Guest Post by Amjad Atallah: The Fight for the Primacy of US National Security Interests Continues ……

-

chas.freeman.jpg
This is a guest post by Amjad Atallah, co-director of the New America Foundation/Middle East Task Force.
Charles (Chas) Freeman withdrew his candidacy yesterday for the post of chairman of the National Intelligence Council.
This development sets up a worrying trend that will need to be reversed at the highest levels of government.
David Rothkopf over at Foreign Policy put it best:

Further, those who celebrate keeping out Freeman or any others whose views do not align with theirs or who feared his associations would do well to remember that the same kind of criteria can be applied by other groups. The result is not a government of people without conflicts of interest or troubling ties, rather it is a government full of people whose conflicts and ties are with groups powerful enough to protect them.

Chris Nelson in the Nelson Report was unsparing in his assessment as well:

If it turns out the White House pulled the plug on Freeman because of political pressure … shame on it. If it turns out Blair didn’t have the guts to stick with his guy … shame on him. If it turns out Freeman just couldn’t stomach any more lies from Capitol Hill and the established media, not to mention the blogs, shame on us all.

I have posted below the full text of Freeman’s letter to friends just after the announcement of his withdrawal.

You will by now have seen the statement by Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair reporting that I have withdrawn my previous acceptance of his invitation to chair the National Intelligence Council.
I have concluded that the barrage of libelous distortions of my record would not cease upon my entry into office. The effort to smear me and to destroy my credibility would instead continue. I do not believe the National Intelligence Council could function effectively while its chair was under constant attack by unscrupulous people with a passionate attachment to the views of a political faction in a foreign country. I agreed to chair the NIC to strengthen it and protect it against politicization, not to introduce it to efforts by a special interest group to assert control over it through a protracted political campaign.
As those who know me are well aware, I have greatly enjoyed life since retiring from government. Nothing was further from my mind than a return to public service. When Admiral Blair asked me to chair the NIC I responded that I understood he was “asking me to give my freedom of speech, my leisure, the greater part of my income, subject myself to the mental colonoscopy of a polygraph, and resume a daily commute to a job with long working hours and a daily ration of political abuse.” I added that I wondered “whether there wasn’t some sort of downside to this offer.” I was mindful that no one is indispensable; I am not an exception. It took weeks of reflection for me to conclude that, given the unprecedentedly challenging circumstances in which our country now finds itself abroad and at home, I had no choice but accept the call to return to public service. I thereupon resigned from all positions that I had held and all activities in which I was engaged. I now look forward to returning to private life, freed of all previous obligations.
I am not so immodest as to believe that this controversy was about me rather than issues of public policy. These issues had little to do with the NIC and were not at the heart of what I hoped to contribute to the quality of analysis available to President Obama and his administration. Still, I am saddened by what the controversy and the manner in which the public vitriol of those who devoted themselves to sustaining it have revealed about the state of our civil society. It is apparent that we Americans cannot any longer conduct a serious public discussion or exercise independent judgment about matters of great importance to our country as well as to our allies and friends.
The libels on me and their easily traceable email trails show conclusively that there is a powerful lobby determined to prevent any view other than its own from being aired, still less to factor in American understanding of trends and events in the Middle East. The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth. The aim of this Lobby is control of the policy process through the exercise of a veto over the appointment of people who dispute the wisdom of its views, the substitution of political correctness for analysis, and the exclusion of any and all options for decision by Americans and our government other than those that it favors.
There is a special irony in having been accused of improper regard for the opinions of foreign governments and societies by a group so clearly intent on enforcing adherence to the policies of a foreign government – in this case, the government of Israel. I believe that the inability of the American public to discuss, or the government to consider, any option for US policies in the Middle East opposed by the ruling faction in Israeli politics has allowed that faction to adopt and sustain policies that ultimately threaten the existence of the state of Israel. It is not permitted for anyone in the United States to say so. This is not just a tragedy for Israelis and their neighbors in the Middle East; it is doing widening damage to the national security of the United States.
The outrageous agitation that followed the leak of my pending appointment will be seen by many to raise serious questions about whether the Obama administration will be able to make its own decisions about the Middle East and related issues. I regret that my willingness to serve the new administration has ended by casting doubt on its ability to consider, let alone decide what policies might best serve the interests of the United States rather than those of a Lobby intent on enforcing the will and interests of a foreign government.
In the court of public opinion, unlike a court of law, one is guilty until proven innocent. The speeches from which quotations have been lifted from their context are available for anyone interested in the truth to read. The injustice of the accusations made against me has been obvious to those with open minds. Those who have sought to impugn my character are uninterested in any rebuttal that I or anyone else might make.
Still, for the record: I have never sought to be paid or accepted payment from any foreign government, including Saudi Arabia or China, for any service, nor have I ever spoken on behalf of a foreign government, its interests, or its policies. I have never lobbied any branch of our government for any cause, foreign or domestic. I am my own man, no one else’s, and with my return to private life, I will once again – to my pleasure – serve no master other than myself. I will continue to speak out as I choose on issues of concern to me and other Americans.
I retain my respect and confidence in President Obama and DNI Blair. Our country now faces terrible challenges abroad as well as at home. Like all patriotic Americans, I continue to pray that our president can successfully lead us in surmounting them. ”

— Amjad Atallah

Comments

129 comments on “Guest Post by Amjad Atallah: The Fight for the Primacy of US National Security Interests Continues ……

  1. Carroll says:

    Questions..let me help you out of your confusion about the US Jewish/Israel Lobby.
    Newly released Freedom of Information Act documents reveal details of trade secrets leaked during negotiations of America’s first trade agreement with Israel.
    Wall Street Journal – MarketWatch | Feb. 23, 2009
    WASHINGTON, Feb 23, 2009 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ —
    Newly released Freedom of Information Act documents reveal details of trade secrets leaked during negotiations of America’s first trade agreement:
    In 1983 the Israeli Prime Minister and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobbied the Reagan administration for preferential access to the US market.
    The US Trade Representative (USTR) commissioned the US International Trade Commission (ITC) to conduct an investigation to advise the President about the probable economic effect of providing duty free entry of Israeli imports on January 31, 1984.
    The ITC compiled “business confidential” information and intellectual property solicited from US corporations and industry associations into a classified report for the negotiations.
    But on August 3, 1984 the Washington Post broke the news that the FBI was investigating how AIPAC obtained one of the fifteen numbered and tightly controlled copies of the classified report.
    The ITC later confirmed it was also obtained by the Israeli government.
    Since the agreement was signed in 1985, US trade with Israel shifted from surplus to a cumulative $71 billion deficit (adjusted for inflation).
    The 2008 $7.8 billion deficit with Israel was equivalent to 126,000 US manufacturing related jobs. It is the only bilateral FTA producing multi-billion dollar losses to the US every year for the last decade but total losses are still unknown.
    According to IRmep director Grant F. Smith the agreement was the beginning of a chain reaction of intellectual property theft documented by industry associations and US counterintelligence agencies: “US corporations were betrayed by the leaks of their intellectual property during treaty negotiations in 1984. US pharmaceutical, defense and other industries continue to lose billions in revenue to Israeli copy-cat merchandise.
    We are only beginning to fully understand the larger impact of AIPAC and the Israeli government’s ongoing acquisition of classified US information.”
    ITC confirmed the 1984 report titled “Probable Economic Effect of Providing Duty Free Treatment for U.S. Imports from Israel, Investigation No. 332-180″ is still classified and unavailable to American researchers performing damage assessments”.
    Now Questions you can start the usual “everyone else does it too Mommy” defense. And how The Lobby is just “US jews right to representation” like all other Americans.

    Reply

  2. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Heres one for Mr.Insipid….
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/10/AR2009031003626.html
    U.S., Israel Disagree on Iran Arms Threat
    Senate Panel Told Tehran Has Not Made Decision to Pursue Nuclear Weapons
    Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair said the Islamic republic is keeping its options open on whether to try to produce weapons-grade uranium.
    Iran has not produced the highly enriched uranium necessary for a nuclear weapon and has not decided to do so, U.S. intelligence officials told Congress yesterday, an assessment that contrasts with a stark Israeli warning days earlier that Iran has crossed the “technological threshold” in its pursuit of the bomb.
    Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair said that Iran has not decided to pursue the production of weapons-grade uranium and the parallel ability to load it onto a ballistic missile.
    “The overall situation — and the intelligence community agrees on this — [is] that Iran has not decided to press forward . . . to have a nuclear weapon on top of a ballistic missile,” Blair told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Our current estimate is that the minimum time at which Iran could technically produce the amount of highly enriched uranium for a single weapon is 2010 to 2015.”
    The five-year spread, he explained, is a result of differences in the intelligence community about how quickly Iran could develop a weapon if it rekindled a weapons program it suspended in 2003.
    Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the Senate panel that Iran is “keeping open that option.”
    Iran recently announced its first space launch and said Sunday that it had successfully tested an air-to-surface missile with a 70-mile range. Maples said the launch of the Safir space vehicle “does advance their knowledge and their ability to develop an intercontinental ballistic missiles,” but he and Blair said there may be no connection between the country’s development of missiles and any ambition to have nuclear weapons.
    “I believe those are separate decisions,” Blair said. “The same missiles can launch vehicles into space. They can launch warheads, either conventional or nuclear, onto . . . land targets, and Iran is pursuing those — for those multiple purposes. Whether they develop a nuclear weapon which could then be put in that . . . warhead, I believe, is a . . . separate decision which Iran has not made yet.”
    Israeli officials have a different view of Iran’s goals.
    “Reaching a military-grade nuclear capability is a question of synchronizing its strategy with the production of a nuclear bomb,” Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, Israel’s chief of military intelligence, told cabinet ministers, according to a senior Israeli official briefing reporters in Jerusalem. “Iran continues to stockpile hundreds of kilograms of low-level enriched uranium and hopes to use the dialogue with the West to buy the time it requires in order to move towards an ability to manufacture a nuclear bomb.”
    Blair said Israel was working from the same facts but had drawn a different interpretation of their meaning.
    continues…..

    Reply

  3. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Its truly awe inspiring to see these jackasses like Questions call the use of the words “lobby” or “crimes” inflammatory, yet remain mute when the occassional buffoon blusters through here calling one or the other of us “anti-semitic”. Thats not “inflammatory”?
    Truth be told, you can’t get much more “inflammatory” than the rhetoric of that despicable piece of shit Dershowitz. And what was the launguage used to lynch Freeman, if not “inflammatory”?
    Truth is, criticizing Israel is almost ALWAYS met with extremely inflammatory rebuttal. The Israel Firsters are expert at “inflammatory”.
    The hypocricy and duplicity of Question’s argument certainly buttresses my opinion of him.

    Reply

  4. arthurdecco says:

    Thanks for the link, easy e – explains a lot.
    Kathleen G, You GO, gurl!

    Reply

  5. Kathleen G says:

    Now that makes sense Questions. Can’t say lobby but you can rip Bush, Cheney, Matthews etc a new ass….every other sentence and make claims that are so off the wall that the comments are tough to wrap one’s head around. Later..Thanks decco. Sad though that some of the so called progressive blogs are as shut down to some issues as the MSM. Although C&L took the challenge and posted more of the same about the Charles Freeman withdrawal.
    Now if we can get the MSM to address his withdrawal. Like Diane doing a whole show with Freeman as the guest. Will still keep hammering Maddow, Matthews and the rest to open up the channels
    first MSM outlet that reports anything about the Rosen espionage trial gets the big prize

    Reply

  6. questions says:

    arthurdecco,
    I believe I did answer your question. I wrote,
    “”Israel Lobby” is more inflammatory than you hear, and so it is less effective even if it feels satisfying for some to write.”
    In other words, the post was rejected (and they reject things all the time there) because “The Lobby” is an inflammatory phrase for many, even if you don’t hear it that way. It’s part of the normal discourse here, and on some other blogs, but it’s closer to an epithet to many ears.
    I know I said I’d give up, but then this popped up as a direct response to my grease.
    Ever oil-ily yours….

    Reply

  7. questions says:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/landau03132009.html
    “My grandfather taught me, growing up during the Holocaust, that Jewish tradition teaches each person to strive to become a pillar of ethics, learn the law and behave so as to answer to God for transgressions – not to rulers of a so-called Jewish state.
    Ironically, in the name of all Jews, Foxman and colleagues in AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) and other Israeli lobby groups along with right wing and centrist political parties in Israel invoke the Holocaust to justify the very behavior embodied by Holocaust initiators. Israel calls itself a Jewish state. Yet, one fifth of Israel’s population is non-Jewish. I don’t belong to that state and despise its policies of constant war and occupation.”
    There’s lots more. It’s more specific, more nuanced, and less inflammatory while still being true. It doesn’t use the “I lobby” phrase, it specifies a bit more.
    There’s a deep criticism of Israel’s policy I agree with, and there is discussion of a range of the usual-US-talking-mouth-suspects like Foxman and Dershowitz. White phosphorous and Norman Finkelstein are discussed along with Carter and Moyers. In short, all of the most frequently mentioned touchstones are all here, and all without “THE LOBBY.” A reasonable rhetorical strategy all in all.
    Another oil well brought to you by “questions.” Sorry for the multiple posts. I’ll give it a rest and go do something useful.

