Counterterrorism expert Rand Beers comes to Denver today to hold a series of town-hall meetings on the Iraq War and the president’s national security strategies which the former White House advisor called "misguided, myopic and ultimately dangerous."
The global war on terror and the continuing disintegration of Iraq and Afghanistan are expected to be some of the most contentious issues on the presidential campaign trail this election season. Now, Beers is using his 35-year foreign policy career to seed local chapters of the National Security Network, a progressive counterterrorism think tank he founded in 2006.
From the organization’s Web site:
One of the most important missions of the Network is to strengthen citizen support for responsible foreign policy throughout the country. We bridge the divide between experts and citizens, by offering local communities the chance to get involved, promote their own national security experts and leaders, and engage with experts from Washington and around the world.
Colorado is among eight targeted states — along with California, Connecticut, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, New York and Pennsylvania — to establish mini-policy groups as a local information resource on foreign policy and a touchstone for national security experts and policymakers.
The group has already established chapters in the battleground states of Ohio, Iowa and Florida, which have hosted a series of visiting speaker events on diplomacy, national security, energy and nuclear defense systems. The network boasts 2,000 members and policy experts working to challenge what they consider the Bush administration’s misguided efforts on national security.
Beers served in the Marines during the Vietnam War and later entered civil service working in a variety of senior roles at the State Department in foreign affairs, counterterrorism and counternarcotics policy. However, he is most renown as a National Security Council adviser to four presidents — Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush — a position requiring serious political acumen in such ideologically different administrations.
But his two-decade tenure in the White House was not without controversy.
While the director of counter-narcotics in the Clinton administration, Beers was accused of conflating the war on drugs with Islamic fundamentalist terrorism — even going so far in a deposition to claim that al Qaeda was using its Afghanistan base camps to train FARC, the notorious Marxist rebels that traffic in cocaine to fund their attacks against the Colombian government. According to the Counterpunch story, Beers later recanted his testimony claiming he was misinformed.
In 2003, days before the invasion of Iraq, Beers abruptly resigned as counterterrorism adviser to President George W. Bush in protest over the claims against Saddam Hussein that led the nation into war.
Shortly thereafter, Beers became a national security adviser to the 2004 Kerry-Edwards campaign, where he worked to thwart his former boss’ re-election bid, much to the surprise of Washington insiders, according to a June 2003 Alternet post:
"I can’t think of a single example in the last 30 years of a person who has done something so extreme," said Paul C. Light, a scholar with the Brookings Institution. "He’s not just declaring that he’s a Democrat. He’s declaring that he’s a Kerry Democrat, and the way he wants to make a difference in the world is to get his former boss out of office."
The Denver events will take place at:
Wednesday, June 18, 12:00 – 2:00pm
Baker & Hostetler, LLP
303 East 17th Ave., Suite 1100
Denver, Colorado 80203-1264
Wednesday, June 18, 6:00 – 8:00pm
Kamlet Shepherd & Reichert, LLP
1515 Arapahoe Street, Tower 1, Suite 1600
Denver, Colorado 80202