Forget Democracy

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There are people vigorously promoting America's entry into new wars in Syria and Iran. Many of them eagerly advocated the U.S. aggressions against Iraq and Afghanistan. Despite the failures of these wars to achieve the projected goals, they are urging new U.S. wars. They are the neoconservatives. They applaud U.S. military action in places like Libya, Yemen, and Somalia. The neoconservative paradigm also looks favorably upon a U.S. military presence in countries like Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, and the Central African Republic.

Neoconservatives seek democracy almost everywhere, with the choice and emphasis depending on their interpretation of American interests and with lip service to costs. Zachary Selden writes

"The realist school of thought contrasts sharply with the neoconservative camp, whose agenda could not be unfamiliar to Woodrow Wilson. He too sought to remake the international system from a position of relative strength, to spread democracy and the rule of law. It is true that today's [neoconservative] crusaders are not about to place their trust in international institutions to do the job, but the basic ideals are similar in that they seek to use American power to reshape the global environment in the name of a set of liberal democratic ideals."

However, democracy is a failure in America and there are good reasons why it is a failure. (See Hoppe here.) Democracy doesn't produce wealth. (For some evidence, see here.) Capitalism does. Capitalism involves free markets, the division of labor, the price system, the search for and making of profits, and well-defined and secure property rights. Democracy, especially of the unlimited variety that America increasingly resembles, involves endless political battles over the gains in wealth that capitalism produces. These battles and the resulting laws (supported by both major political parties) destroy capitalism. If liberalism in an economy means capitalism and if liberalism in politics is construed to mean democracy, they are in mortal conflict.

The neoconservative agenda by its expansive and highly challenging nature that involves war and remaking whole countries brings enormous costs without benefits. This is already evident. If I said that the neoconservatives in pushing for new wars have learned nothing from their erroneous aims and methods, I might be partly right, because I think they have little or no understanding of economics and capitalism. I'd also be partly wrong, because these people are intelligent and they know what has happened in these failed wars. It therefore also appears that they do not care what has happened. They are focused on their goals and attempts to reach those goals, no matter what the costs are. Even actual outcomes that are bad and do not achieve their goals do not matter to them. They stubbornly continue to call for more warfare and more interference in other nations.

What goals do the neoconservatives have? I will suggest only one at the moment, and it will be a goal that is much broader and deeper than what Selden has suggested. The most important leaders among the neoconservatives, such as William Kristol, promote American supremacy throughout the world. They want the U.S. to be the sole superpower and to remain the sole superpower. Their goal is the global hegemony of the U.S. See here and here.

If neoconservatives promote democracies, it is in order broadly to replicate the U.S. system and in the process to produce satellites that are compliant allies of the U.S. To achieve global hegemony, the neoconservatives want to build up a worldwide American military organization that dominates every continent along with worldwide economic institutions that tie every country to the U.S. The latter are by nature anti-capitalistic. They are centralized and monopolistic. They are instruments of tyranny run by an elite consisting of people who look just like neoconservatives.

The pro-war coalition has been very successful in getting America into wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan and elsewhere. It's now working on Syria and Iran. Ordinary Americans have nothing to show for these wars. This is because global hegemony is a politico-military concept that does not translate into the generalized economic well-being of Americans. America has gone downhill since getting militarily involved in Iraq and Afghanistan. I challenge any and all neoconservatives to prove that ordinary Americans are better off for having the U.S. government spend 3.7 to 4.4 trillion dollars on these wars in Iraq and Central Asia. The burden of proof is on them because they promoted these wars. I would like to see them prove even that the $115 billion in "assistance" to Israel (over many years) has made ordinary Americans better off. The Congressional Research Service goes into great technical detail about the composition of this aid, but there is not a word about what its benefits are to Americans.

