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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/29/14

9 Years Ago, the Center for American Progress was Anti-War, Then Something Happened

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For all their exhortations, what the senators and like-minded critics have not offered is a coherent argument for how a more muscular approach might be accomplished without dragging the United States into another extended and costly war and how it might yield the kind of influence and good will for this country that the interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan have not.

Then Alterman says the following in his own words:

Many of the same people making this argument for a U.S military response today insisted a decade ago that a U.S. invasion of Iraq would have a helpful deterrent effect on these same regimes when, in fact, it appears to have done just the opposite.

The precise moment when CAP supported intervention in Syria is unclear (as is the case of the Obama administration), but what is clear is that it occurred some time between Alterman's report in early May, and early September 2013, when CAP hosted UN Ambassador Samantha Power, who gave a speech explaining why the US needed to intervene in Syria. Not only was there no opponent of intervention there to challenge her lies, Power did not even take questions afterward, of which there were many that needed to be asked, namely, "where is the evidence that Assad used chemical weapons?". The audience was just supposed to be "good Democrats" and take her word for it because, after all, it is a Democratic administration we are talking about. When a Republican is in office, we refer to these things as preemptive invasions; when a Democrat is in office, the same thing is referred to as a "humanitarian intervention," which is as oxymoronic as it sounds.

CodePink, one of the US's most prominent left-leaning anti-war organizations, protested CAP's hosting of Samantha Power. A prominent anti-war organization protesting the actions of the nation's preeminent left-leaning think tank should have triggered a major discussion among progressives about just what exactly they believe, and whether CAP is actually a progressive, peace-loving organization. But did that happen? Not even close. Very few "progressive" media outlets covered the speech. Although The Nation did run an article about Ambassador Power's speech, the article failed to mention the protest by members of CodePink. Even Democracy Now!, which usually covers the actions by CodePink and its leader, Medea Benjamin, was silent on the Center for American Progress's support for war in Syria.

One of the few media outlets to cover both the speech by Power and the protest by CodePink was the right-leaning Washington Free Beacon. Yes, one of the few media outlets informing progressives about a major debate brewing among liberals and progressives was one which very few, if any, progressives turn to for their news. If that does not describe a complete failure of the phony "progressive" media, then nothing does.

Iraq: Third Time's a Charm

By now it is obvious that the Center for American Progress has virtually no integrity, especially on foreign policy matters. So it should come as no surprise that CAP released a report endorsing airstrikes in Iraq to counter the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). Yes, the very organization that proudly touts its own role in ending that illegal war is urging Americans to go into Iraq again. Apparently, even though there was no feasible military solution to Iraq when George W. Bush was President, now that Barack Obama, a Democrat, is President, such military action is feasible. Interesting, huh?

In fairness to CAP, their flip-flop on foreign policy may not be purely because a pro-war Democrat is in office. It also is probably because CAP accepts donations from those in the war business, including Northrup Grumman and Lockheed Martin, a fact CAP withheld from the public until Ken Silverstein's piece at The Nation called them out on their secrecy in May 2013, which included a partial list of 2012 corporate donors. Then, in December 2013, under the guise of transparency, CAP released a list of its corporate donors, though anyone can tell that this action was the result of increased public scrutiny due in no small part to the piece in The Nation, not a desire to be honest with the American people about just who is bankrolling CAP.

Progressives, and everyone who cares about the truth, would be better served by not listening to ideological think tanks, regardless of whether such think tanks identify as conservative or liberal/progressive. Such think tanks are merely in the business of convincing others that their opinions are correct by utilizing pseudo-academic "research," a phenomenon which could less charitably be described as propaganda. Sure, some think tanks propagandize for the Democrats, and others for the Republicans, but the fact that a think tank identifies with the "correct" political party is no excuse for spreading outright lies and misinformation.

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John Brock holds a bachelor's degree in political science and a master's degree in city planning. His writing interests include American politics, the U.S. Congress, anti-war activism, health care, civil liberties, and economic democracy. He (more...)

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