Thursday, February 28, 2013

Neocon ‘Veto’ Fails to Block Hagel

Yet, despite their loss of standing within the Executive Branch, the neocons can still be counted on to push violent solutions to diplomatic problems. Indeed, their voices may become even more strident if they see Obama’s second term seeking more multilateral solutions and more “realist” approaches to the rest of the world.

The neocons may still raise their voices and type out angry op-eds, but their hands are off the levers of military power more so than we have seen since the 1970s.

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John Stossel VS. Neocon John Bolton: The War Over the Drone War

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

When Neocon Heroes Die

This reviewer, like every reviewer of Unhitched in the liberal media thus far, outs himself as a votary of the Hitchens personality cult. “Hitchens was a friend, mentor and neighbor of mine,” he writes, as if to reassure the reader of his objectivity in this matter. He is also, in the interests of fuller disclosure, a neoconservative writer for the Weekly Standard — just the sort of bargain basement intellectual company that Hitchens kept in his last decade. If Unhitched is written in the style of a “prosecution,” this review is an indictment.

What am I charged with? In a series of increasingly shrill non-sequiturs, I am condemned for every seditious affront to empire ever confected: anti-Americanism, apologia for the bad guys, sympathy for the devil, etc. For example, I have placed myself “on the side of the late and unlamented Argentine military junta,” because I deemed the British war an imperialist one. Oh, well. Sorry about that. For no obvious reason, I am also deemed to believe that “a noble anti-imperialism inevitably arises out of anti-Americanism,” whatever the latter term means. Again, duly chastened.

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Monday, February 25, 2013

How Reagan Neocon Aides Planted the Seeds of Iran-Contra

Led by neoconservative officials within the Reagan administration like National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane in the early 1980s, the U.S. endorsed a third-party deal to send weapons to Iran just six months after the hostage crisis ended there. The move—meant to align American policy with Israel’s desires to sell weapons to Iran while it was at war with Iraq—ultimately helped plant the seeds for the later Iran-Contra scandal, newly released documents from the National Archives reveal.

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Neocon John Bolton Accuses Libertarians Of ‘Defending The Confederacy’ By Disagreeing With Obama's Drone Strikes

The other conservative featured in the program was John Bolton, former Bush official and he of the “neocon” variety. Last year, Bolton’s appearance on Stossel’s show (full disclosure, again: Stossel is my former boss) resulted in a bit of controversy. But despite the not-so-warm reception last year, Bolton returned again to discuss why he believes a neoconservative foreign policy is best; and continue his defense of President Obama‘s “sensible” targeted assassination program. Source

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Another Neocon Mag Down the Drain?

Unlike my old friend David Franke, I cannot feel nostalgic for the dying Human Events. I first subscribed to it in the 1960s, but for one year only, because I found it so disappointing. In the 1940s and 1950s, until it was sold, it was Old Right and non-interventionist, as David notes. The sale, to New Rightist warmongers, was arranged by spook-Wall Street lawyer and later CIA director Bill Casey, who had also incorporated National Review. A very bad guy. Imagine, Human Events had once published such men as Frank Chodorov, but spook Bill Buckley hated him, and also had him defenestrated from ISI, which he had founded. The original name, Intercollegiate Society of Individualists, was changed to Intercollegiate Studies Institute. But as important as this unfortunate history is, the Old Right is back, thanks to Murray Rothbard and Ron Paul, and the millions they influence. The bloodthirsty neocons may have the establishment. We have the cause of peace and freedom, and the future. Source

Neocon Hack Ann Coulter Attacks Libertarians

Friday, February 22, 2013

David Allen Coe and the Neocon's Hagel Hatred

Regarding my observation that extreme elements in the pro-Israel lobby are behind the campaign to stop the confirmation of Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense, my friend wrote:

"I think you might be off on this one. The neocons hate Hagel because of the Iraq war. They might have been using the Israel issue to go after him, but I don't think Israel is the root of the matter."