What the pro-war people consistently fail to do while spreading their ideas is to mention the many costs of their policies. These costs include but are not limited to

  • the 1993 Trade Towers bombing
  • the 9/11 catastrophe in 2001
  • the deaths of thousand of American soldiers
  • the injuries, wounds and traumas of many more thousands of American soldiers
  • the deaths and injuries of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghanis
  • trillions of dollars to pay for military and aid expenditures
  • slower economic growth, due to higher taxes and the diversion of labor and capital to war rather than industry
  • discouragement of economic growth by peaceful capitalistic means
  • decreased security within America due to enhanced risks of foreign retaliation
  • police state measures at airports and borders
  • police state measures in all forms of transportation
  • the militarization of domestic police
  • the setting aside of rights of Americans
  • the assumption of power by the president and rule by executive order
  • the ignoring of constitutional declarations of war
  • the movement toward use of military forces within America to bypass and weaken the Posse Comitatus Act
  • the use of torture and rendition, indefinite detentions and secret prisons
  • the claim to and use of a presidential power of assassination, including use against American citizens
  • a government heavily in debt
  • a depreciating currency
  • violations of international laws, mores and standards that make war criminals out of American leaders
  • encouragement of violent resistance against the U.S. from domestic dissidents
  • encouragement of violent resistance against the U.S. from foreign sources intent on terror, revenge, etc.
  • encouragement of resistance against the U.S. from nuclear-armed nations like Russia and China

The near total silence of the neoconservatives and others who are promoting these wars regarding these costs suggests to me that they are blind to and ignorant of these costs and that they just do not give a darn about the costs. They don't experience these costs personally, indeed they experience benefits from their activities, and so they simply ignore the costs or shuffle over them quickly in their minds and hearts.

Here in America, the people within the pro-war coalition achieve success in fomenting wars through working the American political system. Working that system involves well-paid and/or comfortable positions in education, government, political campaigns, foundations and journalism. It involves, writing, advising, consulting, and speeches. It involves media appearances, articles, books, reports, letters, press reports, and statements. All of this activity is intellectual in nature, but it is not primarily or solely in the service of scholarship and research to discover truths. It is not scientific research. Instead, what is called research frequently is to promote political goals, to write possible laws, and to influence congressional legislation. For example, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies tells us that

"As part of a comprehensive strategy to prevent Iran's leaders from acquiring nuclear weapons, continuing to support terrorist acts and oppressing their own people, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies conducts extensive research on ways to deny the Iranian regime the profits of its energy sector."

Within the pro-war coalition, individual motives, opinions and judgments vary. People vary their positions over time. These variations are unimportant, but because of the variance some pro-war people may have occasionally been critical in the past of some of the positions of other pro-war people. They may also have been critical at one time or another of government officials who in other respects have done exactly as they desired. The pro-war people almost surely have justified their positions using different rationales. None of these frictions, differences, contradictions and variations are major as compared with the fact that they have urged the U.S. government to make war and have successfully convinced it to do so. These intramural differences, interesting as they may be, are a source of confusion to observers. They should not be allowed to obscure the main fact: there is a strong coalition for war in this nation. The coalition has definite aims but they are deeply flawed. What they claim is good for America and Americans is not good at all.

This article lists a few of these advocates of war, 56 of them to be exact. These 56 want the U.S. to intervene in Syria. These 56 people wrote an open letter to President Obama on Feb. 17, 2012 in which they urged him to take certain immediate actions:

"Immediately establish safe zones within Syrian territory, as well as no-go zones for the Assad regime’s military and security forces, around Homs, Idlib, and other threatened areas…"

"Establish contacts with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and, in conjunction with allies in the Middle East and Europe, provide a full range of direct assistance, including self-defense aid to the FSA."

"Improve U.S. coordination with political opposition groups and provide them with secure communications technologies and other assistance that will help to improve their ability to prepare for a post-Assad Syria."

"Work with Congress to impose crippling U.S. and multilateral sanctions on the Syrian government, especially on Syria’s energy, banking, and shipping sectors."

These actions amount to the U.S. making war in Syria. They do not ask Congress to declare such a war. Instead they ask the President to initiate the war on his own authority.

This letter emanates from two organizations: The Foreign Policy Initiative and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD). William Kristol is behind both of these intellectually and organizationally; major funding sources are provided in the linked article.

The 56 people who signed the letter are listed below in an appendix.

Some of these people are familiar names. Many others you and I have never heard of before. In a way, that's the point. Although these and others like them are the people influencing government policies, and although they often have been in government themselves, you and I and most Americans have never heard of them much less control them or influence them.

Who wants the U.S. to make war in Syria? We have here a sample of 56 people. There are many ways to characterize them. There appear to be about 7 from either Syria or the Middle East. The exact number isn't important. We'd expect such a contingent who are trying to get the U.S. directly involved.

