The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Cast of Characters

Randy Scheunemann: McCain Adviser Campaigned for War

Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) speaks with his director of foriegn policy and national security Randy Scheunemann (L), as they board McCain's chartered plane at Washington's Ronald Reagan Airport, May 16, 2008. (Associated Press)

By Peter Slevin
CHICAGO -- Randy Scheunemann, the foreign policy adviser to Sen. John McCain who today accused Sen. Barack Obama of a "policy of delusion" toward terrorism, was a prominent advocate of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in the lead-up to the war.

In late 2002, Scheunemann helped create The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq and became the group's executive director. Its mission, pursued with the Bush administration's blessing, was to build public support for the overthrow of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

McCain (R-Ariz.) was on the committee, along with Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), former Secretary of State George Shultz, retired Army Gen. Wayne A. Downing and former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.), who described the project at the time as "a group of people who will talk to Americans about why the liberation of Iraq is something the United States ought to do."

Scheunemann is a longtime GOP foreign policy specialist who has also worked on the staffs of former Senate Republican leaders Bob Dole (Kan.) and Trent Lott (Miss.) He was a board member of the neoconservative think tank, the Project for the New American Century, which often reflected the views of Bush administration hardliners.

In recent years, Scheunemann has registered as a lobbyist for several foreign governments, including Georgia, Macedonia and Taiwan, according to published reports. His firm has also lobbied for the National Rife Association and defense contractor Lockheed Martin.

A Washington Post article in November 2002 reported that The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq was being created as the Bush administration was preparing the nation for a likely war that was ultimately launched in March 2003.

The committee's founding coincided with what administration officials called a "new phase" of briefings for foreign policy leaders, Iraq specialists and other opinion makers.

One goal was to reverse a decline in support for possible military action.

"Despite campaign trail criticism of Iraq by President Bush and Vice President Cheney," the Post wrote on Nov. 4, 2002, "polls released last week showed a decline in support for U.S. military action to topple Hussein. The Pew Research Center found that 55 percent of Americans support an attack on Iraq, down from 64 percent in August. Fox News polls showed a decline to 62 percent from 72 percent."

Pew researcher Carroll Doherty noted a widening partisan divide, with 51 percent of Democrats opposing action in Iraq and 40 percent favoring it. He cited "a great deal of concern about the consequences of war."

Obama, then an Illinois state legislator, delivered a speech in Chicago the previous month opposing war in Iraq.

"There's going to be a huge need in the post-election vacuum to make sure that what happened in August doesn't happen in November and December," Scheunemann said in The Post story, describing administration determination to avoid a repeat of August, when officials found themselves losing ground to opponents of military action in Iraq. Scheunemann said Capitol Hill offices have been "getting a lot of calls against and not many for."

Posted at 4:26 PM ET on Jun 17, 2008  | Category:  Cast of Characters
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"Crazy Evangelical Christians" ? A Jewish doctor named Goldstein from America enters a Mosque in Palestine and murders 30+ people at prayer. He is killed by the survivors and his grave is now a place of pilgrimage and he is considered a saint. Now that's crazy! Depriving 1.5 million people in Gaza of fuel, food, water, clothing,livelyhoods, freedom from air attacks because the unjust treatment of Palestinians in their own land forces them to defend themselves is crazy. EVIL CRAZY. Without justice there can never be peace and zionism does not want peace through justice. Vote for "eternal war" McCain. The zionist's man.

Posted by: O Reich | June 30, 2008 10:31 AM

The previous comment is pretty funny...

Last I checked, the men with the most political power in this country are crazy evangelical Christians, not Jews. It is true that the Israeli lobby has significant sway on American policy, but the Israel-US alliance is not rooted in religion. Nationalism, militarism, and greed are our common bonds.

Jews outside of Israel tend to be less reactionary than the Israeli people and government. The American Jewish population is the world's largest and they tend to vote for the less reactionary of our two political parties. Even this year, I wager with confidence that November's polls will reflect a landslide victory for Barack Hussein Obama among Jewish voters. The Democratic nominee is certainly less militaristic and war-like in his actions, opinions, and rhetoric than his Republican counterpart. This sentiment is especially keen in the Arab world. Arab Muslims prefer--and perhaps even like--Obama, as do American Jews. It is the delusional, insulated, willfully ignorant, evangelical Christians who must be brought up to speed.

Posted by: Isaiah | June 29, 2008 1:10 AM

you american parasite soon are finito,the zionist jews that control your gov is bankrupting your country,america debt;48 trillion worthless dolar,if you want peace,then you must abolish the FEDERAL RESERVE BANK,the jews want to atack iran now.If america will atack iran,your days are numbered.America will be destroy.Have a nice life in jewish america.

