Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Oh, oh-- is it infiltration by the enemy sleeze, the neocons?


Liberal Hawks Ally With Project for the New American
Century

Neocons and Liberals Together, Again
Tom Barry, International Relations Center, February
16, 2005


U.S. Army troops from the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry
Regiment take part in a ceremony at Camp Marez, in the
northern Iraqi city of Mosul, Feb. 14. (Photo:
Mauricio Lima / AFP-Getty Images)

The neoconservative Project for the New American
Century (P.N.A.C.) has signaled its intention to
continue shaping the government’s national security
strategy with a new public letter stating that the
“U.S. military is too small for the responsibilities
we are asking it to assume.” Rather than reining in
the imperial scope of United States national security
strategy as set forth by the first Bush
administration, P.N.A.C. and the letter’s signatories
call for increasing the size of America’s global
fighting machine.

The Jan. 28 P.N.A.C. letter advocates that House and
Senate leaders take the necessary steps “to increase
substantially the size of the active duty Army and
Marine Corps.”

Joining the neocons in the letter to congressional
leaders were a group of prominent liberals — giving
some credence to P.N.A.C.’s claim that the “call to
act” to increase the total number of United States
ground forces counts on bipartisan support.

After an initial spate of public pronouncements after
Sept. 11 and during the onset of the Iraq occupation,
the Project for the New American Century is again
positioning itself as the policy institute that will
set the second Bush administration’s security agenda.
Although P.N.A.C.’s 1997 statement of principles
included only prominent right-wing figures — many of
whom later joined the first Bush administration — the
neocon policy institute has repeatedly reached out to
liberals to give its public letters to the Congress
and the president the gloss of bipartisanship.

Its new call for congressional leaders to increase
overall United States troop levels includes
endorsement of key liberal analysts. Among the
signatories are the leading foreign policy analysts at
the Brookings Institution and the Progressive Policy
Institute (P.P.I.), which are closely associated with
the Democratic Party. The endorsees of the letter are
largely neoconservatives who are principals in such
neocon-led institutes as P.N.A.C., American Enterprise
Institute (A.E.I.), Foundation for the Defense of
Democracies, and the Center for Security Policy.
However, this call for a larger expeditionary force
was also signed by prominent liberal hawks, including
Michael O’Hanlon, Ivo Daalder, James Steinberg, and
Will Marshall — all of whom have signed previous
P.N.A.C. letters and policy statements.

Support for a ‘Generational Commitment’ in the Middle
East
P.N.A.C.’s “Letter to Congress on Increasing U.S.
Ground Forces” endorses Secretary of State Rice’s
assessment that United States military engagement in
the Middle East is a “generational commitment.” To
meet that commitment, the P.N.A.C. signatories call on
Congress to fulfill its constitutional obligation to
raise and support military forces — which they say
means increasing the number of ground forces by at
least 25,000 troops annually over the next several
years.

P.N.A.C., which has repeatedly called for increases in
the military budget and for military-backed “regime
change” around the world, is concerned that the
“United States military is too small for the
responsibilities we are asking it to assume.” The
neoconservative policy institute, which produced the
blueprint for the national security strategy of the
first Bush administration, echoes the recent assertion
by the chief of the Army Reserve that the “overuse” of
United States ground forces in Iraq and Afghanistan
could result in a “broken force.”

Given that the military’s reenlistment rates are
declining and recruitment goals are not being met,
P.N.A.C.’s call for Congress to increase troop levels
implies either reintroducing the draft or dramatically
increasing the pay for volunteer enlistees. The latter
option would in effect create a global mercenary force
deployed to meet the new responsibilities of
preventive war, regime change, and political
restructuring of the Middle East.

Liberal Hawks Fly With the Neocons
The recent P.N.A.C. letter to Congress was not the
first time that P.N.A.C. or its associated front
groups, such as the Coalition for the Liberation of
Iraq, have included hawkish Democrats.

