Spade a Spade:
New Pro-Iraq-War Group Is a Jewish Group

by Philip Weiss
Mondoweiss, 2007-08-27

[An excerpt, including the conclusion.
Emphasis is added.]

Only the Jewish Telegraphic Agency has the guts to say what is obvious
[obvious only to those who bother to investigate such things for themselves],
that “Pro-Surge Group Is Almost All Jewish”
that four out of five board members of Freedom’s Watch are Jewish,
and the fifth board member is married to a Jew.
I take this point further.
A large number of Freedom’s Watch’s staff or backers have stated that
Israel’s security is central to their view of the Iraq war.


Most of the leaders of this group live and breathe Israel,
but this overarching concern is nowhere to be found

in their calls on Americans to sacrifice more blood and treasure in Iraq.
When they talk about threats to the region,
they are talking about Israel’s security.
And the press lets them get away with this subterfuge
[shame, shame on the MSM],
with the exception of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
The Washington Post, for instance,
was happy to suggest that the organization is a “White House front,”
but said nothing about the Jewish character of the board,
or those Jews’ view of Israel.
Politico was also silent on the issue.
In a second piece, the Washington Post reported that
one board member leads neocon cipher Scooter Libby’s defense committee.

I wish the Post would ask these guys what they think about Israel.
Nope, they’re all afraid to mention it.

Again I note,
there’s nothing wrong with rightwingers expressing their views.
The problem is when those views have a religious character
that they’re not upfront about,
and that the press declines to discuss.
[Shame again on the MSM.]

Any one else bringing a religious worldview to American politics
is described as doing just that.

That is one, of the many, double standards
that American Jews enforce on America.]

We constantly hear about the “evangelical” voters or the “Christian right.”
What about the Jewish right?

Especially now, when there’s a widespread apprehension in the country that
the Israel-centric Jewish right pushed this disastrous war.

Big Coffers and a Rising Voice
Lift a New Conservative Group

New York Times, 2007-09-30

[Emphasis is added.]

Freedom’s Watch,
a deep-pocketed conservative group
led by two former senior White House officials,
made an audacious debut in late August
when it began a $15 million advertising campaign
designed to maintain Congressional support
for President Bush’s troop increase in Iraq.

Founded this summer by a dozen wealthy conservatives,
the nonprofit group is set apart from most advocacy groups by
the immense wealth of its core group of benefactors,
its intention to far outspend its rivals and
its ambition to pursue a wide-ranging agenda.
Its next target: Iran policy.

Next month,
Freedom’s Watch will sponsor a private forum of 20 experts on radical Islam
that is expected to make the case
that Iran poses a direct threat to the security of the United States,
according to several benefactors of the group.

Although the group declined to identify the experts,
several were invited from the American Enterprise Institute,
a Washington research group with close ties to the White House.
Some institute scholars have advocated
a more confrontational policy to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons,
including keeping military action as an option.

Last week, a Freedom’s Watch newspaper advertisement
called President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran “a terrorist.”
The group is considering a national advertising campaign focused on Iran,
a senior benefactor said,
though Matt S. David, a spokesman for the group,
declined to comment on those plans.

“If Hitler’s warnings were heeded when he wrote ‘Mein Kampf,’
he could have been stopped,” said Bradley Blakeman, 49,
the president of Freedom’s Watch and a former deputy assistant to Mr. Bush.
“Ahmadinejad is giving all the same kind of warning signs to us,
and the region —
he wants the destruction of the United States and the destruction of Israel.”

With a forceful message and a roster of wealthy benefactors,
Freedom’s Watch
has quickly emerged from the crowded field of nonprofit advocacy groups
as a conservative answer to the nine-year-old liberal MoveOn.org,
which vehemently opposes the Iraq war.

The idea for Freedom’s Watch was hatched in March
at the winter meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Manalapan, Fla.,
where Vice President Dick Cheney was the keynote speaker,
according to participants.
Next week, the group is moving into
a 10,000-square-foot office in the Chinatown section of Washington,
with plans to employ as many as 50 people by early next year.

One benefactor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity,
said the group was hoping to raise as much as $200 million by November 2008.
Raising big money “will be easy,” the benefactor said, adding that
several of the founders each wrote a check for $1 million.
Mr. Blakeman would not confirm or deny whether any donor gave $1 million,
or more,
to the organization.

Since the group is organized as a tax-exempt organization,
it does not have to reveal its donors and
it can not engage in certain types of partisan activities
that directly support political candidates.
It denies coordinating its activities with the White House,
although many of its donors and organizers are well connected to the administration, including Ari Fleischer, the former White House press secretary.

“Ideologically, we are inspired by much of Ronald Reagan’s thinking —
peace through strength,
protect and defend America, and
prosperity through free enterprise,”
Mr. Fleischer said.

Among the group’s founders are
  • Sheldon G. Adelson,
    the chairman and chief executive of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation,
    who ranks sixth on the Forbes Magazine list of the world’s billionaires;

  • Mel Sembler, a shopping center magnate based in St. Petersburg, Fla.,
    who served as the ambassador to Italy and Australia;

  • John M. Templeton Jr.,
    the conservative philanthropist from Bryn Mawr, Pa.;

  • Anthony H. Gioia,
    a former ambassador to Malta
    who heads an investment group based in Buffalo, N.Y.
All four men are long-time prolific donors
who have raised money on behalf of Republican and conservative causes.

For years, the group’s founders lamented MoveOn’s growing influence,
derived in large part from its grass-roots efforts,
especially on the debate about the Iraq war.
“A bunch of us activists kept watching MoveOn and its attacks on the war,
and it just got to be obnoxious,”
said Mr. Sembler, a friend of Vice President Dick Cheney.

[Oh, so we tie Sembler to Cheney, do we?
Well, what about Sembler’s Jewish activities? (E.g.)
Not a good time to mention those,
when Sembler is being linked to warmongering.]

“We decided we needed to do something about this,
because the conservative side was not responding.”

Mr. Sembler,
who is on the board of directors of the American Enterprise Institute,
said the impetus for Freedom’s Watch “came out of A.E.I.” last winter.
He said that at an institute event in December 2006
he listened to retired Gen. Jack Keane and Frederick W. Kagan, an A.E.I. scholar,
talk about the need for a troop increase in Iraq,
a plan adopted by Mr. Bush in January.
“I realized it was not only what we needed to do,” Mr. Sembler said,
“but we needed to articulate this message across the country.”

Mr. Sembler also said he was frustrated
that he heard reports at institute events earlier this year
that the increase was working,
but that the news media was not reflecting the progress.

Mr. Fleischer said:
“After the president announced the surge,
and even Republicans started getting nervous,
there was a palpable fear among several of us
that this fall Congress was going to cut off the funding
and the Middle East would explode
and America would likely get hit.
It really wasn’t much more complicated than that.”

Over the summer, Mr. Fleischer and the other founders recruited a president,
choosing Mr. Blakeman,
who served as a deputy assistant to the president
in charge of scheduling and appointments.
In 2000, Mr. Blakeman led the Bush-Cheney campaign’s public relations effort
during the 36 days of the deadlocked election.
He left the White House in January 2004.

Mr. Blakeman and Mr. Fleischer said they intended to turn Freedom’s Watch
into a permanent fixture among Washington advocacy groups,
waging a “never-ending campaign”
on an array of foreign policy and domestic issues.
They also hope to build an active, grass-roots support network.

But Eli Pariser, the executive director of MoveOn.org,
which was founded in 1998 by two Silicon Valley venture capitalists,
said he doubted the group’s ability to meet that goal.

“This is the fourth or the fifth group that intends to be the right-wing MoveOn,”
Mr. Pariser said,
naming other fledgling groups like TheVanguard.org and Grassfire.org.
“So far, it’s not clear that this group is anything other than
a big neoconservative slush fund.
They are a White House front group with a few consultants
who are trying to make a very unpopular position on the war
appear more palpable.”

Like Freedom’s Watch,
MoveOn had its origins in an attempt by wealthy political donors,
including George Soros,
to shape the debate in Washington.
MoveOn began shortly after the Starr report was delivered to Congress
in September 1998,
detailing accusations of perjury and obstruction of justice
against President Bill Clinton.

Freedom’s Watch and MoveOn have clashed
through competing advertisements
over Gen. David H. Petraeus’s war progress report to Congress earlier this month.

In one Freedom’s Watch ad, Sgt. John Kriesel, a National Guardsman from Stillwater, Minn., who lost his legs in a bomb attack near Falluja, pleads with Congress and the American people not to “surrender” in Iraq. As the screen shows a still photograph of the second hijacked plane bearing down on the burning World Trade Center, Sergeant Kriesel adds, “They attacked us, and they will again. They won’t stop in Iraq.”

Several of the group’s spots suggested that Iraq, rather than Al Qaeda, was behind the Sept. 11 attacks, even though the independent Sept. 11 commission investigation and other inquiries found no evidence of Iraq’s involvement. But in August, when the organization rolled out the advertisement with Sergeant Kriesel to two focus groups in Pennsylvania, its upbeat, patriotic message was well received, even causing a few viewers to weep, Mr. Blakeman said.

“The focus groups couldn’t tell whether it was a Republican ad or a Democratic ad,” he said.
“It was the voice of a soldier,
and that’s the message we want to deliver to Americans:
listen to the opinions of real people.”

The campaign was seen as a way
to head off any momentum in Congress
toward halting the financing for the Iraq war.

The group’s advertisements,
placed in nearly 60 Congressional districts in 23 states,
targeted wavering moderate Republicans and conservative Democrats.

Freedom’s Watch also pounced on
MoveOn.org’s full-page “General Betray Us” advertisement
published Sept. 10 in The New York Times.
Mr. Bush called the advertisement “disgusting.”
Both chambers of Congress passed resolutions condemning the advertisement.
The New York Times was also embroiled in the debate
after giving MoveOn a discounted price for the advertisement,
which the newspaper later acknowledged was a mistake.
MoveOn has since agreed to pay the difference.

That advertisement, Mr. Blakeman said, “was an unexpected gift,”
allowing Freedom’s Watch to “take the high road” and demonstrate that
it is a “conservative voice that is not divisive.”

Mr. Pariser, of MoveOn, said his group’s grass-roots membership —
it claims 3.3 million members — was the envy of Freedom’s Watch.
“I think people see that Freedom’s Watch is a few billionaires,
and not a large, mainstream constituency,” he said.

Mr. Blakeman denied the accusation
that Freedom’s Watch is a White House front group.
“I don’t need their help,” he said of his former colleagues at the White House.
“I don’t seek their help. And they don’t offer it.”
Mr. Blakeman is a long-time friend of Ed Gillespie,
the new counselor to Mr. Bush who succeeded Dan Bartlett.
Mr. Blakeman said that he speaks with Mr. Gillespie,
but that they are careful not to discuss the activities of Freedom’s Watch.

Mr. Fleischer said Freedom’s Watch was not coordinating with the White House
and had an agenda beyond the Bush administration.
“On Jan. 21, 2009,
what will these critics say when we are still here, doing the same thing?”
he said.
“We will still be here after George Bush is gone.”