Beyond this group is another substantial sub-group, namely, pro-Israel Jews. There are around 22 in this group, possibly a few more, possibly a few less. It is of obvious importance to the interests of Americans to know that a concentrated group of pro-Israel Jews is promoting U.S. entry into another Middle Eastern country. The same thing happened with Iraq, with such neoconservatives as Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and Douglas Feith leading the charge. America is not Israel. The interests of Americans are not the interests of the State of Israel or of specific interest groups within Israel. America should not be led, pushed, or drawn into wars either by Jewish voters in America or by pro-Israel interests who concentrate in offices in Washington to generate articles, promote their agenda and broadcast their views widely. When this happens, as it has, it provides an example of the negative fallout of an unlimited democracy.

The third and largest group that overlaps the pro-Israel Jews consists of neoconservatives, some of whom probably just call themselves conservatives. This takes up most of those who signed the letter. It is no surprise to find neoconservatives again calling for the U.S. to make war.

Of equal interest to the latter breakdown are four other properties of the signatories. First, they are unrepresentative of America by almost any criterion one might name. Second, they move in an axis consisting of government, universities, foundations and quite often the literary world. Third, their habitat is primarily Washington D.C. Fourth, they are highly-educated intellectuals who are heavily engaged in writing and speaking for a living.

Strong support for war is not a new feature for intellectuals. Randolph Bourne observed it in 1917. I offer some conjectures. These are not central to the thesis of this article. Many scribblers are not content with being scribblers. Some who are not really creative or talented scribblers look for a different way to use what talents and skills they have in order to get ahead financially, to hobnob with those in power, to influence them, to make history, and even to exercise power. I conjecture that war is a means of vicarious power for some intellectuals. American dominance is a substitute for a deity to worship. Global hegemony is a springboard for moral crusades. It serves as a vicarious means of redemption for its proponents.

Regardless of these conjectures, I do not suspect these 56 people of duplicity. I suspect that they are doing what they believe in. However, I believe that what they are promoting is wrong. A policy of endless global wars by Americans for the "American system" and with little or no regard for the costs being imposed upon Americans and foreign peoples is wrong

Neoconservative intellectuals do not have the best interests of Americans at heart. I seriously wonder if such a concern ever enters their minds, for they hardly ever push or advertise their policies in terms of what they concretely do for Americans. When they do, do they do so with a true understanding? In promoting global hegemony, William Kristol and Robert Kagan write in 1996:

"Somehow most Americans have failed to notice that they have never had it so good. They have never lived in a world more conducive to their fundamental interests in a liberal international order, the spread of freedom and democratic governance, an international economic system of free-market capitalism and free trade, and the security of Americans not only to live within their own borders but to travel and do business safely and without encumbrance almost anywhere in the world."

Most of this thinking was mistaken when it was written, and it's even less the case today after the U.S. government adopted the neoconservative agenda and attempted to actualize global hegemony. Americans did not have it that good in 1996. Income growth was slowing down decade after decade and that slowdown has continued. What was and is conducive to economic well-being is capitalism, not "democratic governance". Freedom has been deteriorating in America. It was nowhere near what it should have been in 1996. Freedom is even more abridged today. Neoconservatism is partly responsible. Furthermore, freedom cannot be equated to democratic governance or linked with it. Kristol and Kagan were also wrong to characterize the international economic system as one of free-market capitalism and free trade. Those are good goals but the system then and now is far from those goals.

This passage illustrates what I argued earlier, namely, that neoconservatives do not understand economic matters and consider them secondary to politics and power.

Kristol and Kagan were more accurate when they observed that Americans were secure here and relatively secure traveling elsewhere "without encumbrance". However, under the neoconservative policies, unencumbered travel is no longer the case.

Neoconservative intellectuals frequently propagate propaganda that calls for war and that disregards its costs. They are out for themselves, plus they are out for a vision of American political supremacy that warms their hearts. As we have seen, a large number are out for Israel, not America.

If neoconservative intellectuals as a group have any understanding of free markets, wealth accumulation, private property rights and their protection, capitalism and Austrian economics, I have yet to see it. They seem almost entirely locked up in a world of their own that revolves around politics, international relations and power. That world is real. It cannot be ignored. But do the neoconservatives even have a correct take on how America should proceed in such a world? It appears that they do not.

