With the US withdraw of troops from Afghanistan, there have been numerous pieces written about how a number of think tanks over the years have taken donations from defense contractors while promoting the benefits of war in certain countries.
Here is the latest example, from Sarah Lazare of In These Times:
On August 12, the military contractor CACI International Inc. told its investors that the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is hurting its profits. The same contractor is also funding a think tank that is concurrently arguing against the withdrawal. This case is worth examining both because it is routine, and because it highlights the venality of our “expert”-military contractor feedback loop, in which private companies use think tanks to rally support for wars they’ll profit from.
CACI International is listed as a “corporate sponsor” of the Institute for Study of War, which describes itself as a “non-partisan, non-profit, public policy research organization.” Dr. Warren Phillips, lead director of CACI International, is on the board of the think tank. (Other funders include General Dynamics and Microsoft.)
In an August 20 paper, the think tank argued that “Russia, China, Iran, and Turkey are weighing how to take advantage of the United States’ hurried withdrawal.” Jack Keane, a retired four star general and board member of the Institute for Study of War, meanwhile, has been on a cable news blitz arguing against the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Kimberly Kagan, founder and president of the Institute for the Study of War, told Fox News on August 17 that the U.S. withdrawal could cause Afghanistan to become the “second school of jihadism.”
Separately, Eli Clifton has outlined other think tanks that CACI has funded, including the Center for Security Policy (CSP).
Meanwhile, former think tanker Mattathias Schwartz wrote a piece for Business Insider entitled "I spent 5 Years Inside DC's Foreign Policy 'Blob.' Here's why the experts keep getting us into unwinnable wars in Afghanistan."
Here is a quote from that piece: "What I didn't do was actually go to Iraq or Afghanistan. Instead, I ate free buffet lunches, collected business cards, and mainlined off-the-record propaganda that both of America's long-running wars were worthy undertakings, steered by capable hands."
Here is another quote: "Into one end of the Blob goes the money — gifts from corporations, wealthy individuals, and, in some cases, foreign governments. Out the other end comes white papers, books, op-ed articles, salaries, fellowships, and panel discussions."