Duane Carridge, Ben Carson’s anti-Ben Carson foreign policy adviser, is bad news

Remember Duane Carridge? The foreign policy adviser for Ben Carson’s campaign who went on the record with the New York Times to say that “Nobody has been able to sit down with him and have him get one iota of intelligent information about the Middle East”? Well, Carson’s campaign distanced themselves from him by, in effect, calling him a senile old fool who doesn’t really have a role in the campaign. But today, the Times is reporting that Carridge had a hand in crafting Carson’s off-the-wall-bonkers op-ed in the Washington Post, which Carson very clearly didn’t write himself, but which nevertheless outlines “his” strategy for how he would eliminate the Islamic State.

Here’s an excerpt:

We have in place both the technical and legal capabilities to prohibit the widespread dissemination of hate-based propaganda disguised as religious teaching. We can monitor social media by expanding the search algorithms already in place to safeguard against inappropriate behavior, including religious hate speech. Once flagged, we can notify platform providers and encourage them to censor communications (and block users) that violate the terms of constructive discourse. The hacker group Anonymous has already provided a model for accomplishing this. We should use every tool at our disposal to root out and destroy the global online recruitment efforts of these extremist organizations. We must not allow their macabre murder videos and threats to be promoted anywhere.

Setting aside the fact that our government already engages in this kind of mass surveillance, and already works with social media networks in counterterrorism efforts, the idea is particularly unsettling coming from Carson given that he considers “religious hate speech” to include any criticism — polite or otherwise — of fundamentalist Christianity. Furthermore, Anonymous may have declared “war” on the Islamic State, but thus far all they have done is shut down Twitter accounts. That’s great, but shutting down Twitter accounts isn’t much more than an online game of whack-a-mole. And again, our government is already doing it.

However, broadly speaking, if Carridge is still playing a role in Carson’s campaign, it may be worth taking a look at just what kind of foreign policy expertise he’s bringing to the table. After all, he’s got an extensive resume — one that’s either impressive or disastrous, depending on how you feel about American imperialism.

That’s because Carridge was the head of CIA operations in Latin America during the first three years of the Reagan administration — years that we generally look back on as a time when we weren’t exactly a force for good in the world. Although to hear Carridge tell it, that’s fine as long as America got what it wanted:

Contras, via Wikimedia Commons

Contras, via Wikimedia Commons

Under Carridge’s watch, the United States toppled democratic regimes and installed puppet governments across Central and South America. He is directly or indirectly responsible for what could reasonably be construed as war crimes across the region — including but not limited to death squads in Chile under Pinochet. Following his exit from Latin America, the United States was forced to pay reparations to Nicaragua after being found guilty by the International Court of Justice at the Hague of illegally mining Nicaragua’s harbors, which was Carridge’s idea. He was also instrumental in recruiting and organizing the Contras in an attempt to overthrow the democratically-elected Sandinista government in Nicaragua, and later received a pardon from President George H.W. Bush before his trial for perjury over his role in the Iran-Contra scandal could be completed.

As the New York Times wrote in a 2011 profile of Carridge, who by then was operating his own private intelligence service, “From his days running secret wars for the C.I.A. in Central America to his consulting work in the 1990s on a plan to insert Special Operations troops in Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein, Mr. Clarridge has been an unflinching cheerleader for American intervention overseas.”

It’s a common refrain in presidential politics for candidates who are clearly out of their depth on a given issue to say they’ll “hire the right people” and “get good advisors” to supplement their knowledge in areas where their experience is thin. But it’s hard for Carson to make that case when the advice he’s getting is likely worse than getting no advice at all. Duane Carridge is bad news. If he says you don’t know anything about foreign policy, consider it a compliment.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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32 Responses to “Duane Carridge, Ben Carson’s anti-Ben Carson foreign policy adviser, is bad news”

  1. mf_roe says:

    Might I suggest you check this out:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrXgLhkv21Y

  2. goulo says:

    Holy shit, thanks for linking to that video “Duane Clarridge Defends the Empire” – what an amazingly brazen dangerous arrogant amoral asshole Clarridge is. (And either seriously lying or seriously deluded about the damage which happened in those Central American “interventions” by the US.)

  3. nicho says:

    I’ll wait and see if the fascists remain in power in Spain. They’ve already done a lot of damage. If they get back in, they will finish the job. They’re itching to repeal same-sex marriage.

  4. nicho says:

    I still don’t take Sarah Palin seriously, but 59,000,000 Americans voted for her.

  5. Indigo says:

    I like Spain. Mexico’s workable. Costa Rica is overpriced although, as I’ve heard Costa Rican merchants say, ” En inglés, cuesta más.”

  6. Indigo says:

    March 15, 2016 . . . Florida primary.

  7. Indigo says:

    I still haven’t figured out who they’re polling.