Two P.N.A.C. letters in March 2003 played to those
Democrats who believed that the invasion was justified
at least as much by humanitarian concerns as it was by
the purported presence of weapons of mass destruction.
P.N.A.C. and the neocon camp had managed to translate
their military agenda of preemptive and preventive
strikes into national security policy. With the
invasion underway, they sought to preempt those
hardliners and military officials who opted for a
quick exit strategy in Iraq. In their March 19 letter,
P.N.A.C. stated that Washington should plan to stay in
Iraq for the long haul: “Everyone — those who have
joined the coalition, those who have stood aside,
those who opposed military action, and, most of all,
the Iraqi people and their neighbors — must understand
that we are committed to the rebuilding of Iraq and
will provide the necessary resources and will remain
for as long as it takes.”

Along with such neocon stalwarts as Robert Kagan,
Bruce Jackson, Joshua Muravchik, James Woolsey, and
Eliot Cohen, a half-dozen Democrats were among the 23
individuals who signed P.N.A.C.’s first letter on
post-war Iraq. Among the Democrats were Ivo Daalder of
the Brookings Institution and a member of former
President Bill Clinton’s National Security Council
staff; Martin Indyk, Clinton’s ambassador to Israel;
Will Marshall of the Progressive Policy Institute and
Democratic Leadership Council; Dennis Ross, Clinton’s
top adviser on the Israel-Palestinian negotiations;
and James Steinberg, Clinton’s deputy national
security adviser and head of foreign policy studies at
Brookings. A second post-Iraq war letter by P.N.A.C.
on March 28 called for broader international support
for reconstruction, including the involvement of NATO,
and brought together the same Democrats with the
prominent addition of another Brookings’ foreign
policy scholar, Michael O’Hanlon.

In late 2002 P.N.A.C.’s Bruce Jackson formed the
Committee for the Liberation of Iraq that brought
together such Democrats as Senator Joseph Lieberman;
former Senator Robert Kerrey, the president of the New
School University who now serves on the 9/11
Commission; P.P.I.’s Will Marshall; and former
Representative Steve Solarz. The neocons also reached
out to Democrats through a sign-on letter to the
president organized by the Social Democrats/USA, a
neocon institute that has played a critical role in
shaping the National Endowment for Democracy in the
early 1980’s and in mobilizing labor support for an
interventionist foreign policy.

The liberal hawks not only joined with the neocons to
support the war and the post-war restructuring but
have published their own statements in favor of what
is now widely regarded as a morally bankrupt policy
agenda. Perhaps the clearest articulation of the
liberal hawk position on foreign and military policy
is found in an October 2003 report by the Progressive
Policy Institute, which is a think tank closely
associated with the Democratic Leadership Council. The
report, titled “Progressive Internationalism: A
Democratic National Security Strategy,” endorsed the
invasion of Iraq, “because the previous policy of
containment was failing,” and Saddam Hussein’s
government was “undermining both collective security
and international law.”

P.P.I. President Will Marshall said that the
progressive internationalism strategy draws “a sharp
distinction between this mainstream Democratic
strategy for national security and the far left’s
vision of America’s role in the world. In this
document we take issue with those who begrudge the
kind of defense spending that we think is necessary to
meet our needs, both at home and abroad; with folks
who seem to reflexively oppose the use of force; and
who seem incapable of taking America’s side in
international disputes.” Among the other liberal hawks
who contributed to the “Progressive Internationalism”
report were Bob Kerrey; Larry Diamond of the Hoover
Institution and the National Endowment for Democracy;
and Michael McFaul of the Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace.

