Romney Welcomes Back The Same Foreign Policy Geniuses Who Led Us Into IraqOctober 6th, 2011 10:05 pm Joe Conason
With Mitt Romney’s announcement of the foreign policy team that will be counseling his campaign, the former Massachusetts governor has dispelled any remaining mystery about his own outlook. He has likewise done away with any illusion that he is “moderate” on diplomatic and national security issues — or that his nomination would mark a departure from his party’s incredibly costly global blunders of the past decade.
If Romney is elected, the nation can evidently expect more of the same, for the names he has listed are all too familiar to anyone who remembers the unhappy history of deception, disgrace, and war in the last Bush administration. Discredited though they may be, the neoconservatives — with all their bloody baggage — are back.
Or as Romney himself put it: “Their remarkable experience, wisdom, and depth of knowledge will be critical to ensuring that the 21st century is another American Century.” A stirring statement to be sure, except for its eerie echo of the Project for A New American Century (or PNAC), the lobbying organization set up by Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, his sidekick Robert Kagan, and a neoconservative coterie to promote war with Iraq (and possibly Iran, too). Conspiratorial thinking was not required to fix considerable blame for the Iraq fiasco on PNAC and its founders, several of whom, including Kagan and former Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky, have now turned up among Romney’s top advisers.
Near the top of the Romney roster is Cofer Black, the former CIA official whose idea of “taking the gloves off” after 9/11 led the United States government into systematic use of torture, rendition and other “dark side” disgraces that helped ruin American prestige internationally (and failed to dispatch Osama bin Laden, Black’s primary responsibility that was only fulfilled long after he left government). Upon leaving the Bush administration, he took an executive position at Blackwater Associates, the infamous private army, and then founded an outfit ominously known as “Total Intelligence Solutions,” which dispenses “security” advice to corporate leaders. What sort of advice Black provides to Romney isn’t clear, except that he urged that American politicians should never describe waterboarding as torture and thus besmirch the good name of the United States. (Although if we had avoided the actual practice of waterboarding — a crime for which the U.S. prosecuted Japanese war criminals after World War II — we might not have to worry so much about our reputation in the first place.)