Monday, November 08, 2004

Council on Foreign Relations: Right-wing outpost?

Perusing the New York Times online the other day I ran across an article by Roger Cohen titled Israel, the U.S. and the Age of Terror. Sounds interesting, I thought, let me give it a whirl.

All was going well until I ran across this passage:

Conservative supporters of Mr. Bush scoff at the suggestion, embraced in every European and Arab capital, that the American tilt toward Israel and the failure to move toward a settlement are the most important single factors in feeding the anti-American radicalism that produces terrorism.

"It's fantasy land to think some change in Middle East policy would have an effect on the terrorists," said Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. "For years, you had Bill Clinton focusing like a laser on an Israeli-Palestinian settlement, and did that discourage bin Laden from plotting to destroy us? These people want Israel eradicated, so there's no way you can accommodate them."

When I hear something like this I think "wingnuttery". It's such an outrageous remark - false on its face - over-the-top in its delivery - one would think it dropped from the lips of a Coulter-type personality at the AEI or some other such wingnut factory.

So, what exactly is the Council on Foreign Relations? I'm not exactly sure, but I've been seeing them quoted in a bunch of articles recently. They're strategy is working. It seems to be one of several hundred - literally - right-wing organizations funded by big corporations and right-wing wackos. Their goal is to put forth a facade of broad, bipartisan appeal in the form of a large body of 'experts', consultants, scholars, etc. and then when it is quote time, grab one of the frothing-at-the-mouth right-wingers and have them spew nonsense. It's a phenomenon described much more aptly in Eric Alterman's book 'What Liberal Media?'.

I'd never heard of this Max Boot character before so I decided to read-up on his wingnut credentials. It didn't take me long. A quick Google turns up his home page at CFR, which includes a bunch of right-wing articles he's authored. How do I know they're right-wing? Well, it took me all of two minutes to pick a right-wing-titled article 'Bush's Solid, McKinley-Style Victory' and peruse it for disinformation. In it, Boot says the following about the bin Laden tape released just before the election:

According to one translation, this meant any U.S. state that voted the wrong way would pay a price. Such threats, backed up by bombs, swayed the outcome of the Spanish election. But Australian voters did not knuckle under, and neither did the voters of the United States.

The notion that the Spanish elections were swayed by the Madrid bombing has long been discredited. They were swayed because the Spanish government lied about who perpetrated the bombing, then tried to cover-up their lies. The bombing itself had no effect whatsoever. Of course, our own right-wing media helped to cover up that truth nicely.

So, be on the lookout for more right-wingnut quotes from CFR - the supposedly non-partisan think tank that is actually just a front for more right-wing frothing.

No comments: