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Revenge of Neocons? Who Will Replace Michael Flynn and What It Tells Us

© REUTERS / Carlos BarriaU.S. President Donald Trump looks on following a swearing-in ceremony for Defense Secretary James Mattis at the Pentagon in Washington, U.S., January 27, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump looks on following a swearing-in ceremony for Defense Secretary James Mattis at the Pentagon in Washington, U.S., January 27, 2017. - Sputnik International
With Michael Flynn’s resignation leaving a hole in the Trump administration, neocons are desperately trying to get one of their own into the role of national security adviser.

General Flynn, a lifelong Democrat and staunch defender of Trump’s non-interventionist stances, was never a favorite among the neo-conservatives who are used to running the show.

The controversy surrounding Flynn began when someone leaked information that he was speaking to Russian officials and urging them not to overreact to the sanctions placed on them by the Obama administration — implying that the Trump administration may have a different position on Russia than his predecessor.

Smelling blood in the water, the media and Democrats pounced, asserting that Flynn had broken the law.

On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer confirmed that President Trump requested Michael Flynn’s resignation over “eroding trust,” though he acknowledged that Flynn did not break the law, and moreover it was his job to communicate with America’s foreign counterparts.

Trump’s adviser Roger Stone took to Twitter on Tuesday to blame White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus for Flynn’s departure, which he also called a "Pearl Harbor" for Trump loyalists. Many outlets have reported, for months, that there is tension and a power struggle happening in the White House between Priebus — a neocon, and Bannon — who holds more populist positions.

Now, the contenders for the position are retired Army Lieutenant General Keith Kellogg, retired Navy Vice Adm. Robert Harward, and former CIA Director David Petraeus. Kellogg has been named as the acting security adviser in the meantime.

In this Feb. 11, 2014 file photo, then-Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington - Sputnik International
White House Admits Forcing Trump’s Advisor to Retire Over ‘Eroding Trust’
Harward, a former deputy commander of the US Central Command, was the commander of JSOC from 2006-2008. In a recent report by the Intercept about war crimes committed by SEAL Team 6, journalists revealed a tactic referred to as ‘canoeing’ began to gain popularity in 2007. ‘Canoeing’ refers to special operators beating in the head of someone you killed — until it looks like a canoe. The team’s brutal style of warfighting in Iraq and Afghanistan has been widely labeled by human rights groups as criminal.

Harward also served on the National Security Council under George W. Bush. After leaving the military, Harward went on to become an executive at Lockheed Martin UAE. He is widely reported as being the favorite to assume the position.

Petraeus is a retired four star Army general who spearheaded the war in Iraq and Afghanistan before being appointed by President Obama a CIA director. Petraeus has been heralded as the father of counterinsurgency strategy used by US troops in foreign wars as well as a devotee of the drone wars that killed thousands of innocent civilians. The general was forced to retire from his CIA position after he leaked classified information to his mistress. He later plead guilty to a misdemeanor over the leaks.

Kellogg, a three star former Army lieutenant general, served under Flynn in the Trump administration as the council's chief of staff. He was also the foreign policy adviser to Trump during the campaign.

After leaving the military, Kellogg went to work with the Coalition Provisional Authority, a “puppet state” formed to act as a transitional government of Iraq after its dissolution.

With Trump’s vocal criticism of the Iraq War, it remains unclear why he would consider replacing people on his team who share his vision with people who were so instrumental in a war that he believes to have been a “mistake.

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