APPENDIX

I've used the internet to find out what the people who signed the Feb. 17, 2012 letter do for a living and/or some biographical information. After each name comes a quotation with a portion of that information. The links over their names provide the sources of these quotes and a more complete biography. After a few of the names, I provide a few further facts and comments; but this article doesn't go into detail about each person. The biographical information should not in all cases be taken as providing an accurate picture of a person's actual accomplishments, capacities or capabilities. It is common for vitas to be padded and bios to be exaggerated in order to present a glowing portrait of a person's life and work.

By reading this material and occasionally linking on through to see pictures of these people, you will get an idea of what persons, interests and interest groups are promoting U.S. intervention. It is by no means a complete picture, but you will see a sample of people in the pro-war coalition, and you will get a feel for how it operates.

Khairi Abaza "Khairi Abaza is a scholar at FDD [Foundation for the Defense of Democracies], noted for his focus on democratic reform in the Arab world, the spread of terrorism, and the influence of the media on politics."

FDD is a neoconservative organization. The FDD "team" or "Leadership Council" consists of R. James Woolsey (Chairman, former Director of the CIA), Steve Forbes (the CEO of Forbes Magazine), Bill Kristol (the editor of The Weekly Standard), Richard Carlson (former Director of the Voice of America), Judge Louis J. Freeh (former Director of the FBI), Joseph Lierberman (U.S. Senator), Dr. Paula A. Dobriansky (former Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs), Max M. Kampelman (former Ambassador, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom), and Robert u2018Bud' McFarlane (former National Security Advisor).

Who funds FDD? They say "FDD is funded by a diverse group of individual philanthropists and foundations. FDD has also received grants from the U.S. State Department." But also see here.

Ammar Abdulhamid "Ammar Abdulhamid is a leading Syrian human rights and pro-democracy activist and author. An FDD fellow and member of FDD's Syria Working Group, Mr. Abdulhamid is also the founder and director of the Tharwa Foundation, a grassroots organization that works to break the Assad government's information blockade by enlisting a cadre of local activists and citizen journalists to report on sociopolitical issues in Syria."

Hussain Abdul-Hussain "…a journalist and expert on the Middle East. He currently works as a correspondent with the Kuwaiti daily Al Rai…and lives in Washington DC. Hussain Abdul-Hussain worked for the United States Congress-funded Arabic TV, Alhurra, as a news producer.

Tony Badran "Research Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) in Washington, DC. He focuses on Lebanon, Syria and Hezbollah…Mr. Badran's writings appear regularly in a range of publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Forbes.com, National Review Online, ForeignPolicy.com, the Jerusalem Post, the Daily Star, NOW Lebanon, and the Mideast Monitor…"

Paul Berman "…a leading writer on politics and literature whose articles and reviews have appeared in numerous publications…Berman argued that the NATO war in the former Yugoslavia in 1999 was justified by the doctrine of u2018liberal interventionism': an intervention intended to rescue endangered populations from extreme oppression and to promote liberal and democratic freedom. He looked on the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and the 2003 invasion of Iraq in the same light."

Max Boot "Max Boot (born September 12, 1969) is an American author, consultant, editorialist, lecturer, and military historian…He has been a prominent advocate for American power. He once described his ideas as u2018American might to promote American ideals.'"

Ellen Bork "Ellen Bork is the Director, Democracy and Human Rights at the Foreign Policy Initiative. Before taking this position, Ms. Bork was the Senior Programs Manager for Human Rights at Freedom House a democracy promotion organization based in Washington, D.C. From 1996 to 1998, Bork was the Senior Professional Staff member for Asia and the Pacific at the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations."

The Foreign Policy Initiative is another neoconservative organization. The four persons on its board are Eric S. Edelman, Robert Kagan, William Kristol and Dan Senor. Edelman in November of 2011 co-authored an article "Why Obama should take out Iran's nuclear program". Kagan and Kristol are well-known and very influential neoconservatives. Senor is apparently a Romney advisor at present.

L. Paul Bremer "Bremer arrived in Iraq as the U.S. Presidential Envoy on May 2003, and on May 11 replaced lieutenant general Jay Garner as Director of the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance. In June, the Office was transformed into the Coalition Provisional Authority, and Bremer, as U.S. Administrator of Iraq, became the chief executive authority in the country.

