The Project for the New American Century, a letterhead group closely associated with the American Enterprise Institute, served as the cornerstone of a neoconservative-led campaign to promote the 2003 invasion of Iraq, helping unite key figures from various ideological factions behind the cause. By 2006, as the United States became increasingly bogged down in a bloody counterinsurgency war in Iraq, the group phased out most operations. Its various directors and supporters, however, remain active today, particularly in the effort to push for war against Iran.
John Yoo, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and professor at the University of California-Berkeley, is a former Justice Department official who helped author the Bush administration's infamous “torture memos." Yoo has continued to defend the Bush administration's more controversial policies, speciously arguing on the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq that unless the war's critics are willing to restore the Baath Party to power in Iraq, they must concede "that on balance, the benefits of the war outweigh the costs." Yoo has also defended the Obama administration's targeted assassination program, including targeting U.S. citizens.
A fierce advocate of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq while an adviser to the Bush administration, Richard Perle later expressed misgivings about some aspects of the war, arguing that the Iraqis would likely not have handled the postwar situation "as badly as we did. We sent thousands of Americans over there to run a country they knew nothing about." Regarding the decision to invade, however, Perle states: "You can’t, a decade later, go back and say, 'Well we shouldn’t have done that.'"
Veteran Middle East hawk Paul Wolfowitz—a key architect of the Iraq War—continues to support the decision to topple Saddam Hussein. In a recent interview with the Sunday Times, Wolfowitz said that although the Bush administration had certainly made errors in Iraq, “we still don’t know how all this is all going to end,” offering South Korea as an example of a country that eventually democratized decades after a U.S.-led intervention.
Former UN ambassador John Bolton, a vocal advocate of unilateral U.S. military intervention, is unapologetic about the U.S. war in Iraq, even by the standards of most neoconservatives. While dismissing those critical of the humanitarian impact of the war as admirers of "totalitarianism," Bolton brushed aside the notion that the war was at all about "making life better for Iraqis." Invoking a war in which the United States was actually attacked, Bolton declared, "we didn't wage war after Pearl Harbor to do nation-building for our enemies."
Michael Goldfarb, a former researcher at the Project for the New American Century, is a neoconservative pundit, activist, and consultant who has proven adept at funneling anonymous Republican donations into high-profile advocacy efforts. Sensationalistic reports published by the Washington Free Beacon—a conservative blog of Goldfarb's Center for American Freedom—have cemented his reputation as a self-styled provocateur with little regard for the facts.
The Philanthropy Roundtable is a research and advocacy group that helps right-wing donors channel money to an assortment of philanthropic and political causes. The group, which has had numerous connections to neoconservative foundations and advocacy groups over the years, recently attracted notice for its role in helping bankroll efforts to fight environmental regulations.
The Washington Free Beacon is a news and commentary site published by the right-wing Center for American Freedom. Modeling itself after liberal blogs like Think Progress, the Beacon has developed a reputation for personal attacks and sensationalistic headlines, often hyping neoconservative narratives. The Beacon's "tabloid-style" coverage led one columnist to lambast the site as "a down-market version of the Weekly Standard."
From the Wires
Most of the U.S. media and foreign policy commentariat opted to overlook the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq—save for the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute, which held a low-key event devoted to celebrating the so-called "surge" in 2007.
Neoconservatives and like-minded militarists continue to hold sway over the Republican Party's foreign policy establishment 10 years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, but they face a growing insurrection from libertarian deficit hawks.
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