The U.S. Military Buildup in the Persian Gulf: Neocon Policies Are Alive and Well

Although the neocons certainly oppose the withdrawal from Iraq, there are certainly some consolations. As Glenn Greenwald points out at Salon,

The U.S. has Iran completely encircled. It has over 100,000 troops in the nation on Iran’s eastern border (Afghanistan, where, just incidentally, the U.S. continued through this year to turn over detainees to a prison notorious for torture) and has occupied the nation on Iran’s western border (Iraq) for eight years, and will continue to maintain a “small army” of private contractors and CIA officials after it “withdraws.” The U.S. continuously flies drone aircraft over and drops bombs on the nation on Iran’s southeastern border (Pakistan). Its NATO ally (Turkey) is situated on Iran’s northwestern border. The U.S. has troops stationed in multiple countries just a few hundred miles across the Persian Gulf from Iran, virtually all of which are client states. The U.S. has its Fifth Fleet stationed in a country less than 500 miles from Iran (Bahrain) containing“US warships and contingents of U.S. Marines.” And the U.S. routinely arms Iran’s two most virulent rivals (Israel and Saudi Arabia) with sophisticated weaponry.

Greenwald rightly points to  the ludicrousness of Hilary Clinton’s statement:

“We will have a robust continuing presence throughout the region, which is proof of our ongoing commitment to Iraq and to the future of that region, which holds such promise and should be freed from outside interference to continue on a pathway to democracy,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in Tajikistan after the president’s announcement.

Apparently, the U.S. doesn’t count as outside interference, perhaps because the Obama administration considers the entire area to be American territory.

The author of the NYTimes article critiqued by Greenwald is Thom Shanker. Shanker warns darkly about “the threat of a belligerent Iran” that requires an enhanced U.S. military presence in the region. Threat to whom? Obviously the main threat is to Israel. Indeed, perhaps spurred by the imminent U.S. withdrawal, the threat of an Israeli attack on Iran is again heating up; see Richard Silverstein’s report, “Haaretz Screaming Headline: Bibi Seeks Cabinet Approval for Iran Attack.”

Alison Weir’s outfit, the Council for the National Interest, points out that Shanker is associated with the Center for New American Security (CNAS),

an institution created by what analyst Justin Raimondo terms ‘left neocons’ that has worked to “build the case for widening the ‘war on terrorism’ to include not only Afghanistan but also Pakistan.”

CNAS has ties with the Republican neocons as well; its invitation-only launch included Philip Zelikow and Peter Feaver of the National Security Council.

While neoconservatives and the Project for a New Amerian Century (PNAC) – which closed down in 2006 – successfully pushed war on Iraq, CNAS – which was formed in 2007 – often has its sights on Iran.

Among its board members and senior fellows are Richard L. Armitage, a signer of the PNAC letter to Presidient Clinton calling for war on Iraq, and Robert D. Kaplan, a neoconservative whose bio emphasizes his diverse consultant positions to various branches of the US military, but leaves out that the fact that, while born in the US, his only military service was in the Israeli military.

Phillip Zelikow was the head of the government’s 9-11 commission. His strong neocon connections are a major reason for skepticism about the report.

All in all, it’s another good example of how power works in America. People like Shanker go between jobs in the media and in the neocon infrastructure, just as so many neocons have alternated between positions in the government and overtly pro-Israel activist organizations and other positions in the neocon infrastructure. When they write books, as Shanker has done, they are assured of high visibility in the media and good reviews, at least from other neocons.

It’s a life.  We have to make that possible on the racialist right.

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