Freedom’s Watch Bears Watching
by Jim Lobe
LobeLog.com, 2007-09-30

Surge Protectors
by Philip Weiss
The American Conservative, 2007-10-08

The mixed motives behind the Freedom’s Watch ad campaign

Freedom’s Watch — 2008

A Conservative Answer to MoveOn
By Paul Kane and Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post, 2008-01-20

Political Advocacy Group Formed by Former Bush Aides Plans a Broad Agenda

Freedom’s Watch and “Strong Supporters of Israel”
by Jim Lobe
LobeLog, 2008-01-20

Great Expectations for a Conservative Group
Seem All but Dashed

New York Times, 2008-04-13

Miscellaneous Articles

Neocons Surge Against Antiwar Movement
by Tom Hayden
Antiwar.com, 2007-10-22

The GOP Purge
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2007-10-22

The War Party can't win the war in Iraq,
so they're taking it out on the GOP

The Israel Lobby and the War Party
Or do I repeat myself?

by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2007-12-12

[This article appears, naturally enough, in both posts
The Israel Lobby and The War Party.]


The War Party's Credo: Power Before Profits
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2008-07-28

Why the left’s analysis of imperialism is inadequate

And None Dare Call It Treason
by Patrick J. Buchanan
Antiwar.com, 2008-08-22

[Paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

Who is Randy Scheunemann?

He is the principal foreign policy adviser to John McCain
and potential successor to Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski
as national security adviser to the president of the United States.

But Randy Scheunemann has another identity, another role.

He is a dual loyalist,
a foreign agent whose assignment is
to get America committed to spilling the blood of her sons
for client regimes who have made this moral mercenary a rich man.

From January 2007 to March 2008,
the McCain campaign paid Scheunemann $70,000 –
pocket change compared to
the $290,000 his Orion Strategies banked in those same 15 months
from the Georgian regime of Mikheil Saakashvili.

What were Mikheil’s marching orders to Tbilisi’s man in Washington?
Get Georgia a NATO war guarantee.
Get America committed to fight Russia, if necessary, on behalf of Georgia.

Scheunemann came close to succeeding.

Had he done so, U.S. soldiers and Marines from Idaho and West Virginia
would be killing Russians in the Caucasus,
and dying to protect Scheunemann’s client,
who launched this idiotic war the night of Aug. 7.
That people like Scheunemann hire themselves out
to put American lives on the line for their clients
is a classic corruption of American democracy.

U.S. backing for his campaign to retrieve his lost provinces
is what Saakashvili paid Scheunemann to produce.
But why should Americans fight Russians to force 70,000 South Ossetians
back into the custody of a regime they detest?
Why not let the South Ossetians decide their own future in free elections?

Not only is the folly of the Bush interventionist policy
on display in the Caucasus,
so, too, is its manifest incoherence.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates says
we have sought for 45 years to stay out of a shooting war with Russia
and we are not going to get into one now.
President Bush assured us
there will be no U.S. military response to the Russian move into Georgia.

That is a recognition of, and a bowing to, reality – namely, that
Russia’s control of South Ossetia and Abkhazia
and occupation of a strip of Georgia
cannot be a casus belli for the United States.
We may deplore it, but it cannot justify war with Russia.

If that be true, and it transparently is,
what are McCain, Barack Obama, Bush, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel doing committing the United States and Germany to bringing Georgia into NATO?
For that would commit us to war for a cause we have already conceded,
by our paralysis, does not justify a war.

Not only did
Scheunemann’s two-man lobbying firm receive $730,000 since 2001
to get Georgia a NATO war guarantee,
he was paid by Romania and Latvia to do the same.
And he succeeded.

Latvia, a tiny Baltic republic annexed by Joseph Stalin in June 1940
during his pact with Adolf Hitler,
was set free at the end of the Cold War.
Yet hundreds of thousands of Russians had been moved into Latvia by Stalin,
and as Riga served as a base of the Baltic Sea fleet,
many Russian naval officers retired there.

The children and grandchildren of these Russians are Latvian citizens.
They are a cause of constant tension with ethnic Letts
and of strife with Moscow,
which has assumed the role of
protector of Russians left behind in the “near abroad”
when the Soviet Union broke apart.

Thanks to the lobbying of Scheunemann and friends,
Latvia has been brought into NATO and given a U.S. war guarantee.
If Russia intervenes to halt some nasty ethnic violence in Riga,
the United States is committed to come in and drive the Russians out.

This is the situation in which the interventionists have placed our country:
committed to go to war for countries and causes that do not justify war,
against a Russia that is re-emerging as a great power
only to find NATO squatting on her doorstep.

Scheunemann’s resume as a War Party apparatchik is lengthy.
He signed the PNAC (Project for the New American Century) letter to President Clinton urging war on Iraq, four years before 9/11.
He signed the PNAC ultimatum to Bush, nine days after 9/11,
threatening him with political reprisal if he did not go to war against Iraq.
He was executive director of the “Committee for the Liberation of Iraq,”
a propaganda front for Ahmad Chalabi
and his pack of liars who deceived us into war.

Now Scheunemann is the neocon agent in place in McCain’s camp.

The neocons got their war with Iraq.
They are pushing for war on Iran.
And they are now baiting the Russian Bear.

Is this what McCain has on offer? Endless war?

Why would McCain seek foreign policy counsel from
the same discredited crowd
that has all but destroyed the presidency of George Bush?

“Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence ...
a free people ought to be constantly awake,”
Washington warned in his Farewell Address.
Our Founding Father was warning against the Randy Scheunemanns among us,
agents hired by foreign powers to deceive Americans into fighting their wars.
And none dare call it treason.

Foreign Lobbyists and the Making of US Policy
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2008-08-27

American politicians are for sale – and so is our foreign policy

[This is posted in
American Foreign Policy
Russia and
The War Party.