    Reply

  8. easy e says:

    artdecco: “…On the Huffington Post today, I tried to submit a comment on Alan Dershowitz’s latest disgusting hatchet job on Mr. Charles Freeman. Alas, they refused it…”
    >>>>>
    Perhaps this is the reason why.
    Why is the Huffington Post carrying water for the IDF? Follow the money …
    http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=13990

    Reply

  9. arthurdecco says:

    Questions, As usual you’ve managed to avoid answering the question I asked and instead, you’ve answered your own. Still, as you say, my criticisms were adequately covered in the comments section of the Dershowitz piece, so why then was my submission rejected?
    Was it untruthful? Was it unnecessarily incendiary? Was it incomprehensible or even awkwardly written?
    No. It was none of those things.
    It was right on the money – charged, challenging and focused – all while working within the restrictions of their ridiculous cutoff of 250 words. In my opinion, that’s the reason they’ve left it out. It’s okay to offer up the usual platitudes and jingoistic criticisms of cartoon-like characters like Dershowitz on sites like the Huff Post, but it’s unacceptable to rub their skin off even a little bit. Anything that leads to the exposure of the ROT underneath the facade of civility is rejected.
    Superficiality is what’s encouraged on sites like the Huff Post. (They advertise lip-swelling creams, fer crissakes!)
    And I have no interest whatsoever in getting into a flame war with you or anyone else, Questions. I’ve said my piece and offered up my opinions of your earlier posts already. I am not planning on revisiting them unless I find a reason to apologize to you for mistakenly accusing you of dissembling – something I don’t will be happening anytime soon. So you can drop the “drill, baby, drill” comments. They lead nowhere.

    Reply

  10. questions says:

    arthurdecco,
    I just read the Dershowitz screed, and screed it is. The comments I glanced at were universally opposed to his view. There were lots of complaints about Israel’s control of the US…. I think it’s been covered, in fairly strong words. Dershowitz’s support of torture, love of Israel over the US, the need to “defeat Dershowitz” rather than Freeman… all come up. So I’m guessing that at some level, you’ve been represented. “Israel Lobby” is more inflammatory than you hear, and so it is less effective even if it feels satisfying for some to write.
    And as a side note, Dershowitz is not one of my faves, and I am mildly predisposed to supporting anything he opposes and vice versa.
    Just a little more oil from me to you. Drill here, drill now; drill, baby, drill.

    Reply

  11. questions says:

    arthurdecco,
    Sorry about the seeming insult. I actually did not mean to accuse Kathleen G. of nutwingery. What I meant is that the language of “I lobby” and its ilk is more inflammatory than it needs to be to get the same point across and it evokes a sensibility that maybe is counterproductive for the goal which would seem to be getting a fair hearing in a place that seems unwelcoming.
    And no, I wouldn’t post her basic point on C and L or elsewhere because it’s not a point I’d make. In fact, I make the opposite point. Everywhere I look on line lately, there’s a fairly decent-sized contingent of those opposed quite strongly to US policy in Israel. TPM has it, Salon does, and I mentioned others above. The viewpoint is out there in the world. Really. If the government doesn’t, say, defund Israel, then either AIPAC and THE LOBBY really run everything (I’m not convinced) or there are people who simply disagree with defunding Israel as a policy position. I disagree with defunding, I don’t disagree with disagreeing. I think that some kinds of rhetorical and narrative strategies might be effective. But I’m not a defunder.
    As I state endlessly, the causes of any action are (here it comes) complex, and a wide variety of pols support policies for a wide variety of reasons. AIPAC probably pwns a few, and they convince a few friends and so on…. The policy chain is long and AIPAC is one or some number of links. Somewhere in the blogosphere (maybe Rosenberg? was the suggestion that it’s not “control” that AIPAC exerts, but influence. There’s a big, if nuanced, difference, and I wasn’t even the one to make it! In fact, Rosenberg is a big pro-Freeman guy.
    But I’m sure you’ll ignore this or accuse me of oil-ation again. Whatever. But I still would like if if someone could actually define and provide boundaries to the term “Israel Lobby.” I have yet to see anyone do that. Is Schumer a victim of THE LOBBY, or a senator from NY/NYC? Is he purchased or representing? He supports the financial industry big time. Is that representing or not? I dunno. I guess it’s just more oil, obfuscation, lying, damned lying, no statistics….

    Reply

  12. arthurdecco says:

    …and speaking about sites that edit out comments based on ideology rather than for good taste or accuracy:
    On the Huffington Post today, I tried to submit a comment on Alan Dershowitz’s latest disgusting hatchet job on Mr. Charles Freeman. Alas, they refused it.
    Perhaps someone here can explain to me why…
    my rejected submission:
    With careful study truth becomes easily recognizable.
    Mr. Freeman previously said: “The libels on me and their easily traceable email trails show conclusively that there is a powerful lobby determined to prevent any view other than its own from being aired, still less to factor in American understanding of trends and events in the Middle East. The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth. The aim of this Lobby is control of the policy process through the exercise of a veto over the appointment of people who dispute the wisdom of its views, the substitution of political correctness for analysis, and the exclusion of any and all options for decision by Americans and our government other than those that it favors.” end of quote.
    In this single paragraph Mr. Freeman has eloquently and succinctly described the Modus Operandi of The Lobby and its hardscrabble minions like Mr. Dershowitz.
    It’s time to shut these liars down, figuratively kick over their tents and watch them on their way before they destroy every vestige of what America used to stand for.
    Alan Dershowitz is by anyone’s definition a traitor to the United States of America. He works tirelessly to support a foreign power whose own self-interests threaten the future security of the USA. Full Stop.
    He deserves to be arrested, not published!

    Reply

  13. arthurdecco says:

    Questions typed: “There are ways to approach what many here see as an overly pro-Israel bad for America set of US policies without seeming like a nutwing.”
    Indirectly accusing one of the most thoughtful and informed commenters on the Washington Note of being a “nutwing” fits right in with the rest of your specious trolling, Questions.
    Instead of offering up advice on how to more effectively get a point across on a site that bans commenters for not swallowing their Kool-aid, perhaps you could write those comments as you’ve seen fit to instruct others to do here and post them yourself to their site, if for no other reason than to convince these cowards that the dissenting voices are growing louder. We’re not going away.
    But I suspect Hell will freeze over before you ever do such a thing.

    Reply

  14. Kathleen G says:

    Questions come on. At C& L people go ot all of the time. The only time the off topic police come up is when it comes to the I Lobby (including Aipac, Jinsa, Zoa) and other organizations. I someone is going to claim off topic do it consistently. What C& L did not like was that I was challenging Jon Stewart and being very specific about certain shows that Stewart has done. They also did not like that I was challenging Rachel Maddow very politely specifically about issues that she will not and has not touched.
    Come on Questions Rachel, Matthews, etc have not touched the Freeman issue. They will never give a critical opinion of Israel…never not allowed.
    Crooks and liars allows outrageous language about anyone they do not like. They have proven that you can not challenge the people that they have on alters.
    making excuses for that type of discrimination is not working for me.

    Reply

  15. questions says:

    Kathleen G.,
    Here’s my suggestion for your C and L dilemma. Try rewriting the post w/o talking about the “I lobby” and “Israel’s crimes” so generically. Try instead to talk specifically about an actually existing registered lobby called “AIPAC”, or another one you see as pro-Israel. Try talking about specific crimes Israel has committed in Gaza instead of generic “crimes”. Discuss Schumer’s voting record and how it’s a betrayal of his constituency. And try to stay on topic or go to an open thread as was advised. They often kick comments out for being OT.
    There are ways to approach what many here see as an overly pro-Israel bad for America set of US policies without seeming like a nutwing. “I lobby” doesn’t cut it. It’s inexact language, ill-defined, threatening to some, and a poor substitute for definitions and arguements all in all.
    If you were banned, you might need to take your computer to a WiFi hotspot, register again, and then post and see what happens.
    Near as I can tell, EVERYone is running vastly long anti-“lobby” pro-Freeman free-for-alls. It’s in the WaPo, Greenwald, NY Times, shows up in the Trib at various times, it’s here at TWN, it’s in books, W and M published in the NY Review or London Review, got a book out, and M teaches at the University of Chicago. These people are doing okay. You might argue that they’re not being hired by the admin, but then lots of people aren’t hired by the admin anyway.
    As I said above somewhere, we don’t repress this stuff, we talk about it constantly. I’ve been hearing the same language for years….

    Reply

  16. Kathleen G says:

    So here is the comment I was banned for over at Crooks and liars. It is the blog about Stewart VS. Cramer (that is what I am calling it) along with my challenges of Rachel which I did not copy but they were totally appropriate. The moderator called my comment close to being “anti semitic”
    It’s not just the MSM that is closed down to these debates. Some of the so called progressive blogs like Crooks and Liars have BLOG Clogs when it comes to challenging people or issues that they do not put their seal of approval on.
    ###This does not happen here at Washington NOte as far as I am aware of.
    “Hello let’s give Jim Cramer some credit for coming on this show and allowing Stewart to take him and his show apart. His recommendations deserved to be ripped apart. He came on the show.
    And while I really appreciate the way Stewart digs deep and his insights and humor add to our understanding of very serious issues. I also greatly appreciate Stewart’s instincts to protect those who are less informed than he is. Greatly appreciate this.
    I also appreciate that Stewart finally opened up to criticizing Israel and the I lobby when they deserve it. These issues were completely OFF LIMITS COMPLETELY on Stewart’s show up until this last year (I have been watching him since he came on) He would rip on radical and fundamentalist from all faiths and ideologies (justifiably) He would rip up other world leaders as well as ours (justifiably) But he would not touch Zionist, Judaism, the I lobby or Israel’s crimes. He has opened up the last year after being challenged by some on these sacred cow issues on his program
    Another thing I have noticed about Jon Stewart is how he will selectively rip into someone like Chris Matthews and let David Frum and Bill Kristol dance around him. When Stewart ripped into Chris Matthews, Matthews invited Stewart on his program…Stewart has never agreed to come on Hardball. I believe Jon Stewart is a chicken shit. Easy to rip people up on your own program your territory…when will Jon Stewart accept Chris Matthews invitation?”

    Reply

  17. Kathleen G says:

    Now here is some interesting news. I posted a challenge to Jon Stewart and Diane Rehm challenging them to bring Charles Freeman on their programs. Challenging them on an open blog over at Crooks and Liars. The site moderator took off the Jon Stewart challenge told me I was on the edge of anti-semitism and warned me that they may ban me. Several of the blogs have had blog clogs on these issues and Crooks and Liars is one of them.
    Will let you know if they ban me for posting an appropriate challenge to Jon Stewart and Diane Rehm.
    Some of those moderators have an agenda. It seems as if this one at Crooks and liars does. The language that they allow at that site is amazing. But an appropriate challenge they will not allow on. HMMMMMMM
    Here is Mike who has allowed all sorts of other issues brought up during his blog roundup. Damn inconsistent and hypocritical
    [Kathleen, you should go back through the comments section of the site and read what I said in my earlier edits. I’ll make it short: TAKE IT TO AN OPEN THREAD! Site Monitor]
    Re: Mike’s Blog Roundup
    Fri, 03/13/2009 – 09:57 — Kathleen
    it is amazing the language your monitors let through and the inflammatory bashing of Bush, Cheney etc and yet you will not allow an appropriate challenge for Jon Stewart. I have also seen completely off topic issues posted on many threads here at crooks and liars Is this blog round up not an open thread.
    At the very least be consistent on your claims..you are not. and that is a fact. Very telling
    MANY OF THE SO CALLED PROGRESSIVE BLOGS HAVE HAD BLOG CLOGS WHEN IT COMES TO THE I LOBBY AND CROOKS AND LIARS IS ONE OF THEM

    Reply

  18. ... says:

    the only reason chas freeman didn’t get the position is due the fact the israel lobby wants the option of attacking iran, with no interference from someone as free thinking as “free”man… they’ve been successful in silencing freeman, but it’s come at a cost – more americans have become aware of how they’re being manipulated by the israel lobby…

    Reply

  19. kathleen G says:

    Don S you can be sure that Diane has received this type of mail in the past. although as I said above there are issues, trials, investigations that Diane and her producers have been unwilling to go near.
    also Rachel, Jon Stewart and even Amy goodman.
    That investigation and 6 time delayed trial is the U.S. VS Rosen (aipac espionage investigation) Not even a peep.
    Please contact Diane , Rachel Maddow, Amy Goodman anyone else that you consider to be willing to shed light on issues that no one else will touch

    Reply

  20. Kathleen G says:

    good discussion on the Rehm show. Some of us have been hammering the Rehm show for years. Diane and her producers have been some of the most open in the MSM to this discussion. BUT she has yet to do any shows on the U.S. Vs Rosen aipac espionage trial and investigation. NO one has touched this in the MSM.
    One of the callers said there has been much written about the I/P conflict in the MSM the only problem it is all one sided. Hell Israel did not allow journalist into the Gaza when they bombed the shit out of the Gaza
    Chris Matthews whispered about it a few years ago..that the trial had been delayed. With Rosen leading the way for taking Freeman out it is amazing how chicken shit our MSMers are even with a man who has been indicted for espionage leads the way on Freemans attacks
    Maddow has not touched the Aipac espionage trial, Olberman. Jon Stewart has not touched htis I don’t think even Amy goodman has touched this investigation and trial.
    Please contact Diane about having Freeman on as a quest. Nudge her on the U.S. vs Rosen issue too. They are open and if there is enough pressure they may listen

    Reply

  21. DonS says:

    Kathleen, I second that the discussion on Rehm was fairly honest. In the second hour, right now, the guests talked about Freeman again, pointing directly to the Israel Lobby, the failure of the media to cover the controversy, and the ‘impermissibility’ to be critical Israel in public discussion, and the pervasive influence of AIPAC money on the Hill. Additionally, one guest drew the parallel to the runup to the IRAQ war, with AIPAC in the background in order to make the ME “safe for Israel”. Several debunked the “anti-Semitic” red herring.
    Let the hate mail begin!