"As the top civil administrator of the former Coalition Provisional Authority, Bremer was permitted to rule by decree. Among his first and most notable decrees were Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 1 which banned the Ba’ath party in all forms and Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 2 dismantled the Iraqi Army."

Bremer's order to de-Ba'athify Iraq was a mistake. For some explanation of its differences from de-Nazification, see here.

Matthew R. J. Brodsky "Matthew RJ Brodsky is the Director of Policy for the Jewish Policy Center and the editor of the JPC’s journal, inFOCUS Quarterly. Before joining the JPC, Mr. Brodsky was the Senior Geopolitical Analyst for IntelliWhiz LLC and a Legacy Heritage Fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council. He has briefed and advised members of Congress, the Department of State, the Department of Defense, Special Operations Command, and the National Security Council. A specialist in Middle East affairs and Arab politics, he holds a Master of Arts degree from Tel Aviv University in Middle East History."

Elizabeth Cheney According to another source, "Elizabeth Cheney, the daughter of Dick Cheney, is an outspoken and controversial proponent of hardline U.S. foreign and domestic policies on the u2018war on terror.' During the George W. Bush presidency, Cheney worked in the State Department overseeing Middle East policy. After the election of Barack Obama, she became a standard-bearer for the militarist agenda pursued by her father during the Bush years, founding a right-wing lobbying group called Keep America Safe and serving as a go-to pundit on conservative media outlets like Fox News."

Seth Cropsey is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.

Toby Dershowitz "As FDD's Vice President for Government Relations and Strategy, she engages in policy roadmapping that identifies the conceptual issues and the strategy necessary to move the dial in the policy arena."

James Denton "James Denton is the publisher and editor of the bimonthly print journal World Affairs and its online daily edition at WorldAffairsJournal.org."

Mark Dubowitz "Mark Dubowitz is executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington D.C., where he leads projects on sanctions, nonproliferation, and countering electronic repression."

Nicholas Eberstadt "Nicholas Eberstadt is a political economist who holds the Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI)."

Eric S. Edelman "Eric Steven Edelman (born 1951) is a former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey (2003–2005), former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Finland (1998–2001), and former Principal Deputy Assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affairs (2001–2003)."

Jamie M. Fly "Jamie Fly has served as the Executive Director of the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) since its founding in early 2009. Prior to joining FPI, Mr. Fly served in the Bush administration at the National Security Council (2008-2009) and in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (2005-2008). He was Director for Counterproliferation Strategy at the National Security Council, where his portfolio included the Iranian nuclear program, Syria, missile defense, chemical weapons, proliferation finance, and other counterproliferation issues."

Reuel Marc Gerecht "Reuel Marc Gerecht is a senior fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies…He was previously a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the director of the Middle East Initiative at the Project for the New American Century. Earlier, he served as a specialist at the CIA’s Directorate of Operations."

On July 11, 2012, Gerecht wrote a Wall Street Journal piece titled "To Topple Assad, Unleash the CIA".

Abe Greenwald "Abe Greenwald is senior editor of Commentary. His work has appeared in various publications, and he is a regular contributor to the Commentary blog."

Greenwald endorsed John McCain in 2008 in the course of which he penned these words: "Simply consider Iraq. Senator McCain has the distinction on Capital Hill of being both the most energetic supporter of the Iraq War and the first, most vocal critic of the Rumsfeld strategy. He actually believed in the importance of the cause, and therefore the necessity of victory. A liberated state is not a goal to be scrapped when things go wrong; it's a principle worthy of unwavering stamina and ingenuity."

John P. Hannah "John Peter Hannah (born January 5, 1962), is a senior fellow at the Institute for Near East Policy, a Washington, DC think tank which was founded in 1985. He is a former national security adviser to U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney from 2005 to 2009."

William Inboden "William Inboden is a Distinguished Scholar at the Strauss Center for International Security and Law and an Assistant Professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas-Austin…Previously he served as Senior Director for Strategic Planning on the National Security Council at the White House…"

Bruce Pitcairn Jackson "He has served as the Chairman of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) and as chair of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq (CLI). He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

"According to John B. Judis, Jackson played a key role both in establishing the CLI and in lining up Eastern European nations to join the Bush administration’s coalition of the willing that supported the invasion of Iraq. u2018In the late 1990s, while working for Lockheed Martin, Jackson avidly promoted the expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe,' he writes. u2018This year Jackson was able to parlay his NATO connections into support for the administration’s war plans for Iraq.'"

