Category Archives: Neo-Cons

Professors object to Condoleezza Rice’s inclusion in civil-rights lecture series

Joe Kimball writes for MinnPost:

Nearly 200 University of Minnesota professors have joined the controversy over a scheduled speech on Thursday by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, saying in a public letter that they don’t think the Humphrey School lecture series is an appropriate forum for her talk. The speech at the university’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs is part of the Distinguished Carlson Lecture Series, which, this year, focuses on civil rights.

Students and others have been protesting the appearance of Rice, who was involved in many of the Bush administration’s controversial human-rights decisions before and during the Iraq War, on such issues as prisoner renditions, torture, the detention of militants at Guantanamo Bay, and others. The professors signing the letter say they support Rice’s right to free speech, and would like to hear her talk about her foreign-policy decisions and experiences, but they don’t feel the civil-rights lecture series is the right time or place.

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John Glaser: Rumsfeld’s Infuriating Oblivion

John Glaser writes for Antiwar:

Errol Morris’s new documentary about Donald Rumsfeld, The Unknown Known, is not as valuable as his last piece The Fog of War, a similarly styled conversation with another former Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara. The fault is not Morris’s, but Rumsfeld’s.

In The Fog of War, McNamara is guilt-ridden and reflective about his involvement in the Vietnam War and war in general. He makes damning confessions, saying the U.S. committed war crimes in WWII and talking openly about the false justifications for the Johnson administration’s escalation in Vietnam. He questions war, nationalism, the elite zeitgeist that drove the U.S. into the Vietnam calamity.

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Wiretap Proponent (and War Criminal) Condoleezza Rice Joins Dropbox’s Board

Brian Feldman writes for The Wire:

The big story out of Silicon Valley on Wednesday was that Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State under President George W. Bush, was joining the board of popular cloud storage company Dropbox.

Tucked away near the end of a Businessweek article on the startup is news of Rice taking a fourth seat on the board:

The former secretary of state’s consulting firm, RiceHadleyGates, has been advising the startup on management issues for the last year. Now she’ll help the company think about such matters as international expansion and privacy, an issue that dogs every cloud company in the age of Edward Snowden and the NSA.

You know, privacy and the NSA. The same NSA that, as Ars Technica points out,Rice herself authorized to wiretap UN officials and other domestic targets without warrants. She definitely seems like the right person to help craft Dropbox’s privacy policies.

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Senator Angus King Challenges Dick Cheney To Be Waterboarded And Then Say It’s Not Torture

The Unknown Known: Errol Morris’ New Doc Tackles Unrepentant Iraq War Architect Donald Rumsfeld

Watch part two here…

‘Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Errol Morris joins us to talk about his new film, “The Unknown Known,” based on 33 hours of interviews with former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The title refers to an infamous press briefing in 2002 when Rumsfeld faced questions from reporters about the lack of evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. “The Unknown Known” is Morris’ 10th documentary feature. He won a Best Documentary Oscar for his film “The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara.” His other films include “Standard Operating Procedure,” about alleged U.S. torture of terror suspects in Abu Ghraib prison, and “The Thin Blue Line,” about the wrongful conviction of Randall Adams for the murder of a Dallas policeman. The release of “The Unknown Known” comes in a month marking 11 years since the U.S. invaded Iraq, leaving an estimated half a million Iraqis dead, along with at least 4,400 American troops.’ (Democracy Now!)

Are War Criminals Great Painters?: Interview with Lee Camp

Abby Martin covers what Dick Cheney has been up to since leaving office and features an interview with comedian and host of the Moment of Clarity web series, Lee Camp, discussing a few of the more ridiculous stories in the news, including Bush’s exhibit of paintings, low wages for congressmen and the universities teaching students how to lobby congress.’ (Breaking the Set)

Secret Recording of Dick Cheney Lamenting Middle East Policy & GOP ‘Isolationism’

John Glaser writes for Antiwar:

Mother Jones has published another secretly recorded speech at a private Republican event. Rather than Mitt Romney’s embarrassing “47 percent” line, this one has former Vice President Dick Cheney lamenting the U.S.’s lack of control over the Middle East, NSA hate, and the danger of “the increasing strain of isolationism” in the GOP.

The private event was the much talked about Las Vegas meet-up of “the Republican Jewish Coalition” held at billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s hotel, “where several possible 2016 contenders, including ex-Governor Jeb Bush and current Governors Chris Christie, Scott Walker, and John Kasich, showed up to kiss the ring of the casino magnate, who’s looking to bankroll a viable Republican presidential candidate,”Mother Jones writes.