    Reply

  22. Kathleen G says:

    this morning on the Diane Rehm show (Round up) they discussed Freeman’s withdrawal. A relatively honest discussion. I have been able to get the Rehm show to bring particular guest on in the past.
    I have asked her to bring Charles Freeman on her program. Please join me in asking Diane and her producers to being Freeman on as a guest to discuss his withdrawal
    contact for the Rehm show
    http://wamu.org/programs/dr/contact_us.php
    I have also on many occasions asked her to report about the U.S.vs Rosen espionage investigation and 6 time delayed trial. No one NO one in the MSM has reported about this issue (no lobby influence there)

    Reply

  23. Leftwing says:

    I find the BLOODY ISRAEL ‘lobby’ totally repugnant, repulsive, obnoxious, and unacceptable and have felt that way for many years. When I was young, I was drawn into the myth of ‘Poor, little, heroic, Israel………’blah, blah, blah so………..been there, done that, but NO MORE! Please name one other foreign gov. that has this type of OVERWHELMING, inflated, arrogant, bratty ‘influence’ in it’s gov. BLOODY ISRAEL is a dumb parasite that isn’t even smart enough to NOT kill it’s host!!! Chertoff, LIEberman, Kissinger (wanted war criminal acting as ambassador to Russia????)Schumer,Obama, Biden, Emanuel, etc. The list is LONG!!
    Just because AIPAC can suppress the growning ground swell of resentment, hate, negative opinions, does not change the negative public opinion. Too dumb to know that ‘That which we resist, persists’, keep it up AIPAC maybe we can throw you the hell out of the US

    Reply

  24. samuelburke says:

    let me help you out tony….here is some more good stuff on israel….that colonialist project in the middle east that leeches off our tax dollars…
    http://counterpunch.com/ketcham03122009.html
    Israeli Spying in the United States
    By CHRISTOPHER KETCHAM
    Scratch a counterintelligence officer in the U.S. government and they’ll tell you that Israel is not a friend to the United States.
    This is because Israel runs one of the most aggressive and damaging espionage networks targeting the U.S..
    Israel’s spying on the U.S., however, is a matter of public record, and neither conspiracy nor theory is needed to present the evidence. When the FBI produces its annual report to Congress concerning “Foreign Economic Collection and Industrial Espionage,” Israel and its intelligence services often feature prominently as a threat second only to China. In 2005 the FBI noted, for example, that Israel maintains “an active program to gather proprietary information within the United States.” A key Israeli method, said the FBI report, is computer intrusion. In 1996, the Defense Intelligence Service, a branch of the Pentagon, issued a warning that “the collection of scientific intelligence in the United States [is] the third highest priority of Israeli Intelligence after information on its Arab neighbors and information on secret U.S. policies or decisions relating to Israel.”
    In 1979, the Central Intelligence Agency produced a scathing survey of Israeli intelligence activities that targeted the U.S. government. Like any worthy spy service, Israeli intelligence early on employed wiretaps as an effective tool, according to the CIA report. In 1954, the U.S. Ambassador in Tel Aviv discovered in his office a hidden microphone “planted by the Israelis,” and two years later telephone taps were found in the residence of the U.S. military attaché. In a telegram to Washington, the ambassador at the time cabled a warning: “Department must assume that all conversations [in] my office are known to the Israelis.” The former ambassador to Qatar, Andrew Killgore, who also served as a foreign officer in Jerusalem and Beirut, told me Israeli taps of U.S. missions and embassies in the Middle East were part of a “standard operating procedure.”
    According to the 1979 CIA report, the Israelis, while targeting political secrets, also devote “a considerable portion of their covert operations to obtaining scientific and technical intelligence.” These operations involved, among other machinations, “attempts to penetrate certain classified defense projects in the United States.” The penetrations, according to the CIA report, were effected using “deep cover enterprises,” which the report described as “firms and organizations, some specifically created for, or adaptable to, a specific objective.” At the time, the CIA singled out government-subsidized companies such as El Al airlines and Zim, the Israeli shipping firm, as deep cover enterprises.

    Reply

  25. DonS says:

    I hadn’t really focused on the whole supposed anti-Chinese dissident business that the Justin Raimondo piece above highlights:
    “The phrase “in this optic” indicates – to any literate person – that the author [Freeman]is not speaking in his own voice, but in what he imagines to be the voice of the Chinese people.”
    Just too damn much to pay attention to when the house is collapsing. But obviously this bogus bit of anti-dissident accusation against Freeman did [that part of] the trick, getting the knee jerk media to adopt it; and getting a bunch of dissedents to sign a letter. Might be interesting to know how all that got fomented.
    I think I could guess.

    Reply

  26. rich says:

    DonS, Mar 13 2009, 8:11AM –
    “TonyForesta, what must it feel like to live with a patch over one eye?”
    — and never be able to remember whether the left or right eye needed the patch?

    Reply

  27. DonS says:

    TonyForesta, what must it feel like to live with a patch over one eye? Why don’t you just come right out an say you despise those of us who would put America first instead of saying so by the implication that its all the Jihadist fault. That somehow we miss the elephant in the room, and that Israel is heaven on earth that we should all emulate. You imply that those of us that blame the fundie/firsters, neocons, and RW AIPAC types are rubes. Just say it.

    Reply

  28. ric says:

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/07/11/opinion/edkhatib.php
    Help us stop Israel’s wall peacefully
    By Mohammed Khatib
    BILIN, West Bank: While the international media has been focusing on Israel’s planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, in my village of Bilin, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, we are living an equally important but overlooked story. Though Israeli forces plan to withdraw from Gaza, they are simultaneously expanding their West Bank settlements. On our village’s land, Israel is building one new settlement and expanding five others. These settlements will form a city called Modiin Illit, with tens of thousands of settlers, many times the number to be evacuated from Gaza. These settlements consume most of our area’s water. Throughout the West Bank, settlement and wall construction, arrests, killing and occupation continue.
    One year ago, the International Court of Justice handed down an advisory ruling that Israel’s construction of a wall on Palestinian land violated international law. Today, Palestinians in villages like ours are struggling to implement the court’s decision and stop construction using nonviolence, but the world has done little to support us.
    Bilin is being strangled by Israel’s wall. Though our village sits two and a half miles east of the Green Line, Israel is taking roughly 60 percent of our 1,000 acres of land in order to annex the six settlements and build the wall around them. This land is also money to us – we work it. Bilin’s 1,600 residents depend on farming and harvesting our olives for our livelihood. The wall will turn Bilin into an open-air prison, like Gaza.
    After Israeli courts refused our appeals to prevent wall construction, we, along with Israelis and people from around the world, began peacefully protesting the confiscation of our land. We chose to resist non-violently because we are peace-loving people who are victims of occupation. We have opened our homes to the Israelis who have joined us. They have become our partners in struggle. Together we send a strong message – that we can coexist in peace and security. We welcome anyone who comes to us as a guest and who works for peace and justice for both peoples, but we will resist anyone who comes as an occupier.
    We have held more than 50 peaceful demonstrations since February. We learned from the experience and advice of villages like Budrus and Biddu, which resisted the wall nonviolently. Palestinians from other areas now call people from Bilin “Palestinian Gandhis.”
    Our continued demonstrations aim to stop the bulldozers destroying our land, and to send a message about the wall’s impact. We’ve chained ourselves to olive trees that were being bulldozed for the wall to show that taking trees’ lives takes the village’s life. We’ve distributed letters asking the soldiers to think before they shoot at us, explaining that we are not against the Israeli people, but against the building of the wall on our land. We refuse to be strangled by the wall in silence.In a famous Palestinian short story, “Men in the Sun,” Palestinian workers suffocate inside a tanker truck. Upon discovering them, the driver screams, “Why didn’t you bang on the sides of the tank?” We are banging – we are screaming.
    In the face of our peaceful resistance, Israeli soldiers attack our peaceful protests with teargas, clubs, rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition, and have injured over 100 villagers.They invade the village at night, entering homes, pulling families out and arresting people. At a peaceful protest on June 17, soldiers arrested the brothers Abdullah and Rateb Abu Rahme, two village leaders. Soldiers testified that Rateb was throwing stones. An Israeli military judge recently ordered Rateb’s release because videotapes showed the soldiers’ claims were false.
    The Palestinian people have implemented a cease-fire and have sent a message of peace through our newly elected leadership. But a year after the international court’s decision, wall building on Palestinian land continues. Behind the smoke screen of the Gaza withdrawal, the real story is Israel’s attempt to take control of the West Bank by building the illegal wall and settlements that threaten to destroy dozens of villages like Bilin and any hope for peace.
    Bilin is banging, Bilin is screaming. Please stand with us so that we can achieve our freedom by peaceful means.
    (Mohammed Khatib is a leading member of Bilin’s Popular Committee Against the Wall and the secretary of its village council.)
    __________
    http://www.palestinemonitor.org/spip/spip.php?rubrique2&debut_articles=40

    Reply

  29. questions says:

    CounterPunch dot org has an interesting piece on Israeli spying through the US telecom system — spying on the spies — quite a thing. It’s sort of a countervailing pressure in its own way. The US spies everywhere, and is spied on in turn. Maybe if the Kurds had had a decent spy or two in Bush I’s admin, they’d have caught on to what was going to happen to them.
    And they have stuff on THE LOBBY and Freeman.

    Reply

  30. rich says:

    Help us stop Israel’s wall peacefully
    By Mohammed Khatib
    BILIN, West Bank: While the international media has been focusing on Israel’s planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, in my village of Bilin, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, we are living an equally important but overlooked story. Though Israeli forces plan to withdraw from Gaza, they are simultaneously expanding their West Bank settlements. On our village’s land, Israel is building one new settlement and expanding five others. These settlements will form a city called Modiin Illit, with tens of thousands of settlers, many times the number to be evacuated from Gaza. These settlements consume most of our area’s water. Throughout the West Bank, settlement and wall construction, arrests, killing and occupation continue.
    One year ago, the International Court of Justice handed down an advisory ruling that Israel’s construction of a wall on Palestinian land violated international law. Today, Palestinians in villages like ours are struggling to implement the court’s decision and stop construction using nonviolence, but the world has done little to support us.
    Bilin is being strangled by Israel’s wall. Though our village sits two and a half miles east of the Green Line, Israel is taking roughly 60 percent of our 1,000 acres of land in order to annex the six settlements and build the wall around them. This land is also money to us – we work it. Bilin’s 1,600 residents depend on farming and harvesting our olives for our livelihood. The wall will turn Bilin into an open-air prison, like Gaza.
    After Israeli courts refused our appeals to prevent wall construction, we, along with Israelis and people from around the world, began peacefully protesting the confiscation of our land. We chose to resist non-violently because we are peace-loving people who are victims of occupation. We have opened our homes to the Israelis who have joined us. They have become our partners in struggle. Together we send a strong message – that we can coexist in peace and security. We welcome anyone who comes to us as a guest and who works for peace and justice for both peoples, but we will resist anyone who comes as an occupier.
    We have held more than 50 peaceful demonstrations since February. We learned from the experience and advice of villages like Budrus and Biddu, which resisted the wall nonviolently. Palestinians from other areas now call people from Bilin “Palestinian Gandhis.”
    Our continued demonstrations aim to stop the bulldozers destroying our land, and to send a message about the wall’s impact. We’ve chained ourselves to olive trees that were being bulldozed for the wall to show that taking trees’ lives takes the village’s life. We’ve distributed letters asking the soldiers to think before they shoot at us, explaining that we are not against the Israeli people, but against the building of the wall on our land. We refuse to be strangled by the wall in silence.In a famous Palestinian short story, “Men in the Sun,” Palestinian workers suffocate inside a tanker truck. Upon discovering them, the driver screams, “Why didn’t you bang on the sides of the tank?” We are banging – we are screaming.
    In the face of our peaceful resistance, Israeli soldiers attack our peaceful protests with teargas, clubs, rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition, and have injured over 100 villagers.They invade the village at night, entering homes, pulling families out and arresting people. At a peaceful protest on June 17, soldiers arrested the brothers Abdullah and Rateb Abu Rahme, two village leaders. Soldiers testified that Rateb was throwing stones. An Israeli military judge recently ordered Rateb’s release because videotapes showed the soldiers’ claims were false.
    The Palestinian people have implemented a cease-fire and have sent a message of peace through our newly elected leadership. But a year after the international court’s decision, wall building on Palestinian land continues. Behind the smoke screen of the Gaza withdrawal, the real story is Israel’s attempt to take control of the West Bank by building the illegal wall and settlements that threaten to destroy dozens of villages like Bilin and any hope for peace.
    Bilin is banging, Bilin is screaming. Please stand with us so that we can achieve our freedom by peaceful means.
    (Mohammed Khatib is a leading member of Bilin’s Popular Committee Against the Wall and the secretary of its village council.)
    ____
    http://www.palestinemonitor.org/spip/spip.php?rubrique2&debut_articles=40
    http://www.palestinemonitor.org/spip/spip.php?article49
    http://inpursuitofjustice.wordpress.com/2008/07/31/another-child-shot-dead-at-wall-protest/
    http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/07/11/opinion/edkhatib.php
    http://veganfishtacos.wordpress.com/2009/02/18/israels-response-to-non-violent-protest-in-palestine/

    Reply

  31. Cee says:

    Since Hersh is back in the news re: Cheney assassination squads it made me remember something…
    Information supplied by Ben-Menashe was used in a controversial book, The Samson Option: Israel, America and the Bomb, written by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh.
    The book focusses on Israel’s development of nuclear weapons, the theft of US military data used to aim nuclear missiles and the revelations of Israeli nuclear technician, Mordechai Vanunu, who is currently serving an 18-year solitary confinement sentence in Israel for revealing Israel’s nuclear capability.
    The Samson Option also touches on the role of Robert Maxwell in the kidnapping of Mordechai Vanunu after Vanunu approached the London Daily Mirror about his story.
    http://www.greenleft.org.au/1992/42/3935

    Reply

  32. TonyForesta says:

    Everyone walks past the obvious truths. Israel is a productive prosperous psuedo democratic society. Many Israelis have rights, privileges, and a lifestyle that most of the world would envy. Nice beaches, beautiful women, open society, music arts, and all the accouterments of a thriving capitalist society with a decidedly Medeteranean flavor. Palestinians made the grave mistake of electing Hamas and a jihadi horde whose aims are polar opposite. Cloaking their beautiful women in black robes, beheading them for exposing their elbows, or talking to any man not of the tribe or family, banning of music, of drink or revelry. Now perhaps one could argue that Hamas’ jihadi ideology is a kinder softer islamofascism than the Wahabists in Saudi Arabia, or the Taliban in Afghanistan, – but the underlying principles, and core islamic legal structures of jihad couple Hamas with the most extreme version and perversions of islam. ALL MUSLIMS NEED TO GET THIS STRAIGHT!!! WE ALL LIVE IN THE 21ST CENTURY, AND NO CIVILIZED HUMAN BEING OR SOCIETY IS GOING TO REVERT TO THE PRIMITIVE PERVERSION AND SEXUALLY REPRESSED MISOGYNY, and PATHOLOGICAL BARBARITY OF THE MIDDLE AGES!!!! THIS ROAD LEADS TO PERDITION, AND FIRE, AND OCEANS OF INNOCENT BLOOD, MOST OF IT MUSLIM.
    Islam must join the 21st Century or suffer the fiery consequences. Jihadism, Wahabism, Salafism, and the fascist massmurdering islamic isms are doomed FAIL, and will never win the support or any hearing on any civilized street anywhere on earth. Islam must reject jihadism. Then there can be hope for peace. Until that day, it will be blood for blood, hit for hit, and we have the brilliant weapons, so you do the math.
    I am happy to see this Saudi parrot exited. The House of Saud and wahabism are arch enemies, not friends of America. There is no defending this relationship on any grounds. Oil is worthless if our childrens lives are in peril, and this is the goal, this the teaching of the wahabi imams, and the salafist clerics, – death to all Americans and jews, and infidels. Now if you ask any sane American what side to take in this hideous blooddrenched conflict, – the sane people are siding with Israel which is a friend of America, and against Saudi Arabia which is an enemy of America. China is another story, and from my perspective I do not see China holding to, or advocating any adventurist policies or posing any real threat to America. China’s US Treasury positions are the ultimate proof. They need our consumers, as much as our banks need them. China is no enemy of America. Israel is a true friend of America. Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad and all the Gaza mass murder gangs, and Saudi Arabia are all arch enemies of America. Their ends are jihad, and the death of all Americans and what they frame the great satan, – that would be US.
    If the downtrodden Palestinians want the worlds respect and support – they will reject the perverted freaks and massmurderers of jihadist islam. If not, – then they will pay a terrible price for supporting and promoting primitive barbaric, mysoginistic, and insane ideologies and political parties. Choose the former, and Israel’s aggression and aparthied in Palestine will be undermined and forced to comprimise. Choose the latter, and you will be subdued and eventually smoked from the face of the earth and with good and justifiable reasons. Jihadists must burn!!! All of them! Every jihadi freak must be hunted down, captured, or preferrably killed, for there to be any hope of peace or stability in the ME or anywhere on earth. Jihadists live in the middle ages, in the darkest most brutal, most perverted depravities of human conscience. Until these freaks are ruthlessly, and mercilessly marginalized, hunted, captured, or preferably killed so that their freakish and perverted insanity is forever removed from the hearts and minds of humanity, – there will be no end to the conflicts and the terror, and the horrors, and the oceans of innocent bloodshed.
    Jihadism must DIE!

    Reply

  33. Carroll says:

    Posted by PissedOffAmerican, Mar 12 2009, 11:25PM – Link
    “We are not being heard, because AIPAC and a subservient media are out-screaming us. Truth be told, we are not near as voracious in our protestations and dissent as we are required to be if we are to be heard.”>>>>>>>>>>>
    Oh, we are being heard all all right. But they don’t care what we say. Hasn’t Pelosi told you that already?
    Their business cards read…
    US Government, Agencies, Assets, Military, Wars and Genocides for Sale for Jewish Campaign Money and Favorable Media Coverage.
    Call Capitol Hill Toll Free.
    That’s all there is to it.
    Burn Washington To The Ground and Start Over.
    Or sit around and wait for Israel to do it.

    Reply

  34. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “CJS admiral mike mullen was interviewed on charlie rose tonight and he said that there is “NO APPRECIABLE DIFFERENCE” between u.s. and israeli estaimates re: iranian nuclear capability”
    So what? Is that supposed to be suprising coming from Mullen?
    Interesting that the one entity that has actually been into Iran to inspect the Iranian nuclear program, the IAEA, has reached a conclusion that differs from the Israeli/American distortions.

    Reply

  35. PissedOffAmerican says:

    http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=14394
    March 13, 2009
    Charles Freeman’s Victory
    Forced to withdraw, he took the Israel lobby down with him
    by Justin Raimondo
    The nixing of Charles “Chas” Freeman from a post as head of the National Intelligence Council is not, as is commonly averred, a victory for the Israel lobby. It is, instead, a Pyrrhic victory – that is, a victory so costly that it really amounts to a defeat for them. Sure, they managed to keep out a trenchant critic of their Israel-centric and grossly distorted view of a proper American foreign policy, and, yes, they managed to smear him and put others on notice that someone with his views is radioactive, as far as a high-level job in the foreign policy establishment is concerned. And yet – and yet ….
    They – the Lobby – have now been forced out in the open. “A lobby,” says Steve Rosen, the ringleader of the “get Freeman” lynch mob, “is like a night flower: it thrives in the dark and dies in the sun.” If so, then the Israel lobby is slated for oblivion, because as frenetically – and pathetically – as they tried to mask the centrality of their involvement, and as much as they tried to make this about other issues (his alleged ties to Saudi Arabia, his supposed views on China), everybody knows it was really all about Israel and Freeman’s contemptuous view of the “special relationship” which requires us giving Tel Aviv a blank check, moral as well as monetary. As a foreign policy realist, he thinks we ought to put our own interests first, in the Middle East and elsewhere, not those of a foreign country, no matter how much political clout – and campaign cash – its American fifth column can muster.
    This, in the current atmosphere in Washington, is “extremism,” a charge that hung over Freeman’s appointment from the get-go. Jonathan Chait, writing in the Washington Post, went so far as to call Freeman a “fanatic.” A charge which seems counterintuitive, considering that we’re talking about an adherent of a foreign policy perspective that coldly calculates American interests in what the righteous would disdain as shockingly amoral terms. Oh, says Chait, he’s not like those neocons, with their “simplistic” division of the world into “good guys” and “bad guys.” No, instead, Freeman doesn’t recognize any “good guys” he’s the sort who opposed our bombing of the former Yugoslavia and our support to the narco-Mafioso “Kosovo Liberation Army,” the precursor to Ahmed Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress, which, likewise, lured us into a foreign war under false pretenses. But the Kosovo war “halted mass slaughter,” says Chait: apparently the death of hundreds of Serbians at American hands is a slaughter not considered “mass” enough to merit mention. Yet the alleged “genocide” the Serbs were supposedly committing turned out, in the end, to inhabit the same nonexistent country as Saddam’s “weapons of mass destruction.” It was, in short, war propaganda, of the sort we have become all too familiar with of late.
    To be sure, Chait says: “Realism has some useful insights. For instance, realists accurately predicted that Iraqis would respond to a U.S. invasion with less than unadulterated joy.”
    This is a lot more than Chait managed to do: to this day, he defends his forceful support for the biggest strategic blunder in American military history. “I don’t think you can argue that a regime change in Iraq won’t demonstrably and almost immediately improve the living conditions of the Iraqi people,” Chait said on television as our troops massed for the attack. No one would think of uttering such nonsense today – at least with a straight face. Oh, but don’t forget, it’s those nasty realist ideologues – not the neocons or their liberal interventionist allies – who are the real danger.
    As the Iraq disaster unfolded, the magazine of which Chait is employed as a senior editor declared “the central assumption underlying this magazine’s strategic rationale for war now appears to have been wrong,” and yet “if our strategic rationale for war has collapsed, our moral one has not.” Two years later, however, Chait and his fellow editors issued a shamefaced apology: “The New Republic deeply regrets its early support for this war.”
    The “liberal” interventionism that Chait invoked in support of the war actually flew the flag of “humanitarianism.” One million Iraqi deaths later, such a claim has a rather sinister ring to it. He also invoked the principle of “international law” – this, in support of a lawless occupation and an unprovoked attack on a people who had no ability to strike back. “Multilateralism” was another “principle” invoked by Chait, the great liberal – and yet who else but a genuine fanatic would make such an argument about a war that had little to no support from our allies?
    Chait is unconcerned about the actual fanatics who have done so much damage – with his help – to the country and its interests abroad. Forget the neocons, his erstwhile allies, and let’s concentrate on the real danger, the enemies of the Israel lobby:
    “Taken to extremes, realism’s blindness to morality can lead it wildly astray. Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, both staunch realists, wrote ‘The Israel Lobby,’ a hyperbolic attack on Zionist political influence. The central error of their thesis was that, since America’s alliance with Israel does not advance American interests, it could be explained only by sinister lobbying influence. They seemed unable to grasp even the possibility that Americans, rightly or wrongly, have an affinity for a fellow democracy surrounded by hostile dictatorships. Consider, perhaps, if eunuchs tried to explain the way teenage boys act around girls.”
    Putting Israel first is as natural as heterosexuality – but only if you work for Marty Peretz.
    Why Chait and his confreres continue their denialism when it comes to the demonstrable power of the Israel lobby – which, after all, has succeeded in blocking Freeman, and many others from positions of influence – is beyond me. AIPAC went out of its way to deny any hand in the lynch mob that went after Freeman, and yet, as Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Sullivan point out, this is just a subterfuge: their top media relations guy has his fingerprints all over this hit job, and a very effective job it was.
    Effective, yet oddly forced and unconvincing: for example, it seems curious to argue that Freeman is afflicted by a “blindness to morality” when it is precisely a sense of justice that gives rise to Freeman’s apparent sympathy [.pdf] for the plight of Palestinians who chafe under the constraints of life in the occupied territories. It is precisely a sense of offended morality that drives the vast Arab anger at Israel, and causes realists like Freeman to question our unbending fealty to the inhumane and unsustainable policies of the Israeli government toward their Palestinian helots. If anyone is afflicted with moral blindness, when it comes to this question, it is Chait and the editors of the magazine for which he works.
    Chait then cites Freeman’s by now infamous remarks on the Tiananmen Square incident, and yet this China trope was never really all that convincing. To begin with, even in the truncated quote served up as evidence of his supposed pro-crackdown views, it is clear that Freeman was not expressing his personal view, but rather that of the average Chinese, as perceived through his own eyes:
    “[T]he truly unforgivable mistake of the Chinese authorities was the failure to intervene on a timely basis to nip the demonstrations in the bud, rather than – as would have been both wise and efficacious – to intervene with force when all other measures had failed to restore domestic tranquility to Beijing and other major urban centers in China. In this optic, the Politburo’s response to the mob scene at ‘Tian’anmen’ stands as a monument to overly cautious behavior on the part of the leadership, not as an example of rash action.” [Emphasis added]
    The phrase “in this optic” indicates – to any literate person – that the author is not speaking in his own voice, but in what he imagines to be the voice of the Chinese people. Does Chait imagine we’re too stupid to see this? I’m afraid he and the Washington crowd he epitomizes believe precisely that. But they’d better watch it: if they get too careless, someone may call them out on it – and then they’d have to admit that Freeman’s alleged “links” to China had nothing to do with the real objections of his detractors. So, he served on the advisory board of a Chinese company – so what? If everyone with a commercial connection to China had to drop out of consideration for government work, a large proportion of those currently working in Washington would be missing.
    The complete disingenuousness with which Chait made his argument is so transparent that it makes me wonder if, perhaps, the Israel lobby has abandoned all attempts at subtlety, and is now working on the assumption that it doesn’t matter any more if they come out in the open. The nightflower has been exposed to the light of day, and, rather than wilt, perhaps its nurturers have decided that it’s better to brave the sun. That’s why the Mearsheimer-Walt book has become such a target, to the point that anyone who praises it, as Freeman has done, is deemed unfit for office in Washington. This explains why former AIPAC top lobbyist Steve Rosen, the indicted spy who stole classified information on behalf of Israel, openly led the anti-Freeman movement (see this timeline) and didn’t even try to hide his key role in the affair.
    The Lobby was desperate to keep Freeman out of the NIC because it’s an agency that provides key intelligence for the President and Congress. If you’ll recall, that’s how the War Party lured us into fighting an unnecessary war against Iraq – by manipulating the intelligence, and even resorting to forgery to achieve their ends. With Freeman at the helm of the intelligence-gathering machinery, they’d never be able to pull if off again. In his absence – well, they just might. That’s just what they’re getting ready to do in the case of Iran, which, we are told, is gathering “weapons of mass destruction.” Part of the NIC’s job is to prepare the daily presidential briefings, and with such access to the President, Freeman would have been in a good position to block the War Party’s machinations. Which is why Chait’s parting salvo is such an outrage:
    “This is the portrait of a mind so deep in the grip of realist ideology that it follows the premises straight through to their reductio ad absurdum. Maybe you suppose the National Intelligence Council job is so technocratic that Freeman’s rigid ideology won’t have any serious consequences. But think back to the neocon ideologues whom Bush appointed to such positions. That didn’t work out very well, did it?”
    The neocons uphold a set of beliefs, they have an ideology: so too do the realists believe in a comprehensive worldview. However, the question is: what do they believe? Chait only mentions two realist principles: the pursuit of American interests abroad, and hostility to those who would put the interests of “a fellow imperfect democracy” above the realists’ “cold analysis.” Yet rational analysis, however “cold” its temperature may be, seems a necessary antidote to the hysteria that followed in the wake of 9/11. And as for that “imperfect democracy” of Israel – what will Chait and his fellow “liberals” do when Avigdor Lieberman becomes its public as well as its private face?
    Freeman himself said it best in his statement explaining his withdrawal:
    “The libels on me and their easily traceable email trails show conclusively that there is a powerful lobby determined to prevent any view other than its own from being aired, still less to factor in American understanding of trends and events in the Middle East. The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth. The aim of this Lobby is control of the policy process through the exercise of a veto over the appointment of people who dispute the wisdom of its views, the substitution of political correctness for analysis, and the exclusion of any and all options for decision by Americans and our government other than those that it favors.”
    The real fanatics are the Israel-firsters, who have used every subterfuge, no matter how low, to maintain their parasitic grip on the American policymaking process. The really dangerous ideologues are the Likudniks and their American amen corner who willfully distort and deform American policy into a means to empower and succor a militaristic settler colony that is increasingly anti-democratic and aggressive. The Freeman affair has exposed the Israel lobby for precisely what they are: it has flushed them out of the woodwork, and brought them in from the shadows. That in itself is a great victory, one that means much more in the longterm than anyone presently imagines.
    ~ Justin Raimondo