Ash Jain "Ash Jain, a former member of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, is a Non-Resident Fellow with the German Marshall Fund of the United States…Mr. Jain focused on a range of strategic challenges facing the United States and its allies. In addition to covering political developments related to Iran and the Middle East, he analyzed prospects for strengthening multilateral alliances and partnerships and the future of the international system."

Kenneth Jensen This may be Kenneth D. M. Jensen, Associate Director of the Economic Warfare Institute, based in Washington, D.C. I'm not sure.

Allison Johnson (No information.)

Sirwan Kajjo "He is a freelance journalist and a human rights activist. He now lives in Washington, D.C. after being granted asylum in 2008. He has worked as a reporter for Kurdistan TV in their Beirut Office. He worked with the Tharwa Foundation, which is a Washington-based non-profit organization dedicated to democracy and human rights in Syria. Sirwan is now a freelance journalist based in Washington, DC. Sirwan has published many news articles and research on Syrian Kurdish politics."

Lawrence F. Kaplan "Lawrence F. Kaplan is editor of Entanglements: Arguing America and the World, a website of The New Republic devoted to foreign policy…"

Irina Krasovskaya "Dr. Krasovskaya is the founder and President of u2018We Remember Foundation,' a civic initiative that seeks justice for the disappeared and other victims of political repression in Belarus."

William Kristol "In 2003, Kristol and Lawrence F. Kaplan wrote, The War Over Iraq: America’s Mission and Saddam’s Tyranny, in which the authors analyzed the Bush Doctrine and the history of US-Iraq relations. In the book, Kristol and Kaplan provided support and justifications for war in Iraq.

"He also served as a foreign policy advisor for Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign.

"Kristol is a harsh critic of Texas congressman and presidential candidate, Dr. Ron Paul-(R) and his supporters, he has been quoted as stating that he u2018would be happy if Paul ( and his supporters) were purged from the GOP'. He is a sharp critic of anyone who questions the distributions of taxpayer money to Israel."

Michael Ledeen "He is a former consultant to the United States National Security Council, the United States Department of State, and the United States Department of Defense. He has also served as a special adviser to the United States Secretary of State. He held the Freedom Scholar chair at the American Enterprise Institute where he was a scholar for twenty years and now holds the similarly named chair at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies."

"Writing in The Nation, Jack Huberman, who describes Ledeen as u2018the most influential and unabashed warmonger of our time', attributes these quotes to Ledeen:

  • u2018the level of casualties (in Iraq) is secondary'
  • u2018we are a warlike people (Americans)…we love war'
  • u2018Change — above all violent change — is the essence of human history'
  • u2018the only way to achieve peace is through total war'
  • u2018The purpose of total war is to permanently force your will onto another people'
  • u2018Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business'"

Tod Lindberg "Tod Lindberg is an American political expert and a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. His research focuses on political theory, international relations, national security policy, and American politics. He also serves as the editor of Policy Review, the Hoover Institution's Washington, D.C.–based bimonthly journal. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations."

Herbert I. London "Herbert I. London is President Emeritus of Hudson Institute."

Clifford D. May "Clifford D. May is the President of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, created immediately following the 9/11 attacks on the United States."

Ann Marlowe "Ann Marlowe, a Hudson Institute Visiting Fellow, is a writer and businesswoman based in New York City. A frequent traveler to Afghanistan — who has embedded with the U.S. Army numerous times — Marlowe writes on Afghanistan’s politics, economy, culture, and U.S. counterinsurgency strategy for the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, the New York Post, The Daily Beast, Newsweek, and other outlets. In 2011 she made four reporting trips to Libya, spending almost four months in the country, and returned in March-April 2012."

Ms. Marlowe has downplayed the antics of American soldiers in Afghanistan, writing "Men at war demonize their enemy and enact their triumph over him symbolically. That is part of the psychology that makes them able to kill." Is it unfair of me to point out that there is something else about the psychology of killing that severely affects the killer? Nicholas D. Kristof writes "An American soldier dies every day and a half, on average, in Iraq or Afghanistan. Veterans kill themselves at a rate of one every 80 minutes. More than 6,500 veteran suicides are logged every year — more than the total number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined since those wars began."

