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Posts Tagged ‘Max Boot’

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : Will Special Interests Allow America’s ‘Longest War’ to Finally End?

Posted by M. C. on May 3, 2021

So why did we stay? As neocons like Max Boot tell it, we are still bombing and killing Afghans so that Afghan girls can go to school. It’s a pretty flimsy and cynical explanation. My guess is that if asked, most Afghan girls would prefer to not have their country bombed.

But as always, the devil is in the details. It appears that US special forces, CIA paramilitaries, and the private contractors who have taken an increasing role in fighting Washington’s wars, will remain in-country. Bombing Afghans so that Max Boot and his neocons can pat themselves on the back.

Written by Ron Paul

Even if “won,” endless wars like our 20 year assault on Afghanistan would not benefit our actual national interest in the slightest. So why do these wars continue endlessly? Because they are so profitable to powerful and well-connected special interests. In fact, the worst news possible for the Beltway military contractor/think tank complex would be that the United States actually won a war. That would signal the end of the welfare-for-the-rich gravy train.

In contrast to the end of declared wars, like World War II when the entire country rejoiced at the return home of soldiers where they belonged, an end to any of Washington’s global military deployments would result in wailing and gnashing of the teeth among the military-industrial complex which gets rich from other people’s misery and sacrifice.

Would a single American feel less safe if we brought home our thousands of troops currently bombing and shooting at Africans?

As Orwell famously said, “the war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous.” Nowhere is this more true than among those whose living depends on the US military machine constantly bombing people overseas.

How many Americans, if asked, could answer the question, “why have we been bombing Afghanistan for an entire generation?” The Taliban never attacked the United States and Osama bin Laden, who temporarily called Afghanistan his home, is long dead and gone. The longest war in US history has dragged on because…it has just dragged on.

So why did we stay? As neocons like Max Boot tell it, we are still bombing and killing Afghans so that Afghan girls can go to school. It’s a pretty flimsy and cynical explanation. My guess is that if asked, most Afghan girls would prefer to not have their country bombed.

Indeed, war has made the Beltway bomb factories and think tanks rich. As Brown University’s Cost of War Project has detailed, the US has wasted $2.26 trillion dollars on a generation of war on Afghanistan. Much of this money has been spent, according to the US government’s own Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, on useless “nation-building” exercises that have built nothing at all. Gold-plated roads to nowhere. Aircraft that cannot perform their intended functions but that have enriched contractors and lobbyists.

President Biden has announced that the US military would be out of Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the attacks of 9/11. But as always, the devil is in the details. It appears that US special forces, CIA paramilitaries, and the private contractors who have taken an increasing role in fighting Washington’s wars, will remain in-country. Bombing Afghans so that Max Boot and his neocons can pat themselves on the back.

But the fact is this: Afghanistan was a disaster for the United States. Only the corrupt benefitted from this 20 year highway robbery. Will we learn a lesson from wasting trillions and killing hundreds of thousands? It is not likely. But there will be an accounting. The piper will be paid. Printing mountains of money to pay the corrupt war profiteers will soon leave the working and middle classes in dire straits. It is up to non-interventionists like us to explain to them exactly who has robbed them of their future.

Copyright © 2021 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

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‘I Pity The Fool’: Mr. Max Boot on Joe Biden’s Foreign Policy ‘A-Team’ – Original

Posted by M. C. on August 28, 2020

If you think Bolton was bad…

Dream with me.

Imagine an America where even marginal accountability reigned. A land of appropriate consequences for war-criminal cheerleaders. A country where going 0 for 4 on “freedom” wars – Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria – got pundits and policymakers sent down to the minors. Heck, one might make some strategic moves in a town like that.

Alas, we live in the world as it is: whence one of the nation’s leading newspapers – the Bezos’-billionaire-owned Washington Post – would dare deign to hire such a fedora-topped neocon-retread-shell as Max Boot as columnist. Then, surely symptomatic of the upside-down society wrought by Trump-derangement syndrome, the Post recently had the gall to proudly publish that warmonger’s latest screed: “Trump relies on grifters and misfits. Biden is bringing the A Team.”

