Today, President Bush delivered a speech on Afghanistan at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C. AEI and the Bush administration are deeply entwined, something Bush admitted during his speech. “I admire AEI a lot,” Bush said. “After all, I have been consistently borrowing some of your best people. More than 20 AEI scholars have worked in my administration.”
Below are a few examples of the people and ideas that AEI has shared — or tried to share — with the Bush White House over recent years:
— Escalation. President Bush’s escalation plan is based on a report by AEI scholar Frederick Kagan. CNN reporter Suzanne Malveaux said of AEI’s influence on Iraq policy: “One conservative policy group that has the president’s ear and is influencing his thinking is the American Enterprise Institute.”
— The Cheneys. Dick Cheney served as AEI Senior Fellow from 1993–1995, and his wife Lynn currently serves as Senior Fellow studying education and children. “Both Lynne and I have a long history with the American Enterprise Institute, and we value the association,” Vice President Cheney said in 2005.
— Bomb Iran. “We must bomb Iran,” AEI Resident Scholar Joshua Muravchik wrote in an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times. Muravchik called for an “air campaign against Tehran’s nuclear facilities”
— Richard Perle. Perle has been at AEI since 1987, and currently serves as a Resident Fellow. A leading neoconservative, Perle was a fierce proponent of regime change in Iraq. He served as Chairman of the Defense Policy Board from 2001 to 2003.
— John Bolton. Served as Senior Vice President of AEI before coming to the Bush administration. Bolton currently serves as a Senior Fellow at AEI. “There is no such thing as the United Nations,” Bolton said. “If the U.N. secretary building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.”
— Climate change inaction. AEI offered $10,000 to climate change deniers to speak out against the recent IPCC climate change study.
— Social Security privatization. AEI has long been a vocal supporter of Social Security privatization.
— Greg Mankiw. A visiting scholar at AEI, Mankiw served as Bush’s chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers from 2003 to 2005. In 2004, Mankiw said the outsourcing of U.S. jobs overseas was “probably a plus for the economy in the long run.”
— John Yoo. Currently a visiting scholar for AEI, and a former deputy assistant attorney general in the office of legal counsel of the Department of Justice. Yoo authored the infamous torture memo that argued interrogation techniques only constituted torture if they are “equivalent in intensity to…organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.”