Here is its beginning.]

“Politics stops at the water’s edge”
is an old aphorism that aptly describes
the history and current trend of American politics.
The period marking the run-up to World War II
was the last time we saw
any meaningful discussion of America’s role in the world.
Ever since that famous victory,
the interventionist consensus has been bipartisan and broad,
at least in elite circles.
All the newspaper editors,
the TV anchors,
the policy wonks, and
the bloggers-of-note agree:
we must go global.
The only other choice is a debilitating “isolationism,”
economic as well as diplomatic-military,
that would consign us to an autarkic well of loneliness.

The End of the Affair
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2008-12-01

Obama and the antiwar movement

[This is posted in
The War Party ” and
The Obama (44) Administration”.]


Return of the War Party
by Patrick J. Buchanan
Antiwar.com, 2009-02-27

The Rule of the ‘Experts’
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2009-05-11

Tom Ricks can kiss my a**

The New Neocons
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2009-05-13

The left wing of the War Party raises its ugly head

The War Party Returns
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2009-06-01

Repudiated at the polls, they're back – in a new liberal guise

Is America Hooked on War?
By Tom Engelhardt
Antiwar.com Original, 2009-09-18

“War is peace” was one of the memorable slogans on the facade of the Ministry of Truth, Minitrue in “Newspeak,” the language invented by George Orwell in 1948 for his dystopian novel 1984. Some 60 years later, a quarter-century after Orwell’s imagined future bit the dust, the phrase is, in a number of ways, eerily applicable to the United States.

Last week, for instance, a New York Times front-page story by Eric Schmitt and David Sanger was headlined “Obama Is Facing Doubts in Party on Afghanistan, Troop Buildup at Issue.” It offered a modern version of journalistic Newspeak.

“Doubts,” of course, imply dissent, and in fact just the week before there had been a major break in Washington’s ranks, though not among Democrats. The conservative columnist George Will wrote a piece offering blunt advice to the Obama administration, summed up in its headline: “Time to Get Out of Afghanistan.” In our age of political and audience fragmentation and polarization, think of this as the Afghan version of Vietnam’s Cronkite moment.

The Times report on those Democratic doubts, on the other hand, represented a more typical Washington moment. Ignored, for instance, was Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold’s end-of-August call for the president to develop an Afghan withdrawal timetable. The focus of the piece was instead an upcoming speech by Michigan Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee. He was, Schmitt and Sanger reported, planning to push back against well-placed leaks (in the Times, among other places) indicating that war commander General Stanley McChrystal was urging the president to commit 15,000 to 45,000 more American troops to the Afghan War.

Here, according to the two reporters, was the gist of Levin’s message about what everyone agrees is a “deteriorating” U.S. position: “[H]e was against sending more American combat troops to Afghanistan until the United States speeded up the training and equipping of more Afghan security forces.”

Think of this as the line in the sand within the Democratic Party, and be assured that the debates within the halls of power over McChrystal’s troop requests and Levin’s proposal are likely to be fierce this fall. Thought about for a moment, however, both positions can be summed up with the same word: More.

The essence of this “debate” comes down to: More of them versus more of us (and keep in mind that more of them — an expanded training program for the Afghan National Army — actually means more of “us” in the form of extra trainers and advisors). In other words, however contentious the disputes in Washington, however dismally the public now views the war, however much the president’s war coalition might threaten to crack open, the only choices will be between more and more.

No alternatives are likely to get a real hearing. Few alternative policy proposals even exist because alternatives that don’t fit with “more” have ceased to be part of Washington’s war culture. No serious thought, effort, or investment goes into them. Clearly referring to Will’s column, one of the unnamed “senior officials” who swarm through our major newspapers made the administration’s position clear, saying sardonically, according to the Washington Post, “I don’t anticipate that the briefing books for the [administration] principals on these debates over the next weeks and months will be filled with submissions from opinion columnists… I do anticipate they will be filled with vigorous discussion… of how successful we’ve been to date.”

State of War

Because the United States does not look like a militarized country, it’s hard for Americans to grasp that Washington is a war capital, that the United States is a war state, that it garrisons much of the planet, and that the norm for us is to be at war somewhere at any moment. Similarly, we’ve become used to the idea that, when various forms of force (or threats of force) don’t work, our response, as in Afghanistan, is to recalibrate and apply some alternate version of the same under a new or rebranded name — the hot one now being “counterinsurgency” or COIN — in a marginally different manner. When it comes to war, as well as preparations for war, more is now generally the order of the day.

This wasn’t always the case. The early Republic that the most hawkish conservatives love to cite was a land whose leaders looked with suspicion on the very idea of a standing army. They would have viewed our hundreds of global garrisons, our vast network of spies, agents, Special Forces teams, surveillance operatives, interrogators, rent-a-guns, and mercenary corporations, as well as our staggering Pentagon budget and the constant future-war gaming and planning that accompanies it, with genuine horror.

The question is: What kind of country do we actually live in when the so-called U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) lists 16 intelligence services ranging from Air Force Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Defense Intelligence Agency to the National Reconnaissance Office and the National Security Agency? What could “intelligence” mean once spread over 16 sizeable, bureaucratic, often competing outfits with a cumulative 2009 budget estimated at more than $55 billion (a startling percentage of which is controlled by the Pentagon)? What exactly is so intelligent about all that? And why does no one think it even mildly strange or in any way out of the ordinary?

What does it mean when the most military-obsessed administration in our history, which, year after year, submitted ever more bloated Pentagon budgets to Congress, is succeeded by one headed by a president who ran, at least partially, on an antiwar platform, and who has now submitted an even larger Pentagon budget? What does this tell you about Washington and about the viability of non-militarized alternatives to the path George W. Bush took? What does it mean when the new administration, surveying nearly eight years and two wars’ worth of disasters, decides to expand the U.S. Armed Forces rather than shrink the U.S. global mission?