There is a lot worth addressing in Cheney’s speech (the dark joke about bombing Iran and the delusional defense of the NSA come to mind), but I wanted to just highlight his remarks on the Middle East and the alleged isolationism running through the GOP.

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Corporate Interests Behind Ukraine Putsch

JP Sottile writes for Consortium News:

…For Russia and its hampered farming economy, it’s another in a long string of losses to U.S. encroachment — from NATO expansion into Eastern Europe to U.S. military presence to its south and onto a major shale gas development deal recently signed by Chevron in Ukraine.

So, why was Big Ag so bullish on Ukraine, even in the face of so much uncertainty and the predictable reaction by Russia?

The answer is that the seeds of Ukraine’s turn from Russia have been sown for the last two decades by the persistent Cold War alliance between corporations and foreign policy. It’s a version of the “Deep State” that is usually associated with the oil and defense industries, but also exists in America’s other heavily subsidized industry — agriculture.

Morgan Williams is at the nexus of Big Ag’s alliance with U.S. foreign policy. To wit, SigmaBleyzer touts Mr. Williams’ work with “various agencies of the U.S. government, members of Congress, congressional committees, the Embassy of Ukraine to the U.S., international financial institutions, think tanks and other organizations on U.S.-Ukraine business, trade, investment and economic development issues.”

As President of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council, Williams has access to Council cohort — David Kramer, President of Freedom House. Officially a non-governmental organization, it has been linked with overt and covert “democracy” efforts in places where the door isn’t open to American interests — a.k.a. U.S. corporations.

Freedom House, the National Endowment for Democracy and National Democratic Institute helped fund and support the Ukrainian “Orange Revolution” in 2004. Freedom House is funded directly by the U.S. Government, the National Endowment for Democracy and the U.S. Department of State.

David Kramer is a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and, according to his Freedom House bio page, formerly a “Senior Fellow at the Project for the New American Century.”

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Iraq and the Media: A Critical Timeline

From Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting:

Bush speaks about Iraq invasion--Photo Credit: War Made Easy/Media Education FoundationIt’s hardly controversial to suggest that the mainstream media’s performance in the lead-up to the Iraq War was a disaster. In retrospect, many journalists and pundits wish they had been more skeptical of the White House’s claims about Iraq, particularly its allegations about weapons of mass destruction. At the same time, though, media apologists suggest that the press could not have done much better, since “everyone” was in agreement on the intelligence regarding Iraq’s weapons threat. This was never the case. Critical journalists and analysts raised serious questions at the time about what the White House was saying. Often, however, their warnings were ignored by the bulk of the corporate press.

This timeline is an attempt to recall some of the worst moments in journalism, from the fall of 2002 and into the early weeks of the Iraq War. It is not an exhaustive catalog, but a useful reference point for understanding the media’s performance. The timeline also points to missed opportunities, when courageous journalists—working inside the mainstream and the alternative media—uncovered stories that should have made the front pages of daily newspapers, or provided fodder for TV talk shows. By reading mainstream media critically and tuning into the alternative press, citizens can see that the notion that “everyone” was wrong about Iraq was—and is—just another deception.

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Abby Martin Takes Down the Cold War-Obsessed Neocons Behind the Curtain

‘Abby Martin calls out the Foreign Policy Initiative or FPI, a DC neocon think tank that rose out of the ashes of PNAC. Abby discusses the real motivation behind their recent attacks against the credibility of Breaking the Set; advocating for a revival of the Cold War.’ (Breaking the Set)

Bill Kristol Calls For Americans to be ‘Awakened and Rallied’ to War

John Glaser writes for Antiwar:

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Bill Kristol is not shy about his fetish for war. His latest piece at the neoconservative Weekly Standard borders on self-parody in the way that it openly longs for a return to a time when Americans were eager to send the U.S. military off on unnecessary, imperialistic adventures….

People like Kristol are so blinded by ideology that they breach the etiquette which calls on elite commentators to camouflage their enthusiasm for war with superficial appeals to peace. He loves death and destruction and wars of choice and he doesn’t care who knows it! He is way out of the closet. That he can explicitly call for Americans to be “awakened and rallied” for new wars and not be embarrassed by the Hitler-esque tone of such despicable cravings is an indication of how lacking in self-awareness he is. His foreign policy beliefs are the kind that are not susceptible to reasoning or disconfirming evidence. His worship for the warfare state is religious in its persuasion.