    Reply

  36. varanasi says:

    excuse me, the above quote is from pat lang, posted by rich.

    Reply

  37. varanasi says:

    rich wrote:
    “Israel has always had a very limited ability to collect hidden information in Iran. More than that I do not wish to say. What they know of things like the Iranian nuclear and missile programs are largely the result of others’ efforts. The reason why the Israeli and US estimates reach such different conclusions is the persistent and “traditional” habit of IDF intelligence of”worst casing” every single shred of supposed information and then compiling those shreds into a pastiche satisfactory to their collective fear. This is reminiscent of the analytic technique of the neocons in the campaign to sell the Iraq War to the American people.”
    CJS admiral mike mullen was interviewed on charlie rose tonight and he said that there is “NO APPRECIABLE DIFFERENCE” between u.s. and israeli estaimates re: iranian nuclear capability.

    Reply

  38. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “He could have made the same points about Israel’s role in the Middle East in language less designed to inflame and more designed to convince” – Simeon
    I would like a DIRECT QUOTE of Freeman’s words that were “designed to inflame”. Short of that, you’re just another jackass intent on exageration, character assasination, and distortion of the facts.

    Reply

  39. rich says:

    One interesting side-effect of the mythology of inflated Israeli capability is the sudden lurch whenever the world snaps back into place again. This time, Pat Lang suppies the reality check:
    “Israel has always had a very limited ability to collect hidden information in Iran. More than that I do not wish to say. What they know of things like the Iranian nuclear and missile programs are largely the result of others’ efforts. The reason why the Israeli and US estimates reach such different conclusions is the persistent and “traditional” habit of IDF intelligence of”worst casing” every single shred of supposed information and then compiling those shreds into a pastiche satisfactory to their collective fear. This is reminiscent of the analytic technique of the neocons in the campaign to sell the Iraq War to the American people.”

    Reply

  40. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Simeon has offered a suggestion that spells doom for an increased public awareness. You do not counter the Rush Limbaughs, the Ann Coulters, and the Sean Hannitys of the right with soft words and quiet logic. He contends that our message is being listened to, but our delivery supercedes effect. Thats pure and simple bullshit. We are not being heard, because AIPAC and a subservient media are out-screaming us. Truth be told, we are not near as voracious in our protestations and dissent as we are required to be if we are to be heard.
    I sincerely question Simeon’s motives and wonder if he has not simply presented us with a facade.
    If there are those of you that intend to succumb to the irrelevent and meek manner of protest and dissent that this trojan Simeon suggests, then you may as well duct tape your mouth shut, you’ll be just as effective.
    Simeon, your ploy is ridiculously obvious. The duplicitous and underhanded crap that you and the Wig-wag ilk resort to is despicable.

    Reply

  41. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Near as I can tell, “The Lobby” is used to refer to some indeterminately large number of: columnists, bloggers, government officials, tv people, citizens at large, fundamentalist Christians, Jewish people…. Does it have a beginning? An end? Are you, POA, the only non-Lobbyist in the nation aside from W and M and a few posters on TWN? Am I in the Lobby? How would I know?”
    That’s as far as I read. There’s no sense reading any farther, for its obviously just another dissembling diversionary crock of shit.

    Reply

  42. Cee says:

    From Pat Lang
    Dennis Blair has defied the Lobby, the neocons and IDF intelligence.
    Watch your back, admiral. Watch your back. pl
    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/

    Reply

  43. Dan Kervick says:

    While I understand how people could find Freeman’s China statement shocking, I can’t agree with Simeon that Freeman’s statements about Israel have been extreme. The statements I have read are frank and critical, but hardly extreme. The feeling that he should have done more to soft-peddle them only makes sense in the context of a national discourse on Israel that is already laughably delicate and somewhat pathologically disconnected from reality.
    I understand the need for care and shrewdness in political rhetoric, and the need to approach our goals by cautious steps. But we have a mountain to climb in the Middle East, and only a short time in which to climb it. We can’t accomplish our goal in either a century or a millennium by taking the hair-width steps the preachers of caution and small bites have been preaching forever.
    I start from the premise that a war with Iran will be disastrous for this country, but that war with Iran is where we are indeed headed. Stopping that war is going to take much larger dollops of political truth than Washington is accustomed to dishing out.
    Paul Pillar’s take on this affair:
    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=4754

    Reply

  44. Dan Kervick says:

    Thank you, John Waring. Wisdom. I keep trying to convince my wife you are right, but she’s not buying.

    Reply

  45. DonS says:

    Obama: “Iran poses and exraordinary threat to the US”.
    Why can’t we just get through all this melodrama and cut to the chase?
    http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/news/2009/03/obama_extends_us_sanctions_against_iran.php
    Exactly what “extraordinary threat to the US” does Iran posem except 1) it keeps Israel fidgety and that obligates the US to be nervous or 2) the worldwide energy situation clearly involves Iran, hence the US.
    Could Obama please stop pretending that, for the sake of — what — there needs to be some sort of continuity with the insanity of Bush foreign policy? Or maybe he really thinks so? It is so anathema to the thrust of what the American people need emphasized in this 401-k depleted country.

    Reply

  46. samuelburke says:

    http://www.takimag.com/blogs/article/fear_of_the_smear
    Israel
    Fear of the Smear
    Posted by Taki Theodoracopulos on March 12, 2009
    I’ve said it before and will say it again: Fear of the smear is the Israeli lobby’s chief weapon. Here’s Charles Freeman Jr’s., Obama’s choice for a major intelligence post, reasons for dropping out: “The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth.”
    Yes, but what else is new? Mr Freeman, as a seasoned diplomat, should know that no one who does not genuflect to Israel will be safe from the smear. As everyone knows, the insidious manner in which Israel has manipulated the domestic and foreign policy of the U.S. to produce support for its policies constitutes nothing less than direct interference in the government of a sovereign state.
    As everyone knows, but is much too scared to publicly admit it in this day and age of nuclear nonproliferation, the undeclared nuclear arsenal of Israel stands as perhaps the most egregious example of how an Israel-only standard destabilizes the Middle East. It is the Israeli nuclear weapons program that is the core of instability for this very volatile region.
    Yet only recently, a buffoon like the mustachioed John Bolton—who knows which side his bagel is buttered on—argued in the Wall Street Journal that any outreach to Iran—except landing the Marines—was useless. Bolton, like other sofa Samurais, the Kristols, Podhoretzes, Perles, Frums and Krauthammers—all Israeli Firsters—wants more young Americans to fight abroad in order to make Israel safe to kill unarmed Palestinian women and children. Bolton is a buffoon and a protégé of that other great warrior Dick Cheney, probably the greatest physical coward ever to slime the seat of the vice president.
    Still, the only reason Israel’s economy exists is because of American aid. Yet Israel has grown so accustomed to American largesse, it has for a long time felt free to interfere in America’s domestic agenda and ruin American lives the moment they don’t play ball. The fact that a son of an Irgun terrorist is Barack Obama’s chief-of-staff is proof enough that from the president down, no one’s safe. The only way to stop this is to call off the free ride. The grip Israel has on Uncle Sam’s throat has finally become a stranglehold. The rest of the world knows this, but somehow the average American remains brainwashed about that tiny brave country resisting Arab hordes.
    Yeah, and pigs do fly. The Lobby is now busy trying to keep Iran in the hot seat. It managed to get two idiots to commit to a catastrophic war in Iraq. Ditto in Afghanistan. Will Iran be the third success for Israel’s Lobby?

    Reply

  47. John Waring says:

    Mr. Dan Kervick, after having read your 3/12/09 2:04AM post, I must say you have that rarest of commodities, wisdom.
    Thank you for the part you take in these discussions.

    Reply

  48. Franklin says:

    Simeon,
    I disagree with the premise that this was a debate played out in the public where one side had a more optimistic vision, and convincing argument, which ultimately won out.
    This selection was sunk, because a well-organized and financed political faction was able to call in some chits and threaten to bust some heads behind the scenes. We didn’t exactly have an appeal to pure reason or our better angels in this process. We had a conflict of fundamental views, which was resolved by power politics.
    I see the maneuver as evidence that Neo-Conservatism still holds sway in Washington and that the political class listens first to the lobbies inside of Washington.
    Time will tell, but I see the Freeman withdrawal as more of a lagging indicator, than a leading one. Based purely on anecdotal evidence, I see more resentment towards the heavy-handed influence of the Israel lobby – these incidents only heighten animosity.
    I also disagree with you about Carter. Those who lashed out at Carter were already riding the Israel-First train. Amongst, those who have had no dog in the fight, or no strong leanings, I think the recognition has been: “you know what, maybe Carter is speaking more honestly about these issues than the other side”.

    Reply

  49. ... says:

    there’s assassination of character and then there’s idealization of character… wigwag is involved in the former, while simeon is involved in the later… neither approach is one to be taken in by..
    great to hear your thoughts simeon, but you’re wrong! having bullshit served up eloquently doesn’t change the fact it is still bullshit… neither you or wigwag pass the smell test…

    Reply

  50. DonS says:

    Simeon, your words are reasonable enough. You counsel less exuberance in language, and less vitriol. By the way, I presume you noted the taste of true vitriol and ugliness by the fundie/firsters who invaded this website – am I allowed to use that characterization? – on the very long thread below. Now that’s truly bad taste and acting out, in support of the Lobby. Don’t you agree?
    Anyway, on your main point about caution and civility, after decades of seeing this charade play out, whereby Israeli-centric proponents say jump and the establishment renders the obligatory “how high”, exactly what makes you believe that greater civility will win over hearts and minds of the Congress and the politicos to reduce the influence that the Lobby (am I even allowed to now use ‘that’ word) on our government and policy?
    As to using Wig wag as a supportive authority for your point of view, my own history with Wig wag involves our first conversation, in which he questioned my rhetoric, said it sounded a bit harsh. Sound familiar? Well I’ve respected Wig wag as best I am able over the past few years (believe me, I can rhetorically tear new one’s if I choose), and the result has been the same. Every entry point Wig wag sees is used to nuance, manipulate and take advantage . Very little honest exchange extended over time or, particularly, on the subject of Israel.. So while you find his words inspiring, I am less impressed.
    Perhaps, too, you have not been subjected to epithets like self-hating Jew to control one’s ability to express opinions thate diverge from the “Lobby” (fortunately a rare occurrence on this blog as Steve does not tolerate it.) That seems to be changing a bit now, thank God. But, you know what, I don’t think it’s because those loyal to America first have toned done their mode of expression.
    Finally, while you caution realists to be more measured, I would like to note my own lack of affinity for any policy camp, but certainly think that it is progressives who are also working to reduce the influence of the – almost said it – folks who would place the interest of Israel over those of the US when it comes to crucial decisions about apparatus and policy.
    I appreciate your sharing here.