What kind of a world do we inhabit when, with an official unemployment rate of 9.7% and an underemployment rate of 16.8%, the American taxpayer is financing the building of a three-story, exceedingly permanent-looking $17 million troop barracks at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan? This, in turn, is part of a taxpayer-funded $220 million upgrade of the base that includes new “water treatment plants, headquarters buildings, fuel farms, and power generating plants.” And what about the U.S. air base built at Balad, north of Baghdad, that now has 15 bus routes, two fire stations, two water treatment plants, two sewage treatment plants, two power plants, a water bottling plant, and the requisite set of fast-food outlets, PXes, and so on, as well as air traffic levels sometimes compared to those at Chicago’s O’Hare International?

What kind of American world are we living in when a plan to withdraw most U.S. troops from Iraq involves the removal of more than 1.5 million pieces of equipment? Or in which the possibility of withdrawal leads the Pentagon to issue nearly billion-dollar contracts (new ones!) to increase the number of private security contractors in that country?

What do you make of a world in which the U.S. has robot assassins in the skies over its war zones, 24/7, and the “pilots” who control them from thousands of miles away are ready on a moment’s notice to launch missiles — “Hellfire” missiles at that — into Pashtun peasant villages in the wild, mountainous borderlands of Pakistan and Afghanistan? What does it mean when American pilots can be at war “in” Afghanistan, 9 to 5, by remote control, while their bodies remain at a base outside Las Vegas and then can head home past a sign that warns them to drive carefully because this is “the most dangerous part of your day”?

What does it mean when, for our security and future safety, the Pentagon funds the wildest ideas imaginable for developing high-tech weapons systems, many of which sound as if they came straight out of the pages of sci-fi novels? Take, for example, Boeing’s advanced coordinated system of hand-held drones, robots, sensors, and other battlefield surveillance equipment slated for seven Army brigades within the next two years at a cost of $2 billion and for the full Army by 2025; or the Next Generation Bomber, an advanced “platform” slated for 2018; or a truly futuristic bomber, “a suborbital semi-spacecraft able to move at hypersonic speed along the edge of the atmosphere,” for 2035? What does it mean about our world when those people in our government peering deepest into a blue-skies future are planning ways to send armed “platforms” up into those skies and kill more than a quarter century from now?

And do you ever wonder about this: If such weaponry is being endlessly developed for our safety and security, and that of our children and grandchildren, why is it that one of our most successful businesses involves the sale of the same weaponry to other countries? Few Americans are comfortable thinking about this, which may explain why global-arms-trade pieces don’t tend to make it onto the front pages of our newspapers. Recently, the Times Pentagon correspondent Thom Shanker, for instance, wrote a piece on the subject which appeared inside the paper on a quiet Labor Day. “Despite Slump, U.S. Role as Top Arms Supplier Grows” was the headline. Perhaps Shanker, too, felt uncomfortable with his subject, because he included the following generic description: “In the highly competitive global arms market, nations vie for both profit and political influence through weapons sales, in particular to developing nations…” The figures he cited from a new congressional study of that “highly competitive” market told a different story: The U.S., with $37.8 billion in arms sales (up $12.4 billion from 2007), controlled 68.4% of the global arms market in 2008. Highly competitively speaking, Italy came “a distant second” with $3.7 billion. In sales to “developing nations,” the U.S. inked $29.6 billion in weapons agreements or 70.1% of the market. Russia was a vanishingly distant second at $3.3 billion or 7.8% of the market. In other words, with 70% of the market, the U.S. actually has what, in any other field, would qualify as a monopoly position — in this case, in things that go boom in the night. With the American car industry in a ditch, it seems that this (along with Hollywood films that go boom in the night) is what we now do best, as befits a war, if not warrior, state. Is that an American accomplishment you’re comfortable with?

On the day I’m writing this piece, “Names of the Dead,” a feature which appears almost daily in my hometown newspaper, records the death of an Army private from DeKalb, Illinois, in Afghanistan. Among the spare facts offered: he was 20 years old, which means he was probably born not long before the First Gulf War was launched in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush [41]. If you include that war, which never really ended — low-level U.S. military actions against Saddam Hussein’s regime continued until the invasion of 2003 — as well as U.S. actions in the former Yugoslavia and Somalia, not to speak of the steady warfare underway since November 2001, in his short life, there was hardly a moment in which the U.S. wasn’t engaged in military operations somewhere on the planet (invariably thousands of miles from home). If that private left a one-year-old baby behind in the States, and you believe the statements of various military officials, that child could pass her tenth birthday before the war in which her father died comes to an end. Given the record of these last years, and the present military talk about being better prepared for “the next war,” she could reach 2025, the age when she, too, might join the military without ever spending a warless day. Is that the future you had in mind?

Consider this: War is now the American way, even if peace is what most Americans experience while their proxies fight in distant lands. Any serious alternative to war, which means our “security,” is increasingly inconceivable. In Orwellian terms then, war is indeed peace in the United States and peace, war.


Our war-loving Foreign Policy Community hasn't gone anywhere
by Glenn Greenwald
Salon.com, 2009-09-21

[This is really worth reading,
because it points out so accurately how
the American media/foreign-policy “elite” keeps America involved in wars
that it can neither afford
nor correctly decide who is really in the right, as opposed to just aping
the values currently held by the American “elite”.

Here is an excerpt; some of the emphasis is added.]