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Nafeez Ahmed: Iraq invasion was about oil

Nafeez Ahmed writes for the Guardian:

Yesterday was the 11th anniversary of the 2003 Iraq War – yet to this day, few media reflections on the conflict accurately explore the extent to which opening up Persian Gulf energy resources to the world economy was a prime driver behind the Anglo-American invasion. The overwhelming narrative has been one of incompetence and failure in an otherwise noble, if ill-conceived and badly managed endeavour to free Iraqis from tyranny. To be sure, the conduct of the war was indeed replete with incompetence at a colossal scale – but this doesn’t erase the very real mendacity of the cold, strategic logic that motivated the war’s US and British planners in the first place.

According to the infamous Project for a New American Century (PNAC) document endorsed by senior Bush administration officials as far back as 1997, “While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification” for the US “to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security,” “the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.” So Saddam’s WMD was not really the issue – and neither was Saddam himself.

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Neocon William Kristol: War-Weariness As an Excuse

War loving Neocon William Kristol writes for the magazine he edits and founded, The Weekly Standard:

Are Americans today war-weary? Sure. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have been frustrating and tiring. Are Americans today unusually war-weary? No. They were wearier after the much larger and even more frustrating conflicts in Korea and Vietnam. And even though the two world wars of the last century had more satisfactory outcomes, their magnitude was such that they couldn’t help but induce a significant sense of war-weariness. And history shows that they did.

So American war-weariness isn’t new. Using it as an excuse to avoid maintaining our defenses or shouldering our responsibilities isn’t new, either. But that doesn’t make it admirable.

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How Cold War-Hungry Neocons Stage Managed Liz Wahl’s Resignation

Max Blumenthal and Rania Khalek write for Truthdig:

…Behind the coverage of Wahl’s dramatic protest, a cadre of neoconservatives was celebrating a public relations coup. Desperate to revive the Cold War, head off further cuts to the defense budget, and restore the legitimacy they lost in the ruins of Iraq, the tight-knit group of neoconservative writers and stewards had opened up a new PR front through Wahl’s resignation. And they succeeded with no shortage of help from an ossified media establishment struggling to maintain credibility in an increasingly anarchic online news environment. With isolated skeptics branded as useful idiots for Putin, the scene has been kept clean of neoconservative fingerprints, obscuring their interest in Wahl’s resignation and the broader push to deepen tensions with Russia.

Through interviews with six current RT employees—all Americans with no particular affection for Russian President Vladimir Putin or his policies—and an investigation into the political forces managing the spectacle, a story has emerged that stands in stark contrast to the one advanced by Wahl, her supporters, and the mainstream American press. It is the story, according to former colleagues, of an apolitical, deeply disgruntled employee seeking an exit strategy from a job where, sources say, she was disciplined for unprofessional behavior and had been demoted. Wahl did not return several voice and text messages sent to her cell phone. At the center of the intrigue is a young neoconservative writer and activist who helped craft Wahl’s strategy and exploit her resignation to propel the agenda of a powerful pro-war lobby in Washington.

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Anti-War Goes AWOL: Divide and Conquer in Action

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Rutgers professors: We don’t want Condoleezza Rice at commencement

Herbert Dyer, Jr. writes for All Voices:

Condoleezza Rice (nj.com image)The Rutgers University Faculty Council has approved a resolution calling upon the university’s Board of Governors to rescind its invitation to Condoleezza Rice to speak at commencement. It was just last month when the board unanimously picked Rice to receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree and serve as its principal commencement speaker for the upcoming graduation ceremonies. Rice, who was George W. Bush’s second Secretary of State, will also be paid $35,000 for her efforts.

But the faculty council’s resolution has thrown a sizable wrench into the university’s graduation gears, plans and festivities. It has reminded us all of Rice’s distasteful war record, including her misleading of the public about the ill-advised and costly Iraq war. Recall her dire warnings against Saddam Hussein’s soon-to-come “mushroom cloud” which would destroy us all? “Condoleezza Rice … played a prominent role in (the Bush) administration’s effort to mislead the American people about the presence of weapons of mass destruction,” according to the resolution. And she “at the very least condoned the Bush administration’s policy of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ such as water boarding,” the resolution read.

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Jeremy Scahill: The One Party State, The War Party

Iraq, Afghan wars will cost to $4 trillion to $6 trillion, Harvard study says

Ernesto Londoño writes for the Washington Post:

The U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will cost taxpayers $4 trillion to $6 trillion, taking into account the medical care of wounded veterans and expensive repairs to a force depleted by more than a decade of fighting, according to a new study by a Harvard researcher. Washington increased military benefits in late 2001 as the nation went to war, seeking to quickly bolster its talent pool and expand its ranks. Those decisions and the protracted nation-building efforts launched in both countries will generate expenses for years to come, Linda J. Bilmes, a public policy professor, wrote in the report that was released Thursday.