The root of the matter is, indeed, Iraq: the centerpiece of the muscular foreign policy advanced by the now-defunct Project for the New American Century, founded by William Kristol and other neocon architects of the Iraq War.

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

How Neocons Messed Up the Mideast

Newly available documents reveal how Ronald Reagan's neocon aides cleared the way for Israeli arm sales to Iran in 1981, shortly after Iran freed 52 U.S. hostages whose captivity doomed Jimmy Carter's reelection. The move also planted the seeds of the Iran-Contra scandal, reports Robert Parry.

Just six months after Iran freed 52 Americans hostages in 1981, senior Reagan administration officials secretly endorsed third-party weapons sales to Iran, a move to align U.S. policy with Israeli desires to sell arms to the Islamic republic then at war with Iraq, according to documents recently released by the National Archives.

This Israeli arms pipeline to Iran already was functioning at the time of the policy shift on July 21, 1981. Three days earlier, on July 18, an Argentine plane strayed off course and crashed (or was shot down) inside the Soviet Union exposing Israel's secret arms shipments to Iran, which apparently had been going on for months.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Which will prevail– latest neocon charge on Hagel over Israel, or D.C.’s fatigue over delay?

The delaying of Chuck Hagel's confirmation in the Senate last Thursday gave neoconservatives an opportunity to dig up further evidence against him, we were told; and in the hours after that filibuster a new claim has emerged against him: that during a Q&A after a 2007 speech he described the State Department as an "adjunct" of the Israeli government. (Something less than what Saturday Night Live said of the US Senate...)

Will the latest charge be enough to sink Hagel? Or will the merits of the alleged statement be debated seriously, at a time when the United States can't lift its finger against the Israeli settlements? I say No to both questions. Everyone is now so sick of the entire Hagel charade and so wants it to be done with, that the latest allegation will bounce aside. I doubt that Democrats will take this on; they will be satisfied by Chuck Hagel's Jan. 15 assurances to Chuck Schumer that he is on Israel's side forever.

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Syria: Reality Overwhelms Neocon Dreams

The neocon dream of the Syrian people rising up to overthrow President Bashir al-Assad and replacing him with a Western-friendly secular democracy is turning into a nightmare for them as it becomes increasingly obvious that Islamists are clearly gaining control of the Syrian revolution and the government that replaces al-Assad is as unlikely to be any more friendly to Israel and the US than al-Assad was. Indeed, if anything, it’s beginning to look as though it’s a case of ‘out of the frying pan and into the fire’ as far as the Israelis and the neocons are concerned to the point where the neocons are now openly suggesting that the US should intervene and fight the rebels if it looks like the jihadists are likely to dominate a new government in Syria when and if al-Assad falls.
Clearly the neocons haven’t learnt from the outcomes of any of the Arab Spring revolutions which all started off being supported by the neocons as part of their push to ‘democratise’ the Middle East yet nearly all ended up being condemned by the neocons as each revolution turned to a neocon nightmare when Islamists dominated elections. In short, the people used their new-found democracy to reject Western style democracy.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

How Neocons Messed Up the Mideast

Just six months after Iran freed 52 Americans hostages in 1981, senior Reagan administration officials secretly endorsed third-party weapons sales to Iran, a move to align U.S. policy with Israeli desires to sell arms to the Islamic republic then at war with Iraq, according to documents recently released by the National Archives.

This Israeli arms pipeline to Iran already was functioning at the time of the policy shift on July 21, 1981. Three days earlier, on July 18, an Argentine plane strayed off course and crashed (or was shot down) inside the Soviet Union exposing Israel’s secret arms shipments to Iran, which apparently had been going on for months.

Read the entire article

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Disaster, Defiance, and Definitions

Pop Quiz: When is a Neocon Not A Neocon?

Answer. When he’s wrong.

Which is most of the time. And that irks Charles Krauthammer.

Dr. Krauthammer is an interesting character. For some thirty years he’s been a Washington fixture. Trained as a psychiatrist, he became a speechwriter for Vice President Walter Mondale (Sounds reasonable. Eagleton Redux). He then began to write for the Washington Post – once more, feeling right at home, since, at the Post, all abnormal behaviors are deemed normal.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Neocon Take on Rand Paul's Speech

He has them confused. Neocon Jennifer Rubin writes:

Some of what Paul says is simplistic to the point of being misleading. Some of what he says is daft. And some of what he says is says is compelling and important, albeit vague. If he wants to start building credibility he will have to start spelling out what he means; depending on what he does mean, that may be problematic. It is comparatively easy to be a gadfly in the Senate. It is much harder to master detail, present credible legislation and accomplish aims, not simply recite compelling political theory. It is not clear yet which route Rand Paul will choose.   Source

Teaching a Neocon Exactly How WWII Is Different From the War on Terror

The Civil War and World War II were discrete, declared wars against specific enemies who fought the U.S. on geographically predictable battlefields. At Antietam or Normandy, it would have been very difficult for Presidents Lincoln or Roosevelt to abuse their power by killing an innocent American they falsely labeled an enemy combatant -- they didn't send a kill list of individuals into battle, and the odds that a given innocent they wanted to kill would just happen to be there were rather low. Finally, quite apart from every other argument, there was literally no way to afford anyone due process on the battlefield at Antietam or on the beaches of Normandy.

In contrast, the War on Terrorism is a never-ending conflict against an amorphous, un-uniformed enemy fought in secret, often far from any traditional battlefield, with opaque rules of engagement carried out by the CIA rather than the armed forces. If drone strikes are constrained only by a secret executive-branch process wherein any American is treated as an enemy combatant on the mere say-so of a "high-level official," and requires no evidence that the target is planning an attack any time in the near future, it would be very easy for the power to be abused. Lots of innocent people just happen to be walking around on the battlefield in the War on Terror, as it's defined by the CIA, because the battlefield encompasses the whole earth. And it would be very easy to afford guys like Anwar al-Awlaki more due process than Obama has extended -- in that case, the militant cleric likely could've been tried in absentia, convicted, and killed.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Neocon Senators Fill the Airwaves with Petulant Benghazi Tantrums

The greatest Neocon Americans of the Senate, Graham and McCain, are still on Benghazi. Even Bob Schieffer of Face the Nation seems perplexed by their ingrained obtuse obstinacy. As these patriots continue to overlook all the other problems they have caused the middle class and America by voting in lockstep against job bills (and anything that makes sense for the middle class).

Thank god for these brilliant visionary men or our national security would be in the toilet. They know better than anyone how to control terror, and what should have happened in an Arab world loaded with rationality and logic. It is human to error, but also human to focus on the wrong syll-able.

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How Rand Paul Defeated the Neocons

On Wednesday, Senator Rand Paul gave his long awaited foreign policy speech at the Heritage Foundation. In it, he tried to outline a foreign policy vision that is a departure from the foreign policy that has been offered for more than a decade by the GOP. Also in the speech, he tried to distance himself from his father, Ron Paul’s, more radical non-interventionist views. Predictably, both neoconservatives and libertarian non-interventionists were not pleased with the speech. However, Senator Paul’s speech may open up a path for Republicans and conservatives to regain lost credibility on foreign policy and national security issues and tie it into the larger issues of debt and spending.

Senator Paul began the speech with this.
I see the world as it is. I am a realist, not a neoconservative, nor an isolationist.
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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Chuck Hagel and the winter of the neocons’ discontent

On one side are fierce Hagel critics such as McCain and Bill Kristol, Washington’s neocon-in-chief, who refuse to back down from their belief that the Iraq invasion of nearly a decade ago was just, and who continue to support the aggressive projection of U.S. military power abroad, especially in Syria. On the other side are Obama, Hagel, and others who warned—quite presciently—of the pitfalls of that policy, and who are running away from military intervention abroad at full speed, even as they ratchet up the “small footprint” use of drones.