In his latest broadside, Boot offers his best Mr. T impression to celebrate Uncle Joe’s “A-Team” – and overall propensity to “surround himself with good people,” all of them supposedly “effective operatives.” He saves special praise for the “veterans of high-level government service” on Biden’s foreign policy team.

Here again, we should look to the language. I, for one, find the prospect of Washington “operatives” running war and peace less than reassuring. But before digging into the shortcomings inherent in each of the four figures he highlighted, here’s a brief reminder of why Max and his opinions should’ve “got the boot” long ago:

  • Let’s start with my own introduction to this king of the chickenhawks: his then celebrated 2002 book, The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power – in which Max played unapologetic neo-imperial visionary and recruiting sergeant for an American reboot of a European colonial constabulary. He even, un-ironically I might add, lifted the title from the English chronicler of empire, Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “White Man’s Burden.”
  • He once worked with an infamous Bush-doctrine, Iraq War, architect-outfit: the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) think tank.
  • Ever the faux-historian, Max drew all the wrong conclusions and lessons from the Vietnam War, in his more recent 2018 book, The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam. Old David Petraeus – surprise, surprise – found this work “wonderful,” although, according to a real subject scholar, its endnotes “contain few, if any, materials from Vietnamese sources.” The Road Not Taken belongs squarely in the – popular with mil-civ-counterinsurgents crowd – school of we could’ve, would’ve, should’ve “won” in Vietnam (and, by extension, Iraq, Afghanistan, et. al.) “if only” [insert implausible alternative tactic excuse here].
  • Oh, and he’s supported every war for the past half century – including some he thinks should’ve but weren’t fought – and has hardly met a regime he wouldn’t like to change.

Now, for the core members of Biden’s ostensible A-team of always-an-Obama-bridesmaid deputies, and just a few reasons to doubt each’s competence, character, and Trump-corrective capacities:

  • The presumed A-Team leader, Obama’s Deputy Secretary of State and Deputy National Security Adviser, Tony Blinken:
    • Though, admittedly – like Biden – more right than most in that administration on the Afghan surge folly, he played nice and helped craft a compromise policy, which, he later bragged “helped competing Afghan political blocs avoid civil war, and achieve the first ever peaceful democratic transition in that country’s history.” How’s that turned out?
    • Blinken was a key architect and muddled messenger for Obama’s ever-shifting, never-plausible, and utterly ill-advised Syria regime-change-lite policy.
    • After leaving office, he teamed up with Michèle Flournoy (another unnamed Biden-top-prospect) at the consulting-firm (and Obama-alumni agency) WestExec Advisors – which helped Silicon Valley pitch defense contracts to the Pentagon. Blinken was also a partner at the private equity firm Pine Island Capital Partners. Tony’s a human revolving-door of interest-conflicts!
    • A resident Russiagater, “arm-Ukraine” enthusiast, and Israeli hard-right apologist on Biden’s campaign advisory team, he categorically declared that his boss “would not tie military assistance to Israel to things like annexation or other decisions by the Israeli government with which we might disagree.” Good to know that international legal constraints and common decency are already off the Biden-table in Palestine – no doubt, Bibi Netanyahu took notice.
  • Then there’s Obama’s ex-director of policy planning at the State Department, Jake Sullivan:
    • He was a senior policy adviser for hyper-hawk Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 campaign. There was even chatter back then that he’d been a frontrunner for national security adviser upon her anointment.
    • Before becoming Vice President Biden’s national security guru in 2013, he was considered uber-close (pun-intended) to Secretary Clinton – at her aside on trips to 112 countries, and even reviewing chapters for her book Hard Choices in his spare time. A Vox profile dubbed Sullivan “the man behind hawkish Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy.” Think Libya; think Syria.
    • Out of office, and after Clinton’s defeat, he joined Macro Advisory Partners and represented Uber in its negotiations with labor unions. Incidentally, he’s wedded to Maggie Goodlander, a former senior policy advisor to that militarist-marriage of Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman. Perhaps that’s why Anne-Marie Slaughter, who ran the State Department’s policy planning office in Obama’s first term, called Jake “the consummate insider.”
  • Next on Boot’s list is career diplomat and – sure to excite old Max – George W. Bush’s former undersecretary of state for political affairs, Nicholas Burns:
    • During the Bush II years he – like its greatest Democratic Party cheerleader, Joe Biden – supported the 2003 Iraq invasion.
    • What’s more, NATO added seven new members and provocatively expanded towards Russia’s very borders in his tenure as alliance ambassador.
    • He left the foreign service in 2008, but graciously stayed on as special envoy to finalize the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal – that pact being proof-positive that nonproliferation has always been selectively applied by Washington..
    • Nick happens to be on the board, or affiliated with, an impressive range of hawkish Washington hot-spots, such as: The Atlantic Council, Aspen Institute, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Cohen Group – this last one a lobbying organization for arms manufacturers. He also gave paid speeches at Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, State Street, Citibank, and Honeywell.
  • Lest it seem Boot only touted a Biden boy’s club, there’s also the former first female deputy CIA director – though Trump ironically one-upped her boss Barack by placing Gina Haspel at the Agency’s helm – Ms. Avril Haines:
    • Well, about the only thing you have to know about this A-Teamer is that she chose not to discipline any of the CIA agents implicated in the senate’s tell-all torture report, then was part of the team redacting their landmark indictment.
    • As for her supposed Trump-corrective chops: Haines supported Gina Haspel’s nomination as CIA director, even though she’d been directly implicated in CIA torture.
    • Plus, as a reminder of the duality of (wo)man, she is a fellow at Columbia University’s Human Rights Institute and consulted for the “Trump-favorite” data firm Palantir, which emerged from the CIA itself.

