Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) who served as a Pentagon adviser on Iran and Iraq during George W. Bush’s first term. An outspoken and controversial proponent of hawkish U.S. foreign policies, Rubin is closely associated with neoconservativism. His track record includes working for a number of rightwing Israel-centric groups (including AEI, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and the Middle East Forum), championing the U.S. invasion of Iraq, suggesting assassinating foreign leaders like Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, reportedly misrepresenting translations of statements by Iranian officials, working at the heavily criticized Pentagon Office of Special Plans (OSP), and consulting for the Lincoln Group, a PR firm accused of planting propaganda in the Iraqi press.
Since the election of Barack Obama, Rubin has proved a relentless critic of the president in op-eds published in rightist outlets like the National Review and the Wall Street Journal editorial page. In a November 6, 2009 op-ed, Rubin joined a chorus of conservative writers like Newt Gingrich in lambasting Obama for not attending ceremonies celebrating the fall of the Berlin Wall, making the outlandish claim that this was a sign of “American isolation and weakness.” He wrote, “Pres. Barack Obama's decision not to celebrate one of the seminal events of the 20th century … [is] replete with symbolism. … I'm afraid that Obama does not understand how important his refusal to attend commemoration events will be, not only to those still suffering under the yoke of oppression, but also to adversaries who see American isolation and weakness as a phenomenon to be exploited.”
Rubin has repeatedly chastised Obama on Iran policy. In an October 2009 op-ed, Rubin charged that Obama’s insistence on pursuing a diplomatic process in the context of the P5+1 group of states would not halt Iran’s nuclear program, and would ultimately “leave Israel with no choice” but to attack Iran’s nuclear sites.
Rubin also blasted Obama for his decision to extend constitutional rights to suspected terrorists and try their cases in civilian courts, making the legally dubious argument that the Geneva Conventions do not “fully apply”—this despite the fact that the Supreme Court ruled against the George W. Bush administration’s argument that the conventions do not apply to so-called unlawful combatants. Rubin opined, nevertheless, that Obama’s decision “undermined national security and eroded the foundation of human rights law.”
Imagine the hue and cry if a senior fellow of a noted left wing think tank were speaking to soldiers. Radical indoctrination! Marxist brainwashing! Politiszing the war!