Posted by: Nic | June 21, 2008 5:37 PM

Missions Accomplished, after all the years and all the US debt, there is a 100+ acre vatican city sized US emabassy recently finished.
Oh, we captured Saddam Hussain, seen him hung.

Most important, and next on the agenda is to get that agreement with the Iraqi official's signed to allow us occupy Iraq who have so far, have not agreed and has brought more uprising from all of the Middle Eastern countries. The Iraqi official and are under a lot of pressure from the US to agree to it, and from the Iraqi people not not agree. The fight continues..Iraq is damned if they do and damned if don't agree. Our first agreement with them, which was to leave, expires in December of this year.
With an embassy like we've built in Iraqi, the biggest in all the world, we are not going to just leave it. Not under McCain and not under Obama. Not after the cost in BILLIONS it took of our tax dollars to build it..What is most sad about all this is the country is still without power and water much of the time. Orphans and Widows run in the streets, homeless, and beg for handouts..But our interests to occupy and fortress ourselves comes first. Of course! How many Americans thought that our tax dollars were going over there to help the Iraqis rebuild their country? To give them freedom? How many American people think our children are over there fighting for our freedom and realize that we have lost freedoms?

How many American's know that this new Mega US embassy is self contained with power, water plants and nice swimming pools, apartments, Gyms and all contained withing 18 feet thick walls..Inside it is all the nice things that Iraqi families can only dream about.
Do those people want to have us occupy THEIR land and control their resources?..what would we do if another country did this in our land?

I wont vote for either of the Post turtles running for POTUS! I may have to vote for a 3rd party. What will you do?

Posted by: jj | June 19, 2008 4:48 PM

I wonder if this neocon ever wore the uniform or is, like the rest of them, a chicken hawk? Will McSame criticise him like he did Obama?

Posted by: phil | June 19, 2008 7:05 AM

Despite the many mistakes in Iraq, why is that Americans cannot see that we have achieved a great deal there, and that the country is making great progress now? We should be proud of that, instead of dwelling on past mistakes.

Posted by: Michael | June 18, 2008 2:18 PM

Let's continue the biggest foreign policy disaster in American History for four more years. These guys had it So wrong for so long!

Posted by: thebob.bob | June 18, 2008 2:01 PM

"the only way to lose a war in america is to elect a democrat..."

Nixon was a Democrat? Who knew!

Posted by: DrBB | June 18, 2008 11:10 AM

Randy Scheunemann was an advisor to Rumsfeld, you know this Donald Rumsfeld -

"We are paying a very heavy price for the mismanagement -- that's the kindest word I can give you -- of Donald Rumsfeld, of this war,'' he said. "The price is very, very heavy and I regret it enormously".

"I think that Donald Rumsfeld will go down... as one of the worst secretaries of defense in history."

McCain 2/19/07

...and then he hires Rumsfeld's advisor as his point man on Foreign Policy

also a matter of public record Scheunemann lobbied the Senator's office while inside the campaign

Posted by: ayfkm | June 18, 2008 8:58 AM

Scheunemann seems to have sprung to life fully formed 22 years ago, as a staffer on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

When and where was he born? No one seems to know. What is his educational background? Ditto. Is anything at all of a personal nature known about him? [CRICKETS]

Could we have some reporting, pleeeeeeease?

Posted by: penalcolony | June 17, 2008 10:34 PM

And McCain is not running for a Bush third term .

Posted by: pam , s.c. | June 17, 2008 10:15 PM

So if we elect McCain, we can be assured that the policy of the next four years will be as deluded as the last eight.

Posted by: Tom in California | June 17, 2008 10:14 PM

So when will he be indicted for war crimes?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 17, 2008 10:13 PM

It would appear that Mr. Scheunemann also suffers from a pre-911 viewpoint. The PNAC's designs on Iraq predate 9-11 by a long margin and needless to say, represent a fatal distraction from the actual GWOT.

That anyone takes him OR James Woolsey seriously at this stage is boggling.

Posted by: Paul Dirks | June 17, 2008 9:44 PM

the only way to lose a war in america is to elect a democrat...

Posted by: aadsdsfa | June 17, 2008 8:19 PM


Great Blog post!

Posted by: Cornfields | June 17, 2008 4:56 PM

Shocker, and I'm sure today he is campaigning for war with Iran.

John McCain's America, more war less jobs!

Posted by: Julian | June 17, 2008 4:47 PM

Ah what a surprise. A real maverick, that McCain! So eager to think and act differently!

Posted by: Piter | June 17, 2008 4:39 PM

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