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Daniel McAdams

Sen. Cotton's Fabric of War

Freshman Senator Tom Cotton arrived in the Senate with a real bang. First he authored an unprecedented letter to the leaders of Iran trying to convince them (but really the American public) that the US government is an unreliable negotiating partner. Then his real ignorance about Iran became glaringly obvious, as he demanded that Iran give up a nuclear weapons program that does not exist (shades of Iraq, where the same was demanded of Saddam Hussein). 

How did such a relative unknown come to challenge a sitting Senator and win? The Project for a Kristolian Century had no small role. As Mondoweiss reported:
[Bill] Kristol’s Emergency Committee for Israel bankrolled the Cotton campaign with $1 million as he went down to the wire against Mark Pryor last fall.
Phillip Weiss also pointed out that mega-money donors like Sheldon Adelson, whose one issue is Israel, kicked in a goodly amount as well.

This weekend, as part of his case for "calling [Iran's] bluff," he cited Iran's "control of Tehran" as evidence of its appetite for regional dominance. OK, no one should be held to account for a slip of the tongue, and Cotton's Harvard education belies the mainstream Left's mischaracterization of him as some kind of countrified half-wit. But perhaps his smarts lead him to dissemble for effect?
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Sen. Cotton's Shocking Ignorance

It is often incorrectly assumed that elected officials are better informed about current events than are average American citizens. "I don't have access to the kinds of information they have," is what is often heard.  In fact, this is not the case. Members of Congress are in many cases far less informed about current events than are interested Americans. When they do read the newspapers it is usually only the most establishment, superficial publications like the Washington Post or perhaps the Wall Street Journal. 

More often than not they rely on their staffers, who in turn rely on the most establishment, superficial publications or word of mouth from other staffers who rely on the most establishment, superficial publications. Most of Washington is an echo chamber, where groupthink prevails uber alles

In other words, far too much weight is given to the pronouncements of Senators and House Members. Most are shockingly ill-informed.

Take the rising star of neoconservatism, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR). By now many Americans are familiar with the letter he sent to his Iranian counterparts warning them that the current US president is an unreliable partner for negotiations: any deal reached would simply be overturned by a future president. The politics of this move are not within the portfolio of this Institute, but the Senator's rationale for sending the letter most certainly is.
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McCain Stands With ISIS?

Sen. John McCain has a knack for getting his picture taken with the strangest characters. Though his support for US interventionism is steadfast, does he even know what he is getting himself into when he travels overseas? 

In the above photograph, we see Sen. McCain, along with his neocon sidekick Sen. Lindsey Graham, cavorting with his good friend Abdelhakim Belhadj. When McCain was cheerleading for the US attack on Libya, Belhadj was among those he promoted as offering the promise of a democratic Libyan future. But Belhadj was at the time a founder of the "Libya Dawn," which was a group of Islamic militia forces tied to al-Qaeda in Libya. Did Senator McCain overlook his Libyan friend's ties with al-Qaeda in his zeal to see Gaddafi overthrown or did he simply not know about it?
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McCain 'Troubled' by Iranian Help With ISIS

Although the enemy of an enemy is not necessarily a friend, it should seemingly go without saying that if a foreign country has dedicated its resources to the defeat of an avowed enemy of one's own country it would be welcomed and even encouraged. 

For example, if the avowed enemy of the US government is ISIS, which has emerged as its chief declared antagonist following the US defeat of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, would it not be welcomed that a country close to the action has decided to dedicate its resources to the defeat of that organization? If foreign troops are to do the fighting and dying would that not be preferable to one's own countrymen doing the same if one is a patriot?
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Sen. McCain: 'I'm Ashamed of America'

John McCain, from his usual perch atop the Sunday morning political shows, was in a foul mood this week. While the German and French leaders continue to work for a political solution to the ongoing nightmare in Ukraine, McCain cannot believe that the US is not already at war in the country. It is a disgrace to the United States, said McCain, that President Obama has not already started shipping lethal weapons to the government in Kiev so that it can finish off the independence-seeking regions in east Ukraine. 

