Buchanan accuses 'McCain's neocon warmonger' of treason
According to conservative commentator and former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan, Sen. John McCain's chief foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann is a 'dual loyalist,' 'neocon warmonger' involved in activities that 'none dare call treason.'
Scheunemann's former employer, Orion Strategies, is a lobbying firm with strong ties to Mikheil Saakashvili's administration in Georgia.
Since Georgia attempted to retake South Ossetia by force, triggering a sharp, violent rebuke by Russian forces, Sen. McCain has been by far the most strident advocate of US support for the former Soviet state. And his top adviser, says Buchanan, may well be the next Henry Kissinger or Zbigniew Brzezinski.
"He is a dual loyalist, a foreign agent whose assignment is to get America committed to spilling the blood of her sons for client regimes who have made this moral mercenary a rich man," he wrote.
In his recent history, Scheunemann was a key member of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), which lobbied President Clinton for war with Iraq for years before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He was also a signatory on a letter to President George W. Bush, just days after the terrorist attacks, demanding an invasion of Iraq and threatening political consequences if the president did not comply.
In addition, Scheunemann served as executive director of Ahmad Chalabi's group, "The Committee for Liberation of Iraq," a pro-war organization formed in 2002. Chalabi, once dubbed the "George Washington of Iraq," has since been accused of providing false information to US authorities and is currently under investigation.
"Most important, Scheunemann's former lobbying firm, Orion Strategies, received at lest $800,000 from the government of Georgia between 2004 and May 15, 2008, when Scheunemann finally severed his ties -- officially, at least -- to the firm," notes The Nation. "Before that, between January 1, 2007, and May 15, 2008, Scheunemann was officially on the payroll as both Georgia's lobbyist and McCain's top adviser, during which time Georgia paid Orion and $290,000 and McCain paid him $70,000."
While the Bush administration has conceded that the Russian response to Georgia's aggression is not grounds for starting another war, Scheunemann and Orion Strategies have succeeded in making Georgian membership in NATO a popular position. Sens. McCain and Obama, along with the Bush administration, are all pushing to have the embattled nation inducted into the alliance, bringing a pact of war along with it should Russian forces again cross into the country.
"Others who were once uneasy about the influence of conservatives on Mr. McCain say that their worries have not been realized, even as Mr. McCain has taken conservative positions," writes Elizabeth Bumiller in the New York Times.
"This is the situation in which the interventionists have placed our country: committed to go to war for countries and causes that do not justify war, against a Russia that is re-emerging as a great power only to find NATO squatting on her doorstep," said Buchanan.
"[T]here doesn't seem to be any momentum either for a direct legal challenge or a congressional investigation, which could subpoena the players and get sworn testimony," reported Robert Dreyfuss for The Nation.
McCain staff have called the criticism of Scheunemann's ties to Georgia "disgraceful," and even alleged that Democrats are parroting claims injected into Western media by a Russian public relations firm.