    Reply

  51. Simeon says:

    Wigwag makes an excellent point that we ignore at our peril.
    I have known both Chas Freeman and Charles Freeman for several years. They have both been dedicated civil servants and they are great Americans. Chas Freeman would have been superb as the Chairman of the National Intelligence Council. I don’t know anyone smarter than Chas Freeman and I don’t know anyone of greater integrity. The country is ill-served by the withdrawal of his appointment.
    With that said, we need to be brutally honest with ourselves. Everyone who knows Chas knows that his rhetoric is unnecessarily extreme. He could have made the same points about Israel’s role in the Middle East in language less designed to inflame and more designed to convince. That he didn’t is his own fault. Similarly, his son could have defended his father without expressing his desire to punch his father’s opponents in the face. A history of using this type of language is not an asset when applying for any government job and the reality is that Chas shot himself in the foot every bit as much as his critics shot at him. To put it another way, Chas may have been shot by his critics, but Chas loaded the gun for them.
    I am a committed realist. I don’t have a special affinity for Israel or for the Palestinians or for any other national or ethnic group. My affinity is with my country. I believe that Israel should be treated with no special deference nor with any special opprobrium. The same is true for China, Pakistan, Iraq and every other country with whom we interact. In formulating foreign policy, America should pursue its self interest first.
    But Wigwag is right. Realists have done a very poor job of articulating our position to the public. Stephen Walt is the perfect example. His famous book made some excellent points but the manner in which many of those arguments was presented made it less convincing. His insensitive presentation style detracted from the important arguments he was trying to make. Jimmy Carter’s book “Peace Not Apartheid” is another example. As Carter now admits, using the word apartheid in the title was a mistake and an unnecessary one at that. Largely because of the title he selected for his book President Obama denied Carter a speaking role at the Democratic Convention. Had President Carter resisted the temptation to use that title, Carter might have been offered a speaking role that he could have used to calmly but vigorously explain the plight of the Palestinians to millions of viewers.
    Realists will never succeed in convincing a skeptical public that our philosophy is the correct one if we present ourselves as angry, bitter or intransigent. Criticizing American foreign policy or our relationship with Israel in a manner sure to anger our opponents and unnerve the undecided is a sure recipe for failure.
    Had Chas Freeman, Charles Freeman, or any of the Chas Freeman proponents promoted the appointment with a greater sense of optimism and enthusiasm instead of anger and bitterness, Freeman might be editing the National Intelligence Estimate today.
    Reading through the comments section of the Washington Note I see many passionate arguments in favor of the Freeman appointment but the arguments are obscured by the vitriol.
    Ronald Reagan proved that the best way to motivate people to see things from your perspective is to inspire them, not to lecture them.
    Brilliant as he is, Chas Freeman’s proclivity to lecture people ultimately derailed his nomination and set back the realist cause.
    Washington Note readers would be well advised to heed Wigwag’s advice and engage is some self reflection. Less anger and more optimism might inspire larger numbers of Americans to see things the way we do.

    Reply

  52. DonS says:

    What a joke! Fred Hiatt, Lobby member extraordinaire, of the increasingly irrelevant editorial board of WAPO, protests that there can’t be a Lobby because, by God, he didn’t get a memo from them.
    Moon of Alabama has more:
    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2009/03/the-old-and-new-washington-establishment.html
    Maybe he didn’t get the memo because Rosen just twittered him.

    Reply

  53. Kathleen G says:

    easy e thanks for that McGovern piece. Important read
    Just a suggestion folks
    instead of responding to waggy wig. Write to Schumer, Rahm Emmanuel, Rep Israel, Kirk etc let them know what you think about doing their best to dump Freeman. Or do both
    Waggy wig does the dance that Ari Fleisher did with Chris matthews last night. Lie spin, call names, lie spin, call names lie lie lie

    Reply

  54. easy e says:

    Wigwag – “Looks like the President you supported so vigorously agrees with my take on Freeman not yours”.
    >>>>>
    more likely your take on Freeman is in complete sync with the the President’s “handlers” who dictate his ME agenda (i.e. Emanuel and the rest of the Israel-firsters that all politicians at this level sell out to).

    Reply

  55. questions says:

    ArthurDecco,
    Crying out “balderdash”, a word my mother loved, is not really an argument, nor is stating that my particular arrangement of electrons is particularly oleaginous. I do not quite know what it means to call typed words “oily”, “slimy” or whatever. Try doing what scholars are supposed to do, quote from the text, explain the quotation in your own words and then cite evidence to the contrary such that you support your own position. So, in other words, define the “lobby”, prove the definition, show that AIPAC is different from other lobbies either by delving into Congressional voting records and campaign donation records, or by finding an actual Congressional scholar who has done so. An argument that uses evidence and makes logical connections is a lot more effective than name-calling. And who knows, maybe you’ll even convince me that I’ve been really foolish all these years. As I’ve said before, I’m open to arguments.
    And as for the whole *China does it too* or *Israel is no different* sorts of arguments, the argument seems to be that if you accept China, you kind of have to accept Israel and vice versa, or if you condemn any totalitarian insanity you have to condemn it all or risk being a hypocrite. What I think fails here is that there are places where we might have some ability to ameliorate bad behavior at some level, but we ought not overstate our ability to stop evil dead in its tracks. We may just have to cohabit with impurity for a wide range of reasons. We’re not going to be able to do a damned thing about China’s human rights record. And it’s not likely that, posters here to the contrary, we can do much about Israel either. We could save some money and keep Carroll’s patriotic dollars for her own deeply patriotic remodeling of her kitchen or whatever, or we could buy an alliance of the sort Geo. Washington himself condemned. I’ll take alliances over kitchens. Furthermore, the exceptionalism arguments are problematic. Israel SHOULD be different because of its history — it doesn’t wash.
    In my opinion, the China and Saudi issues aren’t the main strikes against Freeman anyway. I think there are some other problems in his thinking which I’ve already noted. Clearly a coalition of people who were uncomfortable with him, some over Israel, some over Saudi stuff and China/Tibet stuff, some over personality, some over the realism, all came together and made enough noise that Obama decided it wasn’t worth it and Blair didn’t want to spend his capital defending Freeman either. And again, if some AIPAC/Israeli/Rosen spy was the catalyst, he certainly wasn’t the ultimate cause. Now how is this “oily”??
    But once again, Freeman isn’t the Last Man Standing.

    Reply

  56. JohnH says:

    No Wigwag, this is not about Freeman. That issue was decided in the monied halls of Congress, especially in Chuck Schumer’s office.
    The issue here is about the duplicitous ways you and your ilk use to justify that decision to a broader audience. People need to understand how you make your case. If Wigwag and AIPAC don’t like somebody, they troll around for plausible damning facts, invented or not, that will resonate with people. In this case, it was Freeman’s alleged support for bad Chinese behavior. But your case was purely a public relations exercise, designed to score debating points and assassinate Freeman’s character. Bad Chinese behavior mattered only because it might resonate with the American people.
    We know this because you adamantly refuse to look at Israel through the same lens that you used to condemn bad Chinese behavior. If the reasons trolled up to assassinate Freeman’s character include apartheid in Tibet, why not apply the same standard to Israel? If fact, why not criticize Freeman for not being far more critical of Israeli apartheid? The answer is because you don’t give a whit Tibet or apartheid. Those were just debating points. You care only about Israel, right or wrong.
    And we know that you really don’t give a whit about Tibet, because you fervently supported someone whose husband signed away the last, best opportunity to hold China to account–by withholding PNTR. Yet the fact that the Clintons sold Tibet down the drain never elicited Wigwag’s ire. Not a chance. Because Hillary was judged to be better for Israel. The Clinton’s record on Tibet would have mattered only if they were judged to harbor some feelings of ambivalence toward Israel. Then Wigwag might have played the China card on the Clintons.
    So it’s important for people to understand what motivates people like Wigwag and AIPAC. And given that it’s 24/7, Israel Right or Wrong, they know where to begin in evaluating Wigwag and AIPAC’s talking points–with a healthy dose of skepticism.

    Reply

  57. rich says:

    wigwag,
    “it’s not about what WigWag thinks or about what you think, the point of this debate is about what Chas Freeman thinks.”
    That’s precisely my point — as you well know. State what Freeman said. State why it is is so horrible. And substantiate your view — instead of defaulting to shrill attacks.
    “While he harshly criticized Israel he praised Saudi Arabia (we all know about their sterling civil rights record), he defended China’s behavior in Tiananmen Square and he referred to Tibet protestors as ‘race rioters.’ ”
    Close, but no cigar: you’re just repeating the accusation, not supplying the actual quote. At best, it’s just gossip and libel. You provide no explanation for why the quote is somehow objectionable — or even what the quote is.
    Instead, you default, again, to mere attacks: “that not only makes him a hypocrite it makes his supporters (like yourselves) hypocrites.”
    Not so, of course (you complain about Freeman, but lend tacit and explicit support to Israel’s abuses: by your own lights, you’re a hypocrit).
    AgAIN: let’s discuss the quotation in question.
    Provide the actual quote. Ante up, or can the pejorative language. Explain what it is that’s so objectionable.
    See, I’ve read the quotes used so clumsily to indict Mr. Freeman. There’s nothing particularly offensive and nothing untrue or dangerous about them.
    The only reason you hide the quotes in question is they expose the moral failing intrinsic to your method: misrepresenting Freeman’s word to scapegoat a guy you don’t like.
    If you think there was something wrong with Freeman’s statements on Tiananmen Square — prove it. I’m not sure you have anything to go on.
    Freeman stated no nation, as a matter of Realpolitik, can afford to have their national capital taken over by its citizens. That’s just standard for the old USA — Israel didn’t allow the Intifada to shut down Jerusalem; Bush didn’t allow Iraq War protesters to engage in civil disobedience in Lafayette Park — had them beaten with billy clubs; and China obviously wasn’t about to let a bunch of students shut down the Chinese government. Freeman merely described a simple reality having to do with power relations of modern nation-states. Doesn’t take a totalitarian state to commit totalitarian abuses: the D.C. cops did it in 2003. Nominal democracies do it: Britain did it to Gandhi, proving that Western Civilization “would be a good idea.”
    As everybody knows, governments that relent come off looking better and not worse — as the U.S. did in the case of MLKing. Neither Israel nor China (nor Britain) can say that, despite being on the wrong side of a moral and political cause.
    Now I don’t agree with Mr. Freeman about the nature of power or the ‘rights’ of national governments to beatdown civil protesters whether using tanks or billy clubs. But that’s the reality of standard American policy, in case the naive hadn’t noticed. Freeman is just being honest about power and how Washington perceives it. And he does not differ in any way from Israel or the view of its leaders. Note that Israel is beating peaceful protesters objecting to the construction of The Wall — dragging them from their homes, beating them down — simply because officials would rather take land to build a physical symbol of an abhorrent policy — land that doesn’t belong to them. Israel goes further than Mr. Freeman, because these citizens weren’t even occupying the national capital, they just occupied their own homes.
    But rather than examine Freeman’s actual quote and its real meaning in its actual context, wigwag misrepresents it to present it as some sort of crime. As though repetition makes the accusation true.
    *So wigwag, your turn. Provide the Tiananmen quote that’s such an unspeakable violation.
    Provide Freeman’s quote about Israel, that supposedly would horrify us all. Show us what thoughts this dangerous man would use to destroy the world.
    So far I’m amused at your flustered position. When you’re able to rebuff anybody, let us know here in the comment section.
    Though I don’t agree with Mr. Freeman across the board, he is not incorrect about how national governments view even those protesters with a moral cause who press their case through civil disobedience.
    I think he’s wrong: but I’ll defend to the death his right to say what he believes — AND to be heard and accurately represented. That much is critical to everybody. And almost every one understands at least that much.

    Reply

  58. Franklin says:

    “it’s not about what WigWag thinks or about what you think, the point of this debate is about what Chas Freeman thinks.”
    Ah yes, from hence forth all that matters is whether appointees to national security posts are sufficiently ideologically pure.
    Civil service workers — even appointees — should be subject to political interference under all conditions. The interference is no longer limited to cases involving unethical, or illegal conduct. Congress will sit in on judgment of views that a narrow coterie of financial supporters deem noxious.
    My guess is that people like WigWag will be the first to cry the loudest about the “injustice” when the wind turns. So much for the principle that civil service — even appointees — should be afforded some deference and judged on professional merit, not just their views.
    Unlike Bolton, no one that has come forward has attacked Freeman’s abilities as a manager or professional colleague. Almost uniformly those who have worked with him first-hand, speak highly of him.
    And yes, in this case, Obama has failed to show the strengths of a manager. A strong manager selects the best people and then gives them the safety to make their decisions. I think that Obama’s decision to leave Blair out to hang on the Freeman selection is a sign of cowardice. Some members of the Senate and the House demonstrate that they have learned nothing over the past 8 years as well.
    Much like jurisprudence, nothing good comes of the intelligence process when it’s subject to political tampering.

    Reply

  59. WigWag says:

    Sorry JohnH and Rich, it’s not about what WigWag thinks or about what you think, the point of this debate is about what Chas Freeman thinks. While he harshly criticized Israel he praised Saudi Arabia (we all know about their sterling civil rights record), he defended China’s behavior in Tiananmen Square and he referred to Tibet protestors as “race rioters.” That not only makes him a hypocrite it makes his supporters (like yourselves) hypocrites. After all, the two of you are so enamored with Freeman’s rhetoric about Israel that you’re willing to give him a pass on his rhetoric about Saudi Arabia or China.
    I’ve given all the quotes and made all the arguments on the other post; read them or don’t read them, it’s up to you.
    One thing we know Rich is how President Obama responded to all of this. Freeman joined Khalidi, Malley and Brzezinski under the bus. Apparently (if David Broder is to be believed) Obama didn’t raise a finger to support him.
    Looks like the President you supported so vigorously agrees with my take on Freeman not yours.
    I guess he didn’t find your arguments (or the arguments of the Freeman allies) any more compelling than I do.
    Your position is getting trounced and the person you thought might bring some change you could believe in has abandoned you.
    When your in a hole, the best way out is to stop digging. But stubbornly you think the solution to your difficulties is to just keep digging a little faster.
    Who are you convincing? Congress hasn’t changed its position, the President wouldn’t offer Freeman a lifeline, Obama appointed major supporters of Israel to all the key positions in his administration; just what has your rhetoric achieved?
    Getting mad at me or calling me a “cabal” member or slimy won’t help you; I wanted Freeman out and he’s out. You wanted him ensconced at the NIC; he isn’t.
    You’ve tried the vinegar, maybe as a last resort you should try some honey.
    But you do need to try something else. Almost anything would be more effective than the rhetoric you and your fellow travelers have tried so far. I’m not even suggesting that you change your positions; I’m just suggesting that you admit that your style has failed and that a new “marketing approach” might be in order.
    If even Obama won’t appoint a guy like Freeman to a relatively low level, non-policy making position in his administration who will?
    I understand why you’re so frustrated. It’s hard to watch your positions rebuffed by someone you put so much hope in.