“As a consequence of these wartime spending choices, the United States will face constraints in funding investments in personnel and diplomacy, research and development and new military initiatives,”the report says. “The legacy of decisions taken during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will dominate future federal budgets for decades to come.” Bilmes said the United States has spent almost $2 trillion already for the military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. Those costs, she said, are only a fraction of the ultimate price tag. The biggest ongoing expense will be providing medical care and disability benefits to veterans of the two conflicts.

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NeoCons hang out with the Dalai Lama

Melinda Henneberger writes for The Washington Post:

As the Dalai Lama entered the room at the American Enterprise Institute, where he’d been invited to discuss the idea of “moral markets,” the crowd stood and kept still, in reverential silence. Then, though, everyone he passed began to laugh. Not at the idea that unencumbered enterprise might be the path to peace, but because His Holiness is the Melissa McCarthy of religious leaders: You look at him and can’t help it, before he even opens his mouth, and no matter what he says when he does. “We’re here,’’ said Arthur C. Brooks, the president of the conservative think tank, “to talk about what matters to us the most.” And although “as an economist it hurts me to tell you, money’s not on the list.’’

The presence of a self-described socialist and “simple Buddhist monk” as an honored guest of the enthusiastic capitalists here — Grover Norquist was in the audience, jokingly wondering if he’d worn the right thing, and real estate developer Harlan Crow was in the front row — suggested that even if it is on the list, we know it shouldn’t be near the top. That’s why, as Brooks said, “the system we believe is most able” to make success most widely available “is under question today. Have we become too materialistic? Do we need to reorder our priorities?”

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Alberto Gonzales on the targeted assassination of American citizens with no trial

Neocons want US military action against Al Qaeda in Iraq

Editor’s Note: John Bolton we all remember is a big neocon warmonger, and Oliver North served under Daddy Bush and Ronald Reagan, famous for being involved in Iran-Contra among other things. James M. Dubik is a former commander of the Multinational Security Transition Command-Iraq and the NATO Training Mission-Iraq, is a senior fellow a senior fellow the Institute for the Study of War (ISW). The ISW is a think tank founded by Kimberly Kagan,  who is married to Frederick Kagan, a resident scholar at the neocon American Enterprise Institute. Frederick Kagan is the brother of Robert Kagan, a co-founder of the Project for the New American Century. Robert Kagan is married to Victoria Nuland, spokesperson for the State Department, and is a member of the influential Aspen Strategy Group, an organization chaired by Brent Scowcroft and staffed with Bush era neocons like Richard Armitage and Eliot Cohen. The Aspen Group is funded by the usual collection of multi-national corporations and organisations like the Ford Foundation. Same as it ever was. 

Liz Cheney Quits Senate Race

Dick Cheney Gets Awkward On Fox & Friends Over NSA Spying

Dick Cheney’s Daughters In Rift Over Gay Marriage As Liz And Mary Trade Barbs On Facebook

From The Huffington Post:

The family of former vice-president, Dick Cheney, are realising politics and family are not always compatible as they battle over gay marriage.

First some history…

Cheney’s daughter, Liz, is running for Republican Senate primary in Wyoming, a typically conservative state requiring a senator with suitably conservative views.

The other Cheney daughter, Mary, is a married lesbian with two children.

So Mary’s partner, Heather Poe was understandably upset over the weekend when Liz set out her opposition to gay marriage in an interview with Fox News.

Liz said: “I love Mary very much, I love her family very much. This is just an issue on which we disagree”

Heather took to Facebook to note her dismay.

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Iraq war inquiry blocked in bid to make Bush-Blair ‘kick ass’ memo public

Tony Blair and George Bush shake handsFrom The Guardian:

Contents of key conversations between Tony Blair and a bellicose George W Bush, who declares he is ready to “kick ass”, are thought to be among documents relating to the Iraq war that the government is withholding from publication.

It emerged this week that the Cabinet Office is resisting requests from the Iraq inquiry, the body set up to draw lessons from the conflict, for “more than 130 records of conversations” between Blair, his successor, Gordon Brown, and Bush to be made public. In a letter to David Cameron, published on the inquiry’s website, the committee’s chairman, Sir John Chilcot, disclosed that “25 notes from Mr Blair to President Bush” and “some 200 cabinet-level discussions” were also being withheld.

The standoff between the inquiry and Sir Jeremy Heywood, the cabinet secretary, has been going on for five months and has meant that the “Maxwellisation process”, in which politicians and officials are warned that they will be criticised in the report, is on hold.