It is understandable that McCain is partial to the government in Kiev -- he personally helped put them in power. At the end of 2013, when protesters sought the overthrow of their elected government, McCain dropped in several times to provide moral support. "I am proud of what the people of Ukraine are doing," he said at the time. The "Energizer Bunny of interventionism" told the more extreme of the political elements gathered, "we are here to support your just cause."
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Bernard-Henri Lévy's 'Fair Wind' Blows Foul in Libya

Pondering yesterday's gruesome beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians by an ISIS which has newly found a foothold in post-"liberated" Libya, it is hard to stop the mind from wandering back to Bernard-Henri Lévy, the swaggering French philosopher who almost single-handedly sired the 2011 western attack on Libya. 

Back then Lévy donned the sanctimonious persona of the human rights champion to goad then-French president Sarkozy into leading the charge into Libya. The western attack on Libya was "inevitable" the war's beaming champion said at the time. He personally undertook to semi-secretly bring the then-rebels from Benghazi in Libya to meet Sarkozy and receive his blessing as the legitimate new rulers of Libya. Then...bombs away.
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Gullible Sen. Inhofe Peddles Fake 'Proof' of Russian Invasion

In his statement introducing the bill, he cited "the undeniable participation and presence of Russian troops fighting in eastern Ukraine" as his justification for demanding US weapons to Ukraine.

Senator Inhofe was absolutely certain of Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He even had the photos to prove it. His allies in Kiev, a delegation from the Ukrainian parliament, had handed him some photos of endless lines of Russian tanks entering Ukraine. A smoking gun! The Senator promptly handed them to the D.C. Beltway's neocon mouthpiece, the Washington Free Beacon, which gleefully published this scoop! Finally here was the evidence they had long been searching for!
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Max Boot Wants to Kick Russia

Neocon scribbler Max Boot makes his living expressing indignation. How dare the Obama administration not adopt a more confrontational stance toward Iran! How dare the US president not commit more US resources toward fighting Boko Haram! How dare the weak-willed administration oppose additional sanctions on Iran! No US action in Somalia and Yemen? Wimpy! And Asia! Iraq! Syria! Libya! KONY!!! 

Feckless! Gutless! Short-sighted! Cowardly!

That's his schtick. Even when the current problems have been caused by the unfortunate neocon triumphs in the foreign policy debate -- Libya, Iraq, Syria, and so on -- the solution is to continue to follow the disastrous dictates of Boot and his armchair brigade or there will be hell to pay from his poison pen.
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Sen. Lindsey Graham in Israel: 'We Will Follow Your Lead'

Imagine the reaction if a sitting United States Senator travelled to France, or Russia, or Saudi Arabia and assured the foreign leader that the US lawmaking body would "follow your lead" when it comes to a decision on whether “more sanctions, and stronger sanctions” should be placed on a third country. That a US government official would openly subject his own country's policies to the national interest of another country seems to be unpatriotic by definition. 

But Senator Graham was not in France, or Russia, or Saudi Arabia last weekend. He was in Israel, and he was assuring Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that his colleagues in Congress would do whatever Netanyahu wanted when it came to US policy toward Iran.
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As Expected, Neocons Defend Torture

In the realm of predictability, it was a sure bet: The Senate Intelligence Committee's report on CIA torture released today was vigorously rejected by the coterie of neocon armchair warriors whose lives are a constant loop of the television program "24." 

As the rest of us retch at the horrors of forced rectal hydration and feeding -- including the forced rectal ingestion of such items as pureed "hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts and raisins." As normal people are outraged that the report ultimately means very little, as President Obama already granted immunity to the CIA torturers back in 2012. As the main argument of what Judge Andrew Napolitano calls the "torture lobby" -- that torture may not be nice but it is necessary to save lives -- has been decimated by the report's conclusion that torture is totally useless. As all of these facts line up to blow the neocon position out of the argument, the shameless neocons remain on their well-padded ramparts, lobbing back their rhetoric and ignoring incoming.
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