    Reply

  60. rich says:

    ‘Provide the offending quote. Identify the horrifying offense. Substantiate your assertion with concrete evidence. Oh, and when you provide that evidence, try to spell “cite” correctly.’
    Sorry for spelling error.”
    But not sorry for anything else.
    C’mon, let’s move from accusation to substantiation. What specifically is the problem with Mr. Freeman? Why should we just somehow be stampeded into believing the attacks, personal or professional? Where is your evidence?
    The bigger error is your method. Of course, it’s a dead giveaway, but mis-spelling ‘cite’ is a dead-on metaphor for a mis-shapen and stillborn argument. It’s symptomatic: your position is so problematic you can’t bring yourself to reconcile it with any reality-based evidence. At long last, have you no decency?
    Just explain why you feel so strongly about Mr. Freeman. It’s not hard. Spell it out. I’ve seen the quotes bumping around the internet — but it’d explain for all to see precisely what’s the basis for such shrill attacks.
    Frankly, I think you’re just too embarrassed.

    Reply

  61. JohnH says:

    “NO one thinks the Chinese should be let off the hook for human rights abuses or undemocratic policies.” I agree. But the hypocrisy comes from the fact that Wigwag condones the Israeli apartheid while criticizing the Chinese one. Agreed that “everybody does it” is not sufficient reason for criticizing one while heaping rewards on the other. And no, not everybody does it. But we only subsidize some with direct taxpayer monies. But Wigwag sees nothing wrong with that, as long as his favorite apartheid states gets the subsidy.
    If Wigwag were really concerned about Chinese behavior in Tibet, which I sincerely doubt (Chinese behavior serves more as a useful debating point), then he had ample opportunity to voice his concerns during the primary season. For it was Hillary’s husband who signed away the last real influence the US had over China when Bill signed PNTR. And, if we recall, Wigwag had virtually nothing bad to say about the Clintons’ record.

    Reply

  62. WigWag says:

    “Provide the offending quote. Identify the horrifying offense. Substantiate your assertion with concrete evidence. Oh, and when you provide that evidence, try to spell “cite” correctly.”
    Sorry for spelling error.

    Reply

  63. rich says:

    JohnH,
    I though you really whiffed on this one:
    [wigwag:] “In light of all of this you have to wonder why Chas Freeman and his supporters at the Washington Note and elsewhere think the Israelis are so awful while the Chinese aren’t so bad.”
    [JohnH:] “Wigwag, I’ve been through this before, and you didn’t get it, so I’ll capitalize it: “BECAUSE US TAXPAYERS DIRECTLY SUBSIDIZE ISRAEL’S TERRIBLE BEHAVIOR.” I have a big problem with that.”
    Never mind the subsidy. NO one thinks the Chinese should be let off the hook for human rights abuses or undemocratic policies. Certain quotes were misused to convey that false impression. And that’s the heart of the problem.
    Note wigwag uses the further corruption of America’s defense industry to further justify our $6 billion or $8 billion we deliver to Israel each year. (Not really a ‘subsidy’ a that scale. More of a wholesale appropriation that directly funds Israel’s war machine — without which it would never be able to fund settlement expansion or its civilian economy.) Note that other countries buy our weaponry; we pay Israel to purchase our planes and bombs.
    But profiteering by American arms dealers is no defense for funding Israel and its military.
    More to the point: manufacturers and consumers alike do benefit from China’s low-cost labor & goods — but that in no way justifies letting Israel off the hook. Hold both countries accountable before the law and to authentic standards of human decency. As it is, we can’t refer to Israel as a democracy in any practical, practicing sense.
    Bear in mind:
    NO one thinks the Chinese should be let off the hook for human rights abuses or undemocratic policies. Freeman’s words were misused to falsely smear his name.
    Thus wigwag defaults, again to ‘everybody does it’ — to ‘the Chinese do it too; therefore it must be Ok if Israel does it’. Or more accurately — ‘you may not hold Israel accountable, as long as a single nation gets away with murder’.
    It is an abuse of logic and of Reason. It is an immature, schoolyard excuse. It doesn’t wash.
    Problem is, the world doesn’t work like that. Japan wasn’t allowed to wait around in 1942 until the USSR closed for good. South Africa wasn’t allowed to keep going just because there was dirty business in Uganda.
    We deal with these issues one nation at a time.
    Why should Israel evade accountability just because some other irrelevant nation still has work to do? It’s unreasonable.
    *Note wigwag avoids the simple challenge to cough up the actual complaint all this fuss and holler is supposed to be based upon.
    Ante up.
    Provide the offending quote. Identify the horrifying offense. Substantiate your assertion with concrete evidence. Oh, and when you provide that evidence, try to spell “cite” correctly.
    It’s really not difficult. Barring that, it appears you’ve come up empty-handed.

    Reply

  64. ... says:

    freeman’s antagonist was indicted for espionage, but wigwag continues to smear freeman skipping over anything else that would interfere with his myopic view…

    Reply

  65. Carroll says:

    We all know who the wigwags are, what they are and what they are doing.
    “And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), ……facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.
    Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, ….while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people,… to surrender their interests.”
    Geo Washington 1779
    This all you need to know about the wigwags.And why responding or debating them is pointless. The only value to even skimming their propaganda is to keep firmly in mind exactly what they are.

    Reply

  66. questions says:

    So tell me this, how would you, POA, define “The Israel Lobby? I tend to think that the definitions of terms, the setting of boundaries and the structuring of arguments mediated by evidence matter greatly. In fact, without arguments, evidence, boundaries and definitions, I think you have nothing at all to say. When W and M say that the Lobby is “amorphous” (I’m pretty sure that’s their term, but not 100% sure), what does that mean? Who’s in, who’s out, what does the Lobby do? Can you know if you’re a member? Is there a secret handshake that only some know? Is there a set of beliefs that, if you hold, makes you automatically a member?
    Near as I can tell, “The Lobby” is used to refer to some indeterminately large number of: columnists, bloggers, government officials, tv people, citizens at large, fundamentalist Christians, Jewish people…. Does it have a beginning? An end? Are you, POA, the only non-Lobbyist in the nation aside from W and M and a few posters on TWN? Am I in the Lobby? How would I know?
    If you want to talk about AIPAC’s ability to organize phone trees or letter writing campaigns, then please refer to that. It’s organized, it’s coherent, the participants are self-identified, they join, they are definable. But if you’re going to level THE LOBBY charges at every single person who thinks any of the following conditions (kind of like a medical syndrome), then you’re not being specific enough to make a whole lot of sense.
    In my view, Israel needs to find its soul, pull back from its utter militarization, remember that Gazans are humans, see the basic moral equivalence of Israeli and Gazan babies and adults, understand how its behavior helps radicalize the very people it wants to control and makes control that much harder. In short, Israel demonstrates both wickedness and stupidity– a real winning combination. They can’t argue well for their position. They violate Kantian norms, and if I am anything, it’s apparently a Kantian.
    Now as for US policy in all of this mess, I am pretty firmly convinced that incrementalism, though slow and painful and complicit with a kind of wickedness at times (and so, not very Kantian when you get down to it),is really important in a lot of policy making. Should the US suddenly refuse to support Israel, I think a series of negative consequences are not unlikely. I’d worry about some of the following: destabilizing nuclear and oil regimes, setting up a free-for-all when the might of the US is no longer a force, disrupting a range of trade relations that large regions depend on, forcing many cultures that are unready for a shift to undergo that shift and thus setting up a couple of generations of completely screwed up people. I’d also worry that it wouldn’t at all accomplish US goals (what are US goals anyway?) Radical Islam isn’t going to deradicalize, war won’t end, there won’t be rainbows and unicorns. In fact, I tend to think Israel is an excuse for bad deeds, not a cause of bad deeds.
    If we’re not to be game-changers, but rather to be game-shifters, then nothing I’m saying is at all what POA thinks it is. I’m an incrementalist who wants very much to see justice, but I also have a deep sense that the shortest line between historical places is almost never straight line; rather, it’s a meandering mess, a long process, three steps back and none forward this year thank you very much. Patience is required for such a process because the law of inintended consequences and sheer stupidity from bad calculations are what lie on the game-change path.
    (And for a tangent on this — the WaPo just ran a deeply sad piece on parents who nearly literally bake their babies in the back seats of cars because they leave the baby in the rear-facing car seat in the center-back position just like the law says, only they forget about the sleeping baby for hours. So why does this happen? Well, the center-back, rear-facing thing is for safety. But it’s also for death sometimes because sleeping babies are unheard, rear-facing back seat babies are unseen. One problem is fixed dramatically, another is introduced.)
    We could fix the world according to POA, but we might not like the consequences. I think we should be careful what we wish for as we shift policy in the ME.
    So now, POA, without any sarcasm, I have responded to the charge that I’m writing either out of stupidity or in bad faith. It’s neither. I want justice, but I don’t think that Chas Freeman was about to get that for us. I want peace, but I don’t think destabilizing the ME will help. I want the Gazans treated well, but I don’t think we’d get that by withdrawing aid to Israel. In fact, destabilization can be filled with sheer horror if it happens in the wrong place at the wrong time. (You think there’s mass death now? It could get a whole lot worse before it gets better.)
    And on a final Kantian note, he does remind us that eventually wars disperse people everywhere and we end up needing to trade with each other, and then we don’t have war. A funny argument — war ends war. It’s not the ethical way to get there — that would require deeply understanding our moral equivalence with one another; rather it’s the natural way to get there — brutal, but effective.

    Reply

  67. arthurdecco says:

    If you were any more oily, Questions, I could collect your drippings and fuel a lamp with them.
    There’s a long-unused word I’ve always wanted to employ in response to comments like your latest…
    Balderdash!
    It’s So YOU.

    Reply

  68. WigWag says:

    Pacos says,
    “When WigWag, speaks of “you will never win an argument and you’ll never persuade anyone who doesn’t already agree with you, if you keep using language that makes you sound ridiculous”, it leaves me clueless as to what he means.”
    I thought I was pretty explicit. It means that using a rhetorical style that calls your opponents “cabal” members (Charles Freeman did that); accuses them of using “McCarthy-like tactics” (Steve Walt did that); insists that they’re lacking in decency (DonS did that) or asserts that they’re despicably slimy (the Pissed Off American did that) doesn’t seem to be working very well. Opponents of the “Lobby” lose every time. Legislators aren’t persuaded, the Obama Administration wasn’t persuaded and Americans (to the extent they care at all) weren’t persuaded.
    Foreign policy realists and skeptics of Israeli policy need a better marketing strategy and they need to be more persuasive. The over the top language just isn’t working; in fact it’s counter-productive. Maybe instead of reserving 100 percent of their vitriol for AIPAC, realists and other Israel skeptics might be more successful if they vented 90 percent of their anger on Israel and American friends of Israel and reserved 10 percent of their effort for self-reflection. In my opinion, reading Shakespeare’s Julius Ceaser might be a good place to start. You know the part that I mean Pacos; the part where Cassius says, “The fault dear Brutus is not in our stars but in ourselves.”
    JohnH says,
    “Wigwag, I’ve been through this before, and you didn’t get it, so I’ll capitalize it: “BECAUSE US TAXPAYERS DIRECTLY SUBSIDIZE ISRAEL’S TERRIBLE BEHAVIOR.” I have a big problem with that.”
    JohnH, you don’t have to be happy that the taxpayer subsidizes the Israelis. It is certainly appropriate to question whether an economy as large as Portugal’s should be getting economic or military aid from US taxpayers. Of course I’m not happy that my tax dollars are subsidizing corn producers in Iowa or sugar beet producers in Florida, but like you, I don’t have a personal choice where my tax dollars flow. When you live in a democracy your elected representatives decide; all we get to do is vote them into and out of office, contribute financially to their campaigns, speak on their behalf (or against them) and petition them with our grievances. The system may be far from perfect, but if you lived in a country that Chas Freeman shilled for like China or Saudi Arabia, you wouldn’t get to decide where your tax dollars flowed either.
    I would make two other points to you:
    1) A significant portion of the tax dollars that the US government provides to Israel in military assistance is meant to subsidize US defense manufacturers as much as the Israeli military. Over 50 percent of military aid to Israel is spent by Israel purchasing military equipment and ordinance made in the United States.
    2) The average American taxpayer subsidizes the Chinese economy far more than s/he subsidizes the Israeli economy (although to be fair, they do this as consumers not taxpayers). On a per capita basis, the average American spends 16,000 percent more on purchasing Chinese products annually than s/he spends subsidizing Israel through taxes s/he pays In fact, as I may have mentioned to you once before, the average American spends dramatically more purchasing Chinese products in Wal Mart alone than the amount of their personal tax contribution sent to Israel.
    I’m not suggesting this means that you should approve of your tax dollars flowing to Israel; people of good will can disagree about that. I am suggesting that the average American sends far more of their disposal income on a per capita basis to China than they do to Israel.

