By Jeremy Scahill
Obama’s Favorite Think Tank Buddies Are Hosting a Pro-War Party April 3. They And Their Neocon Pals Are Gonna Tell Those Afghans How Good This War Will Be For Them.
The Center for American Progress, which was founded by former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta in 2003, masqueraded as a “progressive,” semi-anti-war organization through the dark years of the Bush administration when it required little political courage to oppose the White House and wars that were portrayed as Bush’s or the Republicans’. While feigning opposition to the Iraq war, CAP refused to confront Democrats over their continued funding of that war. After Obama’s election, Podesta, of course, headed the transition team, which swiftly appointed hawkish Democrats from the Clinton era, kept on Robert Gates and other Republicans, sidelined progressives and in doing so won praise from neocons and other Republicans. Now that “their” guys—big “D” Democrats—are back in power, CAP has assumed its rightful place as a partisan front group for the Democratic Party’s power structure and for selling Obama’s wars to “progressives.”
As John Stauber, head of the Center for Media and Democracy, has pointed out, CAP “strongly supports Barack Obama’s escalation of the US wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan.” This week, CAP is officially unveiling its manifesto in support of Obama’s aggression against Afghanistan—a report called “Sustainable Security in Afghanistan: Crafting an Effective and Responsible Strategy for the Forgotten Front.” CAP uses the language of Empire—US interests, US national power— in describing its report, saying it is “the product of the Center’s review of U.S interests, goals, and strategy in Afghanistan and the region. Bearing in mind the vital U.S interests in the country and South Asia, the report concludes that the United States must attempt to build a national representative government that is able to govern, defend, and sustain itself. The report argues that reaching the ultimate objective of a resilient Afghan state will require a comprehensive and long-term approach that uses all elements of U.S national power.”
On April 3, CAP is hosting a little release party for the report in the form of a public discussion arrogantly titled, “A New Way Forward in Afghanistan,” which includes a leading neoconservative activist, Frederick Kagan, one of the lead proponents of the “surge” in Iraq. In addition to being a “Resident Scholar” at the American Enterprise Institute, which was basically Dick Cheney’s bunker away from the bunker in the 1990s, Kagan was also a major figure in advocating the agenda of the neocon-Project for a New American Century, which molded the Bush administration’s conquistador foreign policy. Kagan’s brother Robert along with his loony-bin necon buddy William Kristol started a new version of PNAC a few weeks ago, called the Foreign Policy Initiative. Another key figure in the group is Dan Senor (who is married to CNN’s Campbell Brown), formerly L. Paul Bremer’s righthand in Iraq and a generally repulsive character. FPI’s primary objective thus far seems to be supporting Obama’s Afghanistan policy and encouraging it to get even more violent and bloody and open ended. Great bunch of fellas, really. See here and here for more on FPI.
In fact, FPI promoted the CAP Afghanistan event in its daily email digest on April 2.
So, rather than finding itself allied with anti-war groups and actually advocating a progressive agenda, CAP is turning to these vile neocons to declare “A New Way Forward in Afghanistan.”