  8. Don Chandler says:

    I’m wondering if Trump has his eyes set on Putin’s example. That guy is RICH and FAMOUS and POWERFUL–a billionaire with an army and a propaganda machine with thugs that would make Carriage look like a dweeb…don’t forget the Russian opposition leader’s demise. Trumps hair must compare to a bare-chested Putin on a horse to the right wingers…for some unknown reason. Maybe Doug was ‘right on’ with that Trouble with Trumps [Tribbles] image. Trump somehow got thrown into the mix.

  9. Don Chandler says:

    I have a hard time imagining Cruz winning in a general election. But like yourself, my crystal ball is cracked. We are a divided land. Supreme Court is everything to gays…well, that and young people. If the US public elects a guy who can’t build a magical wall, they might think he’s actually building a magical wall. I mean, look at all the ebola that has gotten through the porous border with Mexico… and all the terrorists…not to mention the guns! That 47% probably thinks gays are going to convert them too….clueless…truly clueless. I’m hoping young people vote…maybe I’m clueless.

  10. The_Fixer says:

    Oh yes, only the most sane among a totally insane bunch of Republican voters would dare to withhold their vote from a Republican candidate, and they are few in number. The Republicans will vote for their nominee no matter who that may be. It’s a mirror of the Democrats, a lot will vote for the nominee no matter who he or she may be. This is working out to be a very important election because of the Supreme Court.

    As far as moving goes, well, I would prefer not to. However, some may be forced to move if the wrong people get back into power. I truly think that the whole US of A could be flushed down the toilet if these guys have their way. Do you think that gay rights are permanent? Not if a sufficiently juiced-up nutcase Republican gets in power. That’s the kind of thing that worries me.

  11. The_Fixer says:

    Well, I have a friend in Canada who says she would sponsor me. I have the view that Canada is inching back left. Of course, Harper did a lot of damage there and it will take a while to fix, but Trudeau is certainly a step in the right direction.

    Of course, these guys have not been elected and I really think that they won’t be. It may be misplaced faith, but I don’t think that the whole country will go bonkers (again).

  12. mf_roe says:

    Lots of prime sea front property opening up in Antarctica.

  13. mf_roe says:

    Trump has that Sadistic “Bad Boy” thing working for him, it is manna from Heaven for the masochists that comprise a large percentage of the gopers. They really love groveling at the feet of Supreme Leader.

  14. nicho says:

    Where would you go? I’m serious. I’ve thought of emigrating too, but to where? the Euro countries are reeling from austerity and many of them slamming the doors shut — unless you have a ton of money. Fascism is on the rise everywhere. Canada, despite Justin, has swung inexorably to the right. Australia won’t take you; they’re full up. The Middle East? Really? It’s kind of perplexing.

  15. nicho says:

    Speaking of Trump as an entertainer, James Wolcott’s most recent article compares him to insult comics. It’s a pretty funny column.

    The plump, hedonistic sugar-daddiness of trophy wives and Miss Universe pageantry that give Donald Trump’s features their glazed indulgence mirror the moist sheen of Italy’s former prime minister, media mogul, and ringmaster of bunga-bunga bacchanal, Silvio Berlusconi. It was Berlusconi who made Reality TV and its soap-opera paroxysms the template of political life in Italy, and as the former star, host, and boardroom executioner of NBC’s The Apprentice, Trump received an invaluable education in the immersive bubble of bogus posturing that has become his spaceship.

    An orange Elvis squirted from a can of Cheez Whiz, the Trump of The Apprentice bent the distortion field of Reality TV until it fit him like a girdle.

    http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2015/11/wolcott-trump-insult-comic

  16. mf_roe says:

    Cruz hasn’t attacked any repug, his first target must be Rubio and it will have to come fairly soon. he has kept out of the preliminaries because he is smart enough to know most of the field will self-destruct.

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  18. Don Chandler says:

    The republicans do that to all of us…make us carry a barf bag. So, on moving from this country, many folks said as much when Reagan ran. Just stay put. Hopefully it won’t happen.

    I think Trump suffered a mortal wound to his ego from Obama. He wants the presidency bad. His followers are super revved up. Fear the Hairdo ;) When push comes to shove, that 47% that Romney got will vote for anyone but Hillary.

  19. Don Chandler says:

    Cruz doesn’t attack Trump. Trump says they like each other. Trump isn’t going to be back seat to Cruz. In fact, as VP, Cruz could be held on a shorter leash than in Congress….

  20. The_Fixer says:

    Ugh, Trump and Cruz. Pardon me while I regurgitate breakfast. I fear that I would have to move from this country if they ever got into the White House.

    I don’t know, maybe Trump is serious, or started it as a lark and now is serious. If he does get elected, that will be the downfall of the nation – morally and fiscally. The USA will be a gilded yet empty shell of what it once was.

    With a fabulous border fence that no one will be wanting to breach.

  21. mf_roe says:

    “I fear a Trump/Cruz ticket.” don’t worry Trump has better survival skills than that, he would never put Cruz on his ticket. And I’m sure that Cruz isn’t running to be anybody’s flunky.