So really, here’s a crew of Hillary-hawks and Obama-bureaucrats without many truly fresh ideas among them. They don’t want to crash the system that birthed Trump and an age of endless wars – they are that system. The only really redeeming quality of the bunch: some helped craft the eminently reasonable Iran-nuclear deal. Count me less than enthused.

Unlike Might Max and his chickenhawk crew, time was that I fought and lived beside a real life special forces A-team (Operational Detachment-Alpha) in the villages of Kandahar, Afghanistan. Mr. Boot fetishizes folks he hardly knows; I know and respect them enough to reject the disrespect of romantic-caricature. The fellas my cavalry troop shared an outpost, raised a local militia, and seized towns with, were some brave bastards – they were also flawed and fallible. We failed together in style: tactical casualties of an impossible mission dreamed up by the likes of Max Boot, and – at the time – futilely prolonged by many members of Biden’s A-Team then on the Obama squad.

Boot was the big (bad) ideas guy, Biden’s posse – Tony Blinken, Avril Haines, Jake Sullivan, Nicholas Burns, and even Michèle Flournoy – these are “company men,” polite imperialists just smart enough to run the machine, and just dumb enough not to question its putrid products. Max reminds us – not incorrectly – that if “more people in [Trump’s] White House knew what they were doing, at least 172,000 Americans might not be dead.”

Yet, in a classic crime of omission, he lets Biden’s shadow squad off the hook for their own morbid-complicity: had they not supported and shepherded an Obama Afghan surge that even their boss sensed was hopeless, 1,729 U.S. troops – during Barack’s tenure – might not be dead. They included three of my own scouts, who – like our unit – were only unexpectedly routed to Afghanistan because Biden’s boss chose to surge in the “good war” there:

  • Gustavo A. Rios-Ordonez, 25, of Ohio – a Colombian national attempting to gain his US citizenship via military service, and father to two young daughters.
  • Nicholas C. D. Hensley, 28, of Alabama – a father of three on his third combat tour.
  • Chazray C. Clark, 24, of Michigan – who left behind a wife and stepson.

Those young men – and two dozen others wounded in action that year – were proud members of my ill-fated team. They deserved better than the Biden-bunch that Boot bragged are “seasoned professionals, ready to govern on Day One.” So too do some 8,600 of their brothers and sisters still stuck in Afghanistan, and many more sure to serve in whichever harebrained scheme Uncle Joe’s side of the duopoly dreams up.

It hardly needs saying, but most of The Donald’s defense deputies haven’t been stellar. Actually, most were establishment Republican or neocon retreads – or born-again war criminals like Eliot Abrams – themselves. Trump’s a monster and so are his misfit managers, blah blah blah. But let’s not pretend Biden’s band waiting in the wings shall be our salvation. Nor delude ourselves that Boot’s promise they’ll be “cleaning up after a Republican president,” will amount to any real cleanse of Washington’s militarist system.

Mr. Boot pings Trump from the right, but he also ought heed warning from the that classic lefty Cornel West – who advised we “tell the truth” about “Brother Biden.” An Uncle Joe administration with an “A-Team?” Give me a break.

I wouldn’t fill a kickball squad with this crew…

Danny Sjursen is a retired U.S. Army officer, contributing editor at, senior fellow at the Center for International Policy (CIP), and director of the soon-to-launch Eisenhower Media Network (EMN). His work has appeared in the NY Times, LA Times, The Nation, Huff Post, The Hill, Salon, The American Conservative, Mother Jones, ScheerPost and Tom Dispatch, among other publications. He served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught history at West Point. He is the author of a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge. His forthcoming book, Patriotic Dissent: America in the Age of Endless War (Heyday Books) is available for pre-order. Follow him on Twitter @SkepticalVet and see his website for speaking/media requests and past publications.

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Why Are These Professional War Peddlers Still Around? | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on February 16, 2019

By Tucker Carlson

One thing that every late-stage ruling class has in common is a high tolerance for mediocrity. Standards decline, the edges fray, but nobody in charge seems to notice. They’re happy in their sinecures and getting richer. In a culture like this, there’s no penalty for being wrong. The talentless prosper, rising inexorably toward positions of greater power, and breaking things along the way. It happened to the Ottomans. Max Boot is living proof that it’s happening in America…

Boot first became famous in the weeks after 9/11 for outlining a response that the Bush administration seemed to read like a script, virtually word for word. While others were debating whether Kandahar or Kabul ought to get the first round of American bombs, Boot was thinking big. In October 2001, he published a piece in The Weekly Standard titled “The Case for American Empire.”

“The September 11 attack was a result of insufficient American involvement and ambition,” Boot wrote. “The solution is to be more expansive in our goals and more assertive in their implementation.” In order to prevent more terror attacks in American cities, Boot called for a series of U.S.-led revolutions around the world, beginning in Afghanistan and moving swiftly to Iraq.

“Once we have deposed Saddam, we can impose an American-led, international regency in Baghdad, to go along with the one in Kabul,” Boot wrote. “To turn Iraq into a beacon of hope for the oppressed peoples of the Middle East: Now that would be a historic war aim. Is this an ambitious agenda? Without a doubt. Does America have the resources to carry it out? Also without a doubt.”

In retrospect, Boot’s words are painful to read, like love letters from a marriage that ended in divorce. Iraq remains a smoldering mess. The Afghan war is still in progress close to 20 years in. For perspective, Napoleon Bonaparte seized control of France, crowned himself emperor, defeated four European coalitions against him, invaded Russia, lost, was defeated and exiled, returned, and was defeated and exiled a second time, all in less time than the United States has spent trying to turn Afghanistan into a stable country.

Things haven’t gone as planned. What’s remarkable is that despite all the failure and waste and deflated expectations, defeats that have stirred self-doubt in the heartiest of men, Boot has remained utterly convinced of the virtue of his original predictions. Certainty is a prerequisite for Leading Authorities on Armed Conflict. Read the rest of this entry »

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