And now the neocon hawks fear that, like Shakespeare’s Richard III, there will be no place for them at all in Obama’s “weak, piping time of peace.” It is truly the winter of their discontent.

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Friday, February 08, 2013

Neocon Tantrums

The hysterics of neoconservative senators has become a cacophony that's pretty similar to a room full of children. It's a series of tantrums that clearly shows they are losing, badly.

Senator Lindsey Graham says the Obama administration should "reconsider" the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense.

Senator Ted Cruz, who already put out edited clips of Hagel in an effort to falsely smear him, now says he needs to see the text of certain paid speeches Hagel gave, even though Hagel has explained that he did not speak from prepared notes at those speeches. Senators Jeff Sessions and James Inhofe lamely float the idea of a filibuster, even though all indications are that they don't have the 60 votes for one.
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Thursday, February 07, 2013

Ron Paul’s Antiwar Tweet Drives Neocon Warmongers into Frenzy

Neocons and faux conservatives have raked former Texas Rep. Ron Paul over the coals following his tweet earlier this week stating “Chris Kyle’s death seems to confirm that ‘he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.’ Treating PTSD at a firing range doesn’t make sense.”

“Ron Paul should be ashamed, should issue an apology and then he should just go away,” wrote an indignant Katie Pavlich on Townhall.

“Just unbelievable and appalling. Can someone be much more insensitive to the death to such a great American patriot?” chimed The Right Scoop.

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As Neocons Defend Obama, Allies Doubt Him on Drones as Never Before

For once, the Obama Administration's drone policy is much in the news. Kill-list overseer John Brennan starts confirmation hearings today to determine whether he'll get to be the next CIA director. Everyone is abuzz about a confidential memo that describes some of the scenarios in which President Obama believes that his underlings are empowered to extrajudicially kill Americans. And it looks like the Senate Intelligence Committee will finally going to see the Office of Legal Counsel opinion that sets forth the legal justification invoked to kill Anwar al-Awlaki (though the Obama Administration intends to keep hiding the legal analysis from the public, as well as Congressional committees that oversee the Pentagon and the Department of Justice).

How is everyone reacting to the unprecedented attention being paid to drone strikes?

Some neoconservatives have suddenly begun defending the president. John Bolton, former ambassador to the UN, says the drone program "appears to be consistent with the policies of the Bush administration," in which he served. Max Boot of Commentary insists Obama's drone memo is a "careful, responsible document." I'd half expect John Yoo to start praising Obama if he weren't busy "turning away in disgust" at the McRib's disappearance from his local McDonald's.
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Tuesday, February 05, 2013

The Winter of the Neocons’ Discontent

Hagel’s most dogged enemies, particularly Kristol, used the nominee’s startlingly weak performance at last week’s confirmation hearing to attack him, yet again, as incompetent. "Has there ever been a more embarrassing confirmation hearing than Hagel’s for a major Cabinet position? For a minor Cabinet position? For a subcabinet position? We don’t know of one," Kristol wrote in his neoconservative magazine, The Weekly Standard, this week. Kristol then attacked Obama and Democrats for being less than "profiles in courage" for supporting him: "Are liberals and Democrats willing to sell their souls for ... Chuck Hagel?"

And yet, as I have written, Hagel's policy views are invariably well-thought-out, and he himself qualifies as quite a profile in courage when it comes to the anti-Iraq war side of history. Obama’s famous dismissal of the Iraq invasion as a “dumb” war, and Hagel’s distinguished record of defiance toward his own party to oppose the war, amount to a living refutation of McCain’s and Kristol’s entire worldview. A decade ago, McCain and Kristol were leading hawks who claimed that Saddam Hussein had connections with al-Qaida and that weapons of mass destruction would certainly be found, and that George W. Bush could do it all and still preside over a strong economy. While Kristol was agitating for war and saying things like, "I think we'll be vindicated when we discover the weapons of mass destruction and when we liberate the people of Iraq" (March 5, 2003), Hagel was warning accurately that there was no evidence of Saddam's links to al-Qaida, that his possession of WMD were in doubt, and that America was in danger of strategic overreach and enraging the Arab world.