  22. Don Chandler says:

    Cruz has been running a shrewd campaign. He’s seen as an outsider… like carson and trump. I fear a Trump/Cruz ticket. Cruz could effectively get the religious right mobilized for a not-so-religious Trump Presidency. I hear you on the “how could Trump still be in the race with all the things he says.” He’s an entertainer…much like Rush Limbaugh…god only knows why people like Rush…or those other whacko personalities. Trump probably has broader appeal than any other whacko personality, but he actually doesn’t attack gays….he’s positioning himself for a general election because attacking gays isn’t real popular in the General. I think he is for real. Amazingly.

  23. mf_roe says:

    Think of them as marching orders, polls are completely customizeable they can be crafted to say anything you want. At this point in the process they are cycling through the various contestants and trying to see which delusional vision is selling well. They are going to start thinning the herd soon since the bidding war of contributions needs to get rolling and that just want happen with eight or nine options still on the table. For my money Cruz is the most dangerous of the bunch.

  24. The_Fixer says:

    Yes, but how long will Trump be in it? I wonder if his saying everything crazy under the sun is a ploy to get himself out of the race. It’s had the opposite effect, of course. But I really wonder whether he wants to do the job of President. No doubt he thinks himself capable of it, of course. Does he really want it the same way that Cruz wants it?

    Cruz sees himself as a leader in the culture war, and the Presidency is the ultimate leadership position – he really wants it. The only thing that will save us from Cruz is that he will eventually say or do something so stupid as to lose popularity. The party power structure, such as it is, hates him for the government shutdown shit-show to the point that he was openly booed when he brought it up in the Senate recently.

    Carson is getting found out for what he is – completely out of his depth. The theory that he is using his candidacy to sell books is part of the reason he’s running, the other is that he’s nuts enough to think he’s up to it. He’s also pretty darkly complected for the racist wing of the party to embrace. He’s just waiting for the right time to tell us about God telling him to drop out of the race for some noble reason or another. He’s out soon. as far as I am concerned.

    I really don’t think that the majority of Republicans want any of those guys – the wingnut population is somewhere between 25-30% of this country, not enough to get a true crazy like Trump or Cruz. elected.

    Yes, Jeb! (he had to put that exclamation point in there to make it seem like he’s exciting) is about as white-bread as you can get. So was Romney, and he was their nominee. Jeb! is predictable and a sure ally for the power players in the right wing. These are the businessmen that write the checks. They’d just as soon stay out of the culture wars, their culture is money. If unexciting Jeb! is their man, even the far-right-wing-whackos will vote for him if he tosses a little red meat at them every now and again.

    Of course, this is me musing and I’ll be the first to admit that anything could happen. This bunch has been nothing if not entertaining and we’re not to the real serious part yet.

  25. Don Chandler says:

    I could never take Carson seriously, but these kind of guys like Clarridge are part of the neocon regime. I guess he was pardoned so he could somehow get back into the Chicken Coop. They are ever-present in Republican administrations. He reminds me of Rumsfeld or the Torturer N Chief, Darth Cheney himself. Reagan and GWB were pretty much figureheads for this kind of behind the scenes operative. Reagan slept during meetings. GWB was clearly honing his painting skills. I think Carson is shooting for Surgeon General or more likely, Head Pastor.

  26. Don Chandler says:

    If Carson is losing poll numbers, Trump and Cruz are gaining, not Jeb! Nobody can get excited about Jeb! except his framers and minders and plunderers.

  27. nicho says:

    The PTB likes Jeb because he will be a reliable water carrier for the 0.001 percent. The other candidates are all crazier than shithouse rats. Wall Street hates uncertainty. Jeb is the only one who could be counted on. However, as a candidate, he is about as exciting as a pitcher of warm spit and doesn’t have the drive to launch an aggressive campaign. He makes Bod Dole look like a wild-eyed firebrand.

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  29. nicho says:

    And there are other polls — I think the NY Times had one — showing him on top and surging. Pretty much makes you mistrust polls.

  30. The_Fixer says:

    Yes, this horse race will change leaders at least a few more times before they finally select someone to run. I think that all of those people who had been on the fence and thought Carson’s calm and reassuring idiocy sounded reasonable are now starting to get that he’s not competent to be president.

    Jeb! is right there near the top of the second-tier candidates (you know that anyone below Trump is second-tier because Trump says so). I still think he could wind up being the Republican nominee because he’s of the established Republican power structure and if it’s one thing Republicans like it’s “the usual.” He’s also the brother of W, who the Republicans still see as acceptable, underrated, and representing their philosophy.

    Regardless, we have lots of show left, so get ready to pop more popcorn.

  31. mf_roe says:

    Urkel Ben is losing his poll ratings quickly, the incompetence of the man is matched by the incompetence of the campaign. Fox released a poll showing him third with Rubio bumping him out of second place.

  32. nicho says:

    You say “fundamentalist Christianity.” I say “wackadoodle phony Christianity.” The bible is quite clear — in fact it is quite insistent — that its followers have to welcome refugees. It repeats it over and over and over again. Anyone who would ban refugees cannot call themselves a Christian, much less fundamentalist.

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