The repeated willingness of influential liberal
leaders and foreign policy analysts, such as Marshall,
O’Hanlon, and Daalder, to join forces with the
neoconservative camp has bolstered P.N.A.C.’s claim
that its foreign policy agenda is neither militarist
nor imperialist but one that is based on a deep
respect for human rights, democracy, and universal
moral values. Other liberal hawks signing the recent
P.N.A.C. letter include New Republic editor Peter
Beinart; Steven Nider, director of security studies at
the Progressive Policy Institute; James Steinberg,
director of Brooking’s foreign policy studies program
and former director of the State Department’s Policy
Planning office during the Clinton administration;
Craig Kennedy, president of the German Marshall Fund
and former program officer at the Joyce Foundation;
and Michelle Flournoy, a self-described “pro-defense
Democrat” who is a member of the Aspen Strategy Group
and served in the Clinton administration in the
Department of Defense’s strategy secretariat. Having
Yale historian Paul Kennedy, the author of The Rise
and Fall of Great Powers, sign the new letter was a
major coup for P.N.A.C.

Not surprising is the list of neocons signing
P.N.A.C.’s new letter. In addition to P.N.A.C.’s
founders William Kristol and Robert Kagan, other
P.N.A.C. principals included as signatories were its
deputy director Daniel McKivergan, executive director
Gary Schmitt, military strategist Thomas Donnelly,
Middle East associate Reuel Marc Gerecht; and board
members Bruce Jackson and Randy Scheunemann.
Signatories from the closely associated American
Enterprise Institute include Daniel Blumenthal, Joshua
Muravchik, Danielle Pletka, and Elliot Cohen. Other
neocon luminaries among the 34 signatories include
pundit Max Boot; Clifford May, executive director of
the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies; and
Frank Gaffney, founder of the Center for Security
Policy.

One striking difference marking the new P.N.A.C.
letter was its inclusion of several high-ranking
retired military officers, including Gen. Barry
McCaffrey, former SouthCom commander and Drug Czar,
and Lt. Gen. Buster Glosson, who directed air strategy
during the Gulf War.

Mugging and Hugging
Irving Kristol, known as the “godfather of
neoconservatism,” famously defined neoconservatives as
“liberals who have been mugged by reality.” That
political mugging occurred in the late 1960’s and
early 1970’s with the rise of the counterculture, the
anti-war movement, and progressive New Politics of the
Democratic Party.

Former Trotskyite militants and Cold War liberals like
Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, and Midge Decter switched
their loyalties to the Republican Party. The “reality”
that mugged the neocons was the progressive turn in
the Democratic Party led by such figures as Jesse
Jackson, Bella Abzug, George McGovern, and Jimmy
Carter. In contrast, the neoconservatives found the
militant anticommunism and social conservatism of the
Ronald Reagan faction in the Republican Party
invigorating. In the neocon lexicon, liberalism became
synonymous with secularism, women’s liberation,
anti-Americanism, and appeasement.

Over the past quarter century, the neocons have
sought, with increasing success, to rid the Republican
Party of its isolationists, its anti-imperialists, and
its realists. The younger neocons, such as William
Kristol (son of Irving) and Elliott Abrams (son-in-law
of Norman Podhoretz and Midge Decter), have promoted a
new right-wing internationalism that holds that
America should be both a global cop and a global
missionary for freedom.

Traditional conservatives and Republican Party
realists say that the neocons’ foreign policy agenda
is, respectively, neo-imperialist and unrealistic
about the capacity of United States military power to
remake the world. Apart from their militarist friends
in the Pentagon and defense industries, the neocons
are finding that their closest ideological allies are
the internationalists in the liberal camp. Having
recuperated from their mugging, the neocons are now
reaching out to liberals who share their idealism
about America’s global mission. To the delight of the
neocons at P.N.A.C. and A.E.I., an influential group
of liberal hawks share their vision of a United States
grand strategy that will create a world order based on
United States military supremacy and America’s
presumed moral superiority.

Tom Barry is policy director of the International
Relations Center, online at www.irc-online.org, and
director of the I.R.C.’s Right Web program.

Copyright © 1997-2005 Worldpress


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