Robert C. McFarlane "Robert Carl u2018Bud' McFarlane (born July 12, 1937) was a National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan, serving from 1983 through 1985.

"After a career in the Marines, he became part of the Reagan administration, and was a leading architect of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) for defending the United States against missile attack. Subsequently, he was involved in the Iran-Contra affair."

Joshua Muravchik "Joshua Muravchik is a long-standing proponent of interventionist U.S. foreign policies who has played an important role in shaping neoconservative ideology for decades. An erstwhile Socialist Party activist, Muravchik has been affiliated with numerous political pressure groups, rightist think tanks, and organizations associated with the u2018Israel lobby' in the United States.

Martin Peretz "Martin H. u2018Marty' Peretz…is an American publisher. Formerly an assistant professor at Harvard University, he purchased The New Republic in 1974 and took editorial control soon afterwards."

Danielle Pletka "Danielle Pletka is the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank based in Washington, DC."

"On the use of torture, she told the BBC:

u2018I’m not a big fan of torture. Unfortunately, there are times in war when it is necessary to do things in a way that is absolutely and completely abhorrent to most good, decent people. I don’t want to say that the United States has engaged routinely in such practices, because I don’t think that it is routine by any standard. But that said, if it is absolutely imperative to find something out at that moment, then it is imperative to find something out at that moment, and Club Med is not the place to do it.'"

If Pletka can't condemn torture out of hand, I hate to think about what sort of treatment that she would find appropriate for the U.S. government to use against its own citizens.

John Podhoretz He "is an American neoconservative columnist for the New York Post, the editor of Commentary magazine, the author of several books on politics, and a former presidential speechwriter."

Stephen Rademaker "Stephen Geoffrey Rademaker is an attorney, lobbyist and former Bush Administration government official."

Karl Rove "Karl Christian Rove (born December 25, 1950) is an American political consultant and policy advisor. He was Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff during the George W. Bush administration until Rove’s resignation on August 31, 2007."

Jonathan Schanzer "Jonathan Schanzer is an American author & scholar in Middle Eastern studies, and vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies."

Randy Scheunemann "Randall J u2018Randy' Scheunemann (born January 12, 1960) is an American neoconservative lobbyist. He is the President of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, which was created by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), of which he is a board member. He was Trent Lott’s National Security Aide and was an advisor to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Iraq. He is a paid lobbyist for the country of Georgia and was 2008 Presidential candidate John McCain’s foreign-policy aide."

I've written about Scheunemann before

"Randy Scheunemann was a key figure in drafting this legislation [Iraq Liberation Act, 1998], and his hawkish (neocon) connections are spread far and wide, including links to the world’s largest military contractor Lockheed Martin. He headed a lobbyist firm that represented Lockheed Martin and was President of The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq alongside Chairman Bruce P. Jackson, a former vice-president of Lockheed Martin. Scheunemann, a consultant and advisor to Donald Rumsfeld on Iraq sometime in 2001/2002, joined with William Kristol and others in supporting military intervention in Iraq. His public statements stress moral and other reasons for the Iraq intervention. A board member of the Project for a New American Century, Scheunemann like all of those associated with PNAC automatically assumes that American Empire is both right and prudent. In his work as an aide to Trent Lott, Jesse Helms, John McCain, and Bob Dole, he has been associated with American efforts in Panama, Somalia, Korea, Bosnia, and Haiti as well as with the expansion of NATO."

Gary J. Schmitt "Gary James Schmitt served as executive director (1999–2001) and president (2002–2005) of the New Citizenship Project. He was the executive director of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) from 1998 to 2005. He is now a resident scholar and director of the American Enterprise Institute's Program on Advanced Strategic Studies."

"Schmitt helped found and direct the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a key neoconservative letterhead group formed in 1997 that played a leading role advocating war in Iraq."

Daniel S. Senor "He is also a Fox News contributor and a frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal among other publications. He is co-author the book Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle, about the economy of Israel and globalization in the Middle East. Senor is most noted for his former position as chief spokesperson for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq."