As a result, a date for the final publication of the report has yet to be agreed, more than four years after the inquiry started.

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Cheney Insists Iraq War Was Worth It Because Of WMD

dick cheneyFrom Think Progress:

Former Vice President Dick Cheney said on Monday that what the United States gained as a result of the war in Iraq was that Iraq now does not have weapons of mass destruction.

While professing that he’s not trying to blame Cheney or President Bush for doing anything wrong by invading Iraq, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly wondered what the U.S. got out of the whole thing. “They finger pointed you and Bush and I don’t want to do that,” O’Reilly said, “But we spent a $1 trillion on this with a lot of pain and suffering on the American military. What did we get out of it? Beside Saddam being out of there?”

While Cheney meandered for a few minutes, he finally settled on the main prize: an Iraq without weapons of mass destruction.

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America’s Most Beloved War Criminals

From Truthout:

[...] It is not particularly clear how, or why, secretaries of state acquired this enduring immunization from the kind of polarization and criticism to which defense secretaries and other Cabinet officials are subject. While there is undeniably something about the office that lends itself to unjustified acclaim – ask an enthusiastic Hillary Clinton supporter to name a few of her substantive accomplishments in her four years as America’s chief diplomat – Rice, Powell, Albright and Kissinger are all exceptionally skilled at playing the media and the public at large. The blame ultimately rests with anyone who tacitly supports or contributes to this culture of valuing personality over substance. This includes the likes of Stephen Colbert, who apparently sees nothing wrong in having a good time with someone who literally expressed indifference over the prospect of millions of people being put in gas chambers. Consider how we would react to a foreign tyrant saying what Kissinger said about Russian Jews or what Albright said about a half a million dead children. For now, though, it seems that only those of us on the “fringe” of the left are unwilling to forget Condi Rice’s fanatical fearmongering that helped sell a war that ended the lives of hundreds of thousands of people for no reason at all. Far be it for us to try to ruin the “real progress” of having her on the playoffs committee.

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Darth Cheney cancels Toronto trip, says Canada is too dangerous

Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney said he felt there was too high a risk of "violent protest," said Ryan Ruppert.From The National Post:

Former U.S. vice-president Dick Cheney has cancelled an April appearance in Toronto citing concerns Canada is too dangerous.

“He felt that in Canada the risk of violent protest was simply too high,” said Ryan Ruppert, president of promotions company Spectre Live Corp., which had booked Mr. Cheney for an April 24 appearance at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

“They specifically referenced what happened in Vancouver,” Mr, Ruppert added.

In September, Mr. Cheney was speaking at a private club in Vancouver when protesters massed outside the front door harassing ticket holders and in one instance, choking a security guard.

The former vice-president was reportedly held inside the building for more than seven hours as Vancouver Police in riot gear dispersed the demonstrators.

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Empire Under Obama: America’s “Secret Wars” in Over 100 Countries Around the World

2013.10.25.drone.mainFrom Andrew Gavin Marshall:

Obama’s global terror campaign is not only dependent upon his drone assassination program, but increasingly it has come to rely upon the deployment of Special Operations forces in countries all over the world, reportedly between 70 and 120 countries at any one time. As Obama has sought to draw down the large-scale ground invasions of countries (as Bush pursued in Afghanistan and Iraq), he has escalated the world of ‘covert warfare,’ largely outside the oversight of Congress and the public. One of the most important agencies in this global “secret war” is the Joint Special Operations Command, or JSOC for short.

JSOC was established in 1980 following the failed rescue of American hostages at the U.S. Embassy in Iran as “an obscure and secretive corner of the military’s hierarchy,” noted the Atlantic. It experienced a “rapid expansion” under the Bush administration, and since Obama came to power, “appears to be playing an increasingly prominent role in national security” and “counterterrorism,” in areas which were “traditionally covered by the CIA.” One of the most important differences between these covert warfare operations being conducted by JSOC instead of the CIA is that the CIA has to report to Congress, whereas JSOC only reports its most important activities to the President’s National Security Council.

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Former Bush Official: We Went Into Iraq Because ‘We Were Looking For Somebody’s Ass To Kick’

From The Huffington Post:

New York Times reporter Peter Baker is out with a new book that reportedly reveals some eyebrow-raising details about the Iraq War.

A senior official from former President George W. Bush’s administration is quoted in “Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House” saying American troops went into Iraq because the U.S. was looking for a fight.

“The only reason we went into Iraq, I tell people now, is we were looking for somebody’s ass to kick. Afghanistan was too easy,” the anonymous official said, according to Politico.

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