    Reply

  69. Phoebe says:

    “The world powers should hang their heads in shame for allowing the Israeli policies of genocide to continue”
    And you parents should hang their heads in shame for raising an pathetic loser like you.

    Reply

  70. rich says:

    Two-thirds through the bombing of civilian Gaza, Israel confiscated plastic bags from the Red Cross.
    Why?
    Because you put medicine and toiletries and bandages and food and water into plastic bags for easy distribution.
    And the last thing Israel wanted was effective distribution of humanitarian aid to civilians living in their own houses and on their own land.
    After all, it might provide just enough hope that somebody might live.

    Reply

  71. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Daily, articles are available that underscore just how loathsome and despicable the Israeli state has become. How can someone possibly read the following article, yey still support and defend the racist and genocidal policies of Israel? The actions described below are not the actions of a nation acting in national defense, but are instead the actions of a nation seeking to dehumanize an entire people, purposefully inflicting hardship and suffering on ALL the inhabitants of Gaza. Hamas is an instrument of Israeli manufacture, allowing the excuse for human rights abuses that rise to the level of Adolph Hitler’s quest to eradicate the Jewish people. The situation in Gaza is nothing short of a modern day holocaust, carried out by a racist nation subsidized and enabled by our own government.
    The world powers should hang their heads in shame for allowing the Israeli policies of genocide to continue unopposed, unabated, and uncondemned. And Obama is showing himself to be equally as monstrous, equally as criminal, and equally as complicit as the last traitorous squatter in the White House was.
    U.S. queries Israel’s toilet-paper rules for Gaza
    Wed Mar 11, 2009
    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The United States is protesting to Israel over seemingly random restrictions on deliveries to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip of harmless goods such as soap and toilet paper, diplomats said Wednesday.
    Diplomats fear day-to-day crisis management on Gaza was diverting the United States and other Western governments from bigger issues like the goal of restarting peace negotiations for a Palestinian state.
    In one case, Israel blocked for weeks a World Food Program (WFP) shipment of chickpeas, used to make the Palestinian food staple hummus, the U.N. food agency said.
    “We’re certainly asking the Israelis questions about this,” a U.S. official said of the restrictions on what is allowed into Gaza.
    A Western official said: “The Americans and international NGOs (non-governmental organizations) are raising their concerns… We’re protesting.”
    Israel says it has opened Gaza’s border crossings to larger amounts of food and medicine since a January military offensive that killed about 1,300 Palestinians, destroyed 5,000 homes and left large swathes of the coastal enclave in ruins.
    But U.S. and Western officials complain the limited list of humanitarian goods that Israel allows into Gaza changes almost daily, creating major logistical problems for aid groups and donor governments which are unable to plan ahead.
    Protests have been made to Israel via diplomatic channels, and have increased since last week’s visit by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. and Western officials said.
    “It is totally surreal,” one European diplomat said of Israeli decision-making. “One day we had 600 kg (1,300 pounds) of pasta at the Kerem Shalom crossing but they said, ‘Today, pasta can’t go in’.”
    Another Western diplomat said: “It’s ever-changing. One week jam is okay and the next week it’s not.”
    In addition to soap and toilet paper, the officials cited restrictions that come and go on imports of certain types of cheeses, toothbrushes and toothpaste.
    continues…
    http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE52A5TA20090311
    (BTW, a White House spokesman, on condition of anonymity, has said that the promised thirty billion in aid to Israel is still on track, that Obama will make good on the committment. Is this the “change” the lyin’ piece of shit promised us?)

    Reply

  72. annie says:

    And Senator Schumer being so proud of having engineered this Israel Lobby success is sickening. Term limits are us.

    Reply

  73. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Questions uses the same oily manner of suggestion as Wig-wag, seeking to marginalize AIPAC’s role, and imply a minimal degree of import to such blatant displays of Israeli control of United States politics, policies, and appointments.
    Even acts of espionage committed against the United States are fodder for “questions” soft shoe, a matter to be treated as inconsequential, trivial, not worthy of attention.
    Its by no coincidence that both Wig-wag and questions employ the same calculated and rhetorical tactics of dishonest rebuttal and feigned interest in logical conclusion. These two are at TWN only to provide arguments on AIPAC and Israel’s defense. Whether motivated by personal urges to activism, or by actual participation in an Israeli propaganda machine is of course debateable. But the similarities in both technique, and argument, as well as the smooth skill shown in the employment, illustrate a careful adherence to outlined and formatted technigues of debate. These two are reading a universal manual that is not only designed for rebuttal, but is designed to divert, diffuse, and derail the discourse.
    Of course, my accusation will be dismissed as “conspiracy theory”, scoffed at, and targeted for sarcasm. As if we are to completely disregard Israel’s recruitment of internet advocates, and its various and extensive propaganda mechanisms such as Hasbara. The message being, “Yes, Israel engages in such practices, but we ain’t it”.
    Well, the old analogy about walking like a duck comes to mind.
    Laugh all you want, but “changing” Wig-wag’s opinion, or “winning” an argument with Wig-wag or Questions is simply never going to happen, because their “opinions” and their “arguments” are not founded in principles or conviction, but are instead founded on a predetermined technigue of debate that uses method instead of fact to advance an agenda.

    Reply

  74. DonS says:

    Pacos gal says “When WigWag, speaks of “you will never win an argument and you’ll never persuade anyone who doesn’t already agree with you, if you keep using language that makes you sound ridiculous”, it leaves me clueless as to what he means”
    Well, you could look at is as the world’s greatest ‘concern troll’ or another edition of the big lie, disinformation,i.e., attempting to frame and characterize language as inappropriate to discredit the speaker, divert from the message. In fact, language has be pretty bland and accurately descriptive. What else do you call lies, overt or implied, but slander?

    Reply

  75. JohnH says:

    Wigwag claims to have the better line of reasoning? Don’t make me laugh!
    On an earlier thread, Wigwag wrote “The Chinese government treats the Tibetan people terribly. The Israeli government treats Palestinian people living in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem terribly.
    n light of all of this you have to wonder why Chas Freeman and his supporters at the Washington Note and elsewhere think the Israelis are so awful while the Chinese aren’t so bad.”
    Wigwag, I’ve been through this before, and you didn’t get it, so I’ll capitalize it: “BECAUSE US TAXPAYERS DIRECTLY SUBSIDIZE ISRAEL’S TERRIBLE BEHAVIOR.” I have a big problem with that.
    You apparently think that China’s terrible behavior in Tibet should be criticized while Israel’s terrible behavior should be rewarded hugely. Can you get the hypocrisy?

    Reply

  76. easy e says:

    Would be interesting to get NOAM CHOMSKY’S take on this episode. My guess is we would see continued denial from Chomsky on the influence of the LOBBY on U.S. foreign policy, not to mention Freeman’s derailment.
    http://petras.lahaine.org/articulo.php?p=7&more=1&c=1
    fyi – Anonymous, the links you posted above on Blair apparently have been moved.

    Reply

  77. DonS says:

    You are correct of course rich. It is possible to get too caught up in the process here and forget that commenters are but a tiny fraction of those “passing through” and receiving impressions.
    Confronting scapegoating and the big lie, as you note, is a constant work. And you’re also right that it is predictably human nature to sniggle or squirm uncomforatbly rather than confront, leaving the impression of agreement. I’ve found that as true in my private life as in my professional life. Professionally, say in doing therapy groups, one can think that a message is falling on deaf ears. However what reinforces the inherent and logical power of a message is the milieu and manner in which it is delivered and that is influenced by the ‘speaker’. So its both, and we are wise to keep that in mind.
    Here, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the egoism of “my” opinion, rather than remember the powerfully wider purpose that can be served, i.e., the truth, as one sees it. In that, I think, Wig wag is a dangerous force, as he maintains and repeats a focus with, I have opined, a air of authority, covering up his agenda, and even his gender (BTW, Steve fairly recently referred to “him” and so I use it, although, I like you have thought WW female).

    Reply

  78. Pacos_gal says:

    Perhaps we shouldn’t be using the language of “lobby” since that implies that it is a particular organization such as AIPAC, who went after Freeman. Maybe we should say, Pro Israel government activist, whether they be politicians, lobbyist, or just those who fervently support the Israeli governments position.
    What I wanted to see with Freeman, and if we can’t have him, then I would accept any other who has a divergent opinion on Israel, is someone who isn’t lock, step and barrel (so to speak) with what is already out there. Obama and the intelligence community have those opinions already, what is needed is more diversity. What hasn’t worked in the past, will not work now and we need new ideas, and people who can express those views and defend them.
    This is an issue about more than a single person and the position they hold, this is about a political position and how U.S./Israeli policy will be shaped during the Obama administration.
    When WigWag, speaks of “you will never win an argument and you’ll never persuade anyone who doesn’t already agree with you, if you keep using language that makes you sound ridiculous”, it leaves me clueless as to what he means. It doesn’t even make sense. What most of us here are arguing for is diversity of opinion in regards to Isreal/U.S. relations, it isn’t persuading someone to agree with a certain position persae, it is asking that more voices be heard on a topic. That is something that any logical person should want, especially when the same old, same old, is just that, old and getting us no where fast.
    I read that Freeman made the decision to pull the plug on his nomination because he didn’t think he could be effective, not because he was asked to by the administration. Perhaps he was right and he couldn’t have done his job as well as he would have liked.
    http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/03/11/laffaire_freeman_the_rise_and_fall_of_an_appointment
    But Freeman is one person and there must be someone else out there with a resume that supports the ability of diversity of thinking. Lets find that person and put them into the position. I dont’ think Freeman has any intention of changing his mind.
    I don’t think we should let this go, and the MSM certainly has dropped the ball, however, maybe now, after the fact, we’ll be able to get some real discussion going about U.S./Israeli policy, especially in relationship to an overall policy in the middle east.

    Reply

  79. questions says:

    Dan,
    Likely it was supersmart of Obama to avoid spending political capital on this nomination. There’s way too much emphasis on Freeman’s outsized ability to solve all of our ME problems. Obama wants the discourse to move and I’m sure he’ll take reasonable steps to do this. Defending Freeman isn’t a reasonable step. If I, who am really all in favor of ME shifts and not at all an ideologue, can find myself a little uncomfortable with this guy (for some conventional thinking, some late-in-the-day thinking, and even some possibly uncareful thinking), then I’m guessing that there are other, better ways to move forward.
    My suspicion is that we’ll see a slow and quite shift away from the neocon view, but not all the way over to OPEN condemnation. In short, we’ll practice diplomacy, not maverick-osity.
    As I cautioned on a previous thread, don’t build this guy up so much that when he falls, you start to think the whole world is falling. It isn’t.
    And please don’t build THE LOBBY up such that the postings of on spy soon to be on trial and the editorials of a few who think the same way are the only voice there’s ever been. Foucault is famous for suggesting that we don’t repress talk of sexuality the way Freud argues, in fact, we talk about it all the time. I would borrow the notion and say that criticism of Israel is everywhere, it’s not repressed. And if Maddow et al aren’t talking about this story as THE STORY OF THE CENTURY, maybe it’s because it’s less of a story than some would think. It’s not like advisers don’t get tossed out pretty routinely.
    And one more thing, what if some brilliant, well-traveled polyglot had a whole theory about how ties to Europe were strangling us, European alliances were completely foolish, and we should concentrate instead on, say, Venezuela and Zimbabwe and Saudi Arabia? Would that person be considered for an administration job? The point here is not that this is the very best analogy, but rather that the US has a range of fairly set policies and someone who wants, for whatever reason, to alter in a significant way a set of alliances, might not get a job despite his/her brilliance. So the wholesale shift away from Israel and towards other nations isn’t likely to happen, and even a huge rewriting of the US/Israel relationship isn’t likely to happen. My best guess is that there will be a creeping towards Israel’s mellowing over time. An intelligence reader probably needs to keep these kinds of parameters in mind. If a maverick runs away like a statue of Daedalus, the maverick doesn’t help anyone at all.

    Reply

  80. Anonymous says:

    See this, particularly in regards to what it says about Blair.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-
    dyn/content/article/2009/03/11/AR2009031103384.html
    And Pelosi’s beyond the pale remark, here. Blair appointed a man
    whose views are ‘beyond the pale.’
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-
    dyn/content/article/2009/03/11/AR2009031103213.html
    Blair is far more dangerous to these people than Freeman. Is he the
    real target?

    Reply

  81. rich says:

    “nice try rich, but I have tried before to appeal to Wig wag’s sense of honesty and getting real, but, despite his apparent better qualities, the man is hard wired to manipulate.”
    DonS, the point isn’t to do the impossible; wigwag won’t change her/his stripes and those traits run deep.
    The point is to expose the Big Lie. Publicly calling out wigwag and others on the naked scapegoating and the general MO here is the purpose — and that’s more important. You know how domestic abusers and sexists work: if no one calls them on the bigoted joke or on bashing the weakest citizen, they think everyone else agrees with the sexist joke — or is too intimidated to say anything.
    This way, everyone here knows what the game is. Not just those who ‘get it’ right away — but EVERYONE else passing through. wigwag herself (always thought his/her gender was female) has had to concede internally that we know. That the evasions dono