Lee Smith "Lee Smith is a writer based at the neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) known for his belligerent defense of hawkish U.S. and Israeli policies. Formerly a visiting fellow at the Hudson Institute, Smith contributes to several media outlets, including Tablet Magazine, the Weekly Standard, and the Wall Street Journal, where he frequently lambasts the purported weakness of liberals in confronting terrorism, attacks writers who are critical of Israeli policies as being u2018Jew-baiters,' and promotes hardline views of Middle East peace."

Henry D. Sokolski "Henry D. Sokolski is the Executive Director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, a Washington-based nonprofit organization founded in 1994 to promote a better understanding of strategic weapons proliferation issues among policymakers, scholars and the media. He was appointed by the U.S. Congress to serve on the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and terrorism, which filed its final report in December 2008."

Daniel Twining "Daniel Twining is Senior Fellow for Asia at the German Marshall Fund of the United States…He previously served as a Member of the Secretary of State's Policy Planning Staff, where he was responsible for South Asia and regional issues in East Asia; as the Foreign Policy Advisor to Senator John McCain, for whom he handled foreign and defense policy in the United States Senate; and as a staff member of the U.S. Trade Representative. Dr. Twining has also served as senior policy advisor and foreign policy spokesman for several presidential campaigns."

Peter Wehner "Peter Wehner is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC), a neoconservative-led organization founded in the 1970s that promotes an increased role for Christianity in public policy. A former advisor in the George W. Bush White House, Wehner's track record also includes stints in the Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations. Wehner has worked with a number of other rightist groups, including the William Bennett-founded Empower America and the Hudson Institute, and he has been closely associated with leading neoconservative figures like William Kristol."

"Although his writings often focus on domestic policy and Christian morality, Wehner is a reliable hawk on foreign affairs, at times teaming up with like-minded activists to push militarist overseas policies. In September 2011, for example, Wehner joined a coterie of Iraq War promoters in signing an open letter to President Barack Obama that called for maintaining a large U.S. military presence in Iraq after the end of 2011."

My comment is that a focus on Christianity and Christian morality is no guarantee of anything.

Kenneth R. Weinstein "Kenneth R. Weinstein is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Hudson Institute. He oversees the institute’s research, project management, external affairs, marketing, and government relations efforts."

Leon Wieseltier "A widely recognized writer of books, articles, and essays on everything from religion to culture, Leon Wieseltier, literary editor of the New Republic, is generally considered a political moderate even though his views on foreign affairs tend to veer to the neoconservative extreme, especially when dealing with Israel and the Middle East. He has supported the work of hawkish advocacy groups, including the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) and the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq."

R. James Woolsey "Robert James Woolsey, Jr. (born September 21, 1941) is a foreign policy specialist and former Director of Central Intelligence and head of the Central Intelligence Agency (February 5, 1993–January 10, 1995)."

Khawla Yusuf Yusuf is a human-rights activist who fled Syria in 2005 with her husband Ammar Abdulhamid. They founded the Tharwa Project in 2003 in Syria and later added the Tharwa Foundation.

Dov S. Zakheim "Dov S. Zakheim is a former official of the United States government…He was part of the Project for the New American Century."

"Dov Zakheim's most recent book, A Vulcan's Tale: How the Bush Administration Mismanaged the Reconstruction of Afghanistan (Brookings Institution Press, 2011), discusses the Bush administration’s missed opportunities and struggles to manage two wars, particularly the seemingly endless conflict in Afghanistan."

"In October 2011 he was mentioned as adviser on the Middle East for Republican Presidential contender Mitt Romney."

Robert Zarate "Prior to joining FPI [The Foreign Policy Initiative], Robert Zarate worked as a legislative assistant for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, focusing on foreign affairs, national security, homeland security and immigration, and appropriations issues (2009-2011), and earlier as a legislative fellow on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade (2009)."

Radwan Ziadeh "Radwan Ziadeh is a Senior Fellow at the U.S Institute of Peace in Washington D.C, and Fellow at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) in Washington D.C."

Ziadeh belongs to the Syrian dissident/rebel group known as the Syrian National Council. He has previously supported a NATO-led intervention in Syria. Ziadeh is shown here (holding the white paper) on Hillary Clinton's left:

Michael S. Rozeff [send him mail] is a retired Professor of Finance living in East Amherst, New York. He is the author of the free e-book Essays on American Empire: Liberty vs. Domination and the free e-book The U.S. Constitution and Money: Corruption and Decline.

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