[T]he vague case for continuing to occupy [Afghanistan]
is virtually identical to
every instance where America’s war-loving Foreign Policy Community
advocates the need for new and continued wars.
It’s nothing more than
America’s standard, generic “war-is-necessary” rationale.
That is not at all surprising, given that, as Foreign Policy’s Marc Lynch notes:
The “strategic review” brought together
a dozen smart (mostly) think-tankers
with little expertise in Afghanistan

but a general track record of supporting calls for more troops
and a new counter-insurgency strategy.
They set up shop in Afghanistan for a month
working in close coordination with Gen. McChrystal,
and emerged with
a well-written, closely argued warning that the situation is dire
and a call for more troops and a new counter-insurgency strategy. Shocking.

The link he provides is to
this list of think tank “experts” who worked on McChrystal’s review,
including the standard group of America’s war-justifying theorists:
the Kagans, a Brookings representative, Anthony Cordesman,
someone from Rand, etc. etc.
What would a group of people like that ever recommend
other than continued and escalated war?
It’s what they do.
You wind them up and they spout theories to justify war.
That’s the function of America’s Foreign Policy Community.


It’s hard to overstate how aberrational -- one might say “rogue” --
the U.S. is when it comes to war.

No other country sits around debating,
as a routine and permanent feature of its political discussions,
whether this country or that one should be bombed next,
or for how many more years conquered targets should be occupied.

And none use war as a casual and continuous tool
for advancing foreign policy interests,
at least nowhere close to the way we do

(the demand that Iran not possess nuclear weapons
is clearly part of an overall, stated strategy of ensuring that
other countries remain incapable of
deterring us from attacking them whenever we want to).
Committing to a withdrawal from Iraq appears to be acceptable,
but only as long as have our escalations and new wars lined up to replace it
(and that’s to say nothing of the virtually invisible wars we’re fighting).
For the U.S., war is the opposite of a “last resort”:
it’s the more or less permanent state of affairs,
and few people who matter want it to be any different.


The International Relations Academy and
the Beltway “Foreign Policy Community”–
Why the Disconnect?

by Justin Logan
www.cato-at-liberty.org, 2009-09-22

[Emphasis is added.]

Glenn Greenwald uncovers a very interesting sentence
in Les Gelb’s Democracy essay [.pdf] on the Iraq war and the media:
My initial support for the war
was symptomatic of unfortunate tendencies
within the foreign policy community, namely
the disposition and incentives to support wars
to retain political and professional credibility.
I had to read that two or three times to unpack all that’s going on in there.
The question obviously being begged is
where does the disposition, and
where do the incentives
“to support wars to retain political and professional credibility”
come from?

There are two groups of people,
the Foreign Policy Community (FPC) in Washington and New York,
centered around the national-security bureaucracy and think tanks
that produce orthodox foreign policy hands like Brookings, AEI, and CFR.
There is a second group of people, international relations academics.
The two groups have, in most cases, similar training (PhDs from top schools)
and in the course of obtaining such training
have been exposed to many of the same theories and topics.

Yet the two groups have been wildly at variance
in terms of their views on important public policy issues.
Take the Iraq war, for example.
As anyone who was in Washington at the time knows,

the FPC was extremely fond of the idea of invading Iraq.
To oppose it was to marginalize oneself for years.
Indeed, those who promoted the disastrous adventure have prospered,
while those who
(bravely or stupidly, depending on your point of view)
opposed it
remain huddled in the chilly, dusty alcoves of popular debate.

In the academy, meanwhile, there was hardly any debate over Iraq–
almost 80 percent of IR academics opposed the war. [.pdf]
To the extent academics did enter the public debate on the issue,
it was to pay for an advertisement in the New York Times
warning against the war.
[.pdf] [My HTML version is here.]
The only academics who spoke out in favor of the war
(to my knowledge, anyway)
were IR liberals like Anne-Marie Slaughter,
who sought policy positions in Washington.
(Slaughter, of course, was rewarded with
a spot as Director of Policy Planning at the State Department,
while to my knowledge none of the academic opponents of the war
have gained Washington policy jobs.)

[Well now, here is a question:

If “almost 80 percent of IR academics opposed the war”,
then how did Foreign Affairs,
in its pre-Iraq-war issue that focused on the coming conflict,
come to have its two lead articles, both written by academics,
making a strong pro-war pitch?

Logan seems to be hiding one startling fact:
Of the academics that the media presented to us before the war,
the hawks were practically the only voices.

Take, for example,
the voice of Wall Street (read: the Jews) on foreign policy,
the Council on Foreign Relations, and its flagship journal, Foreign Affairs.
In its immediate pre-war issue of January-February 2003,
the two lead articles were both by academics,
and both made strong arguments for the war:
Iraq and the Arabs' Future” by Fouad Ajami and
Palestine, Iraq, and American Strategy” by Michael Scott Doran (no liberal he).

And who was the Managing Editor of Foreign Affairs at the time?
One Gideon Rose.
Two questions:
Is Rose Jewish?
Did the fact that Israel longed for the war affect his judgment?]

So what is going on here?
Why is there such a profound disconnect between the two groups
that look so similar on paper?
[How about this:
J-e-w-i-s-h money and influence where it counts, in Washington.]

The first, most obvious answer is that
the academy tends to be more liberal (in the domestic political sense),
so academics tend to have more peacenik-y views.
The problem with that argument is that
the domestic-political liberals in the FPC
supported the war just as strongly as their conservative brethren,

which means that
domestic political views don’t work as a determinant of support for war.

My sense is that

the giant national-security bureaucracy in Washington
that has emerged over the last 65 years
has shaped incentives in a manner such that
it is next-to-impossible to “get ahead” by advocating for restraint.

Put differently,
restraint isn’t in anybody’s interest except the country’s,

there’s nobody in Washington representing
broad national interests
as opposed to
their own parochial ones.

Every neoconservative or liberal imperialist in DC
has someone’s interests behind them.

The Don Quixotes like myself and my colleagues here, by contrast,
want to cut the defense budget,
slow the opportunities for rent-seeking among contractors, etc, etc, etc.
As Wall Street Journal editorial page editor Paul Gigot
once derisively referred to us,
we’re just “four or five people in a phone booth.”
But we were right about Iraq, which is more than Gigot can say for himself.

For the legions of IR journal editors who are reading this post,
I am completing an article draft examining this idea in more detail.
But for now you can cast an eye on a Steve Walt blog post that makes an argument very similar to my own:
…America’s role in the world today is shaped by
two imbalances of power, not just one.
The first is the gap between U.S. capabilities and everyone else’s,
a situation that has some desirable features (especially for us)
but one that also encourages the United States to do too much
and allows others to do either too little or too many of the wrong things.
The second imbalance is between
organized interests whose core mission is
constantly pushing the U.S. government to do more and in more places
and the far-weaker groups
who think we might be better off showing a bit more restraint.

I’m open to different theories on this matter,
but I think we should agree that at the very least,
it’s an interesting puzzle.

A "debate" on Afghanistan?
by Stephem M. Walt
ForeignPolicy.com, 2009-09-22

[The reason for my posting this here rather than in my collection on Afghanistan
is that it points out how
the media biases the public dialogue towards perpetual war.]

Yesterday, the New York Times online service
hosted a “debate” about U.S. strategy in Afghanistan,
in response to the leaking of commanding general Stanley McChrystal’s memo
stating that more troops were necessary to avoid defeat.
Unfortunately, the six people they asked to debate the issue
(Gretchen Peters, James Morin, Vanda Feldab-Brown,
Frederick and Kimberly Kagan
[Both Kagans? You’ve got to be kidding.
How much more can the media do to stack the deck for war?
How much “diversity” does having both Kagans bring to the dialogue?
Talk about Tweedledee and Tweedledum.]
and Kori Schake)
all seemed to be open supporters of the U.S. military commitment there.
So when asked
“how should additional troops be deployed?
What types of specialized personnel are needed now?”
none of the Times’s chosen panel responded by saying
“more troops are not the answer.”
In short,
the six panelists managed to avoid
the real question that President Obama (and the nation) faces:
should the United States increase its presence
in the hopes of reversing the situation,
or should it cut its losses and get out?


Would it really have been so bad
to have at least one genuine skeptic of the war
included among the respondents?

[Walt is far too gentlemanly in his observation.

I am also including, below, a comment, NOT by Walt, from “seanmcbride”:]

The New York Times and Neocon Propaganda
by seanmcbride on Tue, 09/22/2009 - 10:48am

It would appear to be a safe presumption at this point that
both Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and Andrew Rosenthal
are hardcore neoconservatives --
substantially on the same page as the
The slant and bias keep shining through consistently
despite the presence of
Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman, Bob Herbert and Frank Rich on the paper.
There can be little doubt that

the Israeli interest, as they perceive it,
is the core issue at stake for them.

(FPI and other neocon outfits are leading the charge
to expand the Afghanistan War,
which they see as part of the larger global struggle
between Greater Israel and Islam --
Norman Podhoretz’s World War IV.)

[Donald Graham’s editorial page at the Washington Post seems, if anything,
even more hawkish than the Times (cf.).
For example, it “features” Frederick Kagan as a monthly columnist
(why not Stephen Walt and Michael Scheuer alternating months instead?).
On the other hand, Donald Graham does own Foreign Policy,
in whose on-line edition a regular blog by Stephen Walt, including this article, appears.]

In the media excerpts presented and discussed above,
and more generally, in all those that have appeared in the MSM to date,

When the media presents “military voices” opining on
what should be done or needs to be done in Afghanistan, or Iraq or Iran,
it carefully avoids mentioning the views of
the CENTCOM commanders who preceded the current one, General Petraeus,
namely, Admiral Fallon and General Abizaid,
both of whom were far more skeptical about
the ability of any military
to achieve the political goals
that dominent voices in the media/political/think-tank “elite”
keep pining for in the Muslim world.

The GOP Should Dump the Neocons
by Edward H. Crane
Los Angles Times/Cato Institute, 2009-11-04

The founders envisioned a federal government constitutionally limited to defending our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. For that to happen, we must have at least one political party that strongly advocates limiting the power of government. For much of the 19th century, that party was the Democrats. For the early part of the 20th century and from the early 1960s through 1988, that party was the Republicans.

Today, it is difficult to find noninterventionists in either party.


[The conclusion:]

Republicans should take this opportunity
to return to their traditional noninterventionist roots
and throw their neoconservative wing under the bus.
The Republicans have a chance at this moment
to reclaim the mantle of the party of nonintervention --
in your healthcare, in your wallet and in the affairs of other nations.

The Disenfranchised Antiwar Voter
On the left and the right, the War Party triumphs
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2009-11-06

Why is it that the War Party invariably wins?
Although the majority of Americans are rebelling against
the idea that the US must endlessly police the world,
and are souring on the crusade to “liberate” Afghanistan,

how is it that
the only voices heard on the national political scene
are those in favor of intervention?


[Can you say “Zionist-feminist conspiracy”?
Or has the word “conspiracy” been made unacceptable?]


It seems not to matter that
the voters are themselves dissatisfied with
the course the country seems to be taking overseas:
while growing numbers oppose the “nation-building” extravaganza
proposed by the Obama administration in Afghanistan
[and enthusiastically endorsed by the editorial pages of the New York Times
and, especially, the Washington Post]
the alleged “conservatives” who funded and organized the Hoffman campaign
have resisted their normally opportunistic impulses
to take advantage of voter discontent on this issue,
and, instead,
attack the Obama administration for not being militaristic enough.

The hypocrisy of these fake-conservatives apparently knows no bounds:
while they supposedly oppose massive government spending and complain about “big government,”
the biggest most sacrosanct spending programs – totaling trillions of dollars –
are those that fund our foreign policy of global intervention,
and when it comes to these, our conservatives are all in favor.

[I certainly agree with Raimondo on the basic issues here,
but feel obligated to argue that America's biggest unnecessary financial burdens,
in truth,
are not the wars
but health care costs.]


Our ruling elite is on a collision course with the citizenry.
There is, at present,
no way for disenfranchised voters to register their protest,
and have their voices heard,
and the pressure is building – slowly but surely –
as Americans begin to ask where it will all end.
We are headed for an era of unprecedented political and social turmoil,
as the economy tanks and the wages of intervention are paid
in the form of more “blowback” such as we experienced on 9/11.
[And the Washington Post, no surprise,
is calling for yet more intervention, now in Somalia!]

The America we know and love is rapidly sliding down into
the abyss of national bankruptcy and international opprobrium –
and our “leaders” are not only helpless to stop it,
they are actively pushing us toward the edge.

Our Chief Industry: War
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2009-11-18

The economy may be collapsing, but the war business is booming

The Democrats’ War Tax
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2009-11-23

The Antiwar Right: Our Time Is Near
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2009-12-09

The War Democrats
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2009-12-16

Joe Sestak and the rationale for war


Consensus Renewed
by Andrew J. Bacevich
worldaffairsjounal.org, 2010-02-26

Several reporters called me this week,
asking for comment on the Afghanistan war’s latest milestone:
The total American war deaths in that conflict have surpassed one thousand.

My initial reaction was to wonder
why anyone would think the issue sufficiently noteworthy to merit a story.
It struck me as one of those situations
where journalists grab a random factoid
and try to endow it with significance,
recruiting people (like me)
to unearth its hitherto unappreciated meaning.

The real story—which just about no one seems to have noticed—is this:

In Washington,
the bipartisan consensus in favor of open-ended global war
has been restored.

As far as national security policy is concerned,
this may well stand as
the Obama administration’s principal accomplishment to date.

Recall, please, the immediate aftermath of 9/11.
President Bush and his lieutenants
wasted no time in committing the United States to a global war.
America’s purpose was to eliminate terror—perhaps even evil itself—
and to spread democracy around the world.
Bush and others in his inner circle were quite candid in declaring that
this enterprise was likely to require decades if not generations
before achieving complete success.

In Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike responded with applause,
with blank-check authorizations,
and with massive appropriations of money.
Few voices were raised to wonder
if open-ended war might not be such a good thing.
Bring ‘em on: That was the order of the day.

Only when Bush decided to go after Saddam Hussein—
innocent of very little, but uninvolved in the 9/11 attacks—
did cracks begin to show in this consensus.
When Operation Iraqi Freedom produced not victory, but a shipwreck,
consensus all but collapsed.
Democrats turned (belatedly) against the war.
From out of nowhere, Barack Obama—who, unlike Senator Hillary Clinton,
had not voted in favor of invading Iraq
(he hadn’t yet been elected to the Senate)—
emerged as the anti-war/peace presidential candidate.
Obama promised to change the way Washington worked.
Surely that implied a rejection of Bush’s recipe for endless war.

Didn’t it?

Well, no, as it turns out.
Once elected and after due deliberation,
Obama decided that endless war remains an imperative.
The new president just wanted to focus on Afghanistan and “AfPak”
rather than on Iraq and the Persian Gulf.
So he hired his own version of General David Petraeus
and announced his own version of the surge.
In Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike responded with applause,
with blank-check authorizations,
and with massive appropriations of money.

Which leaves us pretty much back where we were after 9/11—
except that no one any longer believes that
the concerted use of military power will enable the United States
to eliminate terror—much less evil itself—
or to spread democracy around the world.
The fighting continues. The bills mount. To what end?

Helluva job, Mr. President.

The War Party
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2010-08-04

Who are they? What are they?


In Washington, war always wins
by Joe Scarborough
Politico.com, 2011-06-20

There are age-old truths in Washington that transcend the passage of time,
the predictability of politics
and even the churning of White House administrations.

These constants define Capitol Hill debates and White House policies
whether the city is run by Democrats or Republicans.
These bitter truths also help explain why
America continues slouching toward an economic cliff and a catastrophic fall.

The first of these truths is that
Washington always wins. Always.


The second time-tested truth of Washington is that
policymakers skew the rules to ensure Wall Street always wins.


The third ugly truth is that
the city’s political gears are always greased for war.


The LA Times notices the “double standard” on Iran
How can the U.S.'s global practice of "state-sponsored assassination"
be reconciled with outrage over Iran?

By Glenn Greenwald
Salon.com, 2011-10-13

[An excerpt:]

Actually, a significant chunk of the world has long rejected
the asserted American
“right to behave as it wishes without accountability all around the globe
and that other nations do not.”
In fact, the only ones who still affirm that right —
to the extent that they are even aware that it’s at the center of their worldview —
are Brookings “scholars,”
Washington Post Editorial Page Editors,
the scam industry calling itself “Terrorism experts,”
and other similar Washington hangers-on such as
think tank and academic mavens of the Foreign Policy Community,
Pentagon reporters,
and assorted neocon and “liberal hawk” nationalists
whose purpose in life (and careerist fuel) is to supply justifying theories
for any and all U.S. Government conduct undertaken
to sustain its crumbling imperial rule.


McCain, Lieberman and Graham: The Senate’s three war-crazed amigos
By Alex Pareene
Slate, 2012-03-29

Labels: ,