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Monday, February 04, 2013

Neocon Slime, Personified

Elliott Abrams, who the hell else?

Neoconservatives deploy baseless accusations of anti-Semitism as frequently as they indulge in nepotism, of course. But that Abrams has, once more, pushed himself to the center of a foreign policy debate is remarkable: The man is, after all, a convicted criminal. And yet, not only was Abrams exempt from serving prison time for his misconduct -- he was later pardoned by President George H.W. Bush, in the days after his loss to Bill Clinton -- but he has since been fully accepted back into the highest echelons of the Republican foreign-policy community. Abrams' bizarre reincarnation as a pseudo-statesman shows that even committing crimes counts as insufficient to merit excommunication from government service.


Saturday, February 02, 2013

The regressive, vacuous ideology of neocons

In the three months since the GOP's trouncing in the 2012 presidential election, the Republican Party has shown numerous signs that it's willing to change course to improve its future fortunes. First, the House GOP crumpled in the fiscal cliff standoff. Then it refused to engage in yet another game of chicken over the debt ceiling. And now Republicans in both houses of Congress appear ready to pursue a bipartisan deal on immigration. Those who care about the future of the party should applaud these developments. But that doesn't mean they'll be sufficient to solve the GOP's problems. On the contrary, Republicans will continue to find themselves at an electoral disadvantage until they break free from the grip of neoconservatism.

Since the term neocon is so often deployed for polemical purposes these days, let's be very precise about what it means. Back in the late 1960s and early '70s, the original neoconservatives — Irving Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, and their colleagues at The Public Interest and Commentary — had two main aims: In domestic affairs, to expose the defects of Great Society social programs and propose more effective (read: less ambitious) alternatives; and in foreign affairs, to counter McGovernite isolationism with hawkish realism, which meant adopting a more confrontational stance vis-à-vis the Soviet Union.

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Hagel Hearing: Twilight of the Neocons Makes Senate Armed Services Committee Dysfunctional

The disgusting bullying of former Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) during his hearing yesterday on his nomination to be Secretary of Defense is demonstrated clearly in the short clip above where Senator Lindsey Graham (R-Closet) asks Hagel to “Name one person, in your opinion, who’s been intimidated by the Israeli lobby.” Hagel said he couldn’t name one. A quick look at this word cloud from the hearing, though, or at this tweet from the Washington Post’s Rajiv Chandrasekaran: “At Hagel hearing, 136 mentions of Israel and 135 of Iran. Only 27 refs to Afghanistan. 2 for Al Qaida. 1 for Mali.” shows that Hagel should be at the top of the list of those intimidated by the Israeli lobby, which yesterday was embodied by the SASC.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Neocon movement unravels as Fox News ratings plummet to 12 year low

Fox News, the defiantly neocon news network which achieved high ratings by keeping its conservative viewers glued to the dial in a constant state of fear, saw those ratings surge to an all time high after Barack Obama became President four years ago. But as of January 2013 those ratings have plummeted, giving back not only all the ground gained during Obama’s first term but sinking even further to levels not seen since 2001, when the network was just a few years old and still finding its early footing. And while Fox still has its core audience of neocon viewers who consider Obama the antichrist, its more moderate conservative viewers have begun to abandon it now that he’s won reelection. So what happened?

Obama’s victory in 2008 gave Fox News the ammunition it needed for a ratings bonanza: the republican party had already spread accusations that Obama was secretly a Muslim, or secretly a socialist, or secretly born in Kenya. And while there was never any evidence of any of these accusations, Fox drove them home every day in the name of keeping and growing its conservative audience. People tend to watch more news when bad things are happening (think 9/11), and so long as Fox could help its white small town viewers feasting on their own fears that there had to be something secretly ungainly about a black president, ratings remained high. Fox claimed it was the only news outlet telling the truth about Obama, and many of its viewers refused to believe any news report unless it came from Fox itself. Obama’s rise was Fox’s gain.

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