Monday, October 15, 2012

Why Is Failed Iraq Neocon Dan Senor Dictating Romney's Foreign Policy?

The explanation for Mitt Romney’s Middle East madness is hiding in plain sight.

Dan Senor has become Romney’s “lead” advisor on the region, matching one blank slate with another. Senor’s only real foreign policy experience is his 15 months in Iraq in 2003 and 2004 as “senior adviser” to Paul Bremer’s Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), the occupation government installed by the Bush White House. It’s hard to be senior at the age of 31—which is what the wiry former congressional staffer and Harvard Business School grad was when he moved into his 68-degree cooled office at the gilded Republican Palace in Baghdad in 2003—or even at the age of 41, which is precisely what Senor will be on Election Day this year. Senor, who wore a Bush-Cheney t-shirt at a Thanksgiving road race in Iraq, has been whispering in Mitt’s ear since 2006, when he trekked to Boston to meet the then-unannounced candidate.

Beyond Senor’s stint at what even Republicans brand the catastrophic CPA, he has also written about the Middle East, though never anything beyond bland op-eds, sometimes in defense of Iraq policies. He and his brother-in-law Saul Singer, an Israeli journalist, published a 2009 best seller called Start-up Nation, celebrated by Romney and Senor’s friend Bibi Netanyahu. The public relations firm that promoted it, Marshall, Nappi & Schultz, also handled The War Over Iraq: America’s Mission and Saddam’s Tyranny, which Senor’s mentor Bill Kristol wrote with Lawrence F. Kaplan in 2003 (timed to appear at the same moment as “shock and awe”); as well as books by Islamophobes like David Horowitz and Nonie Darwish, and even Romney’s former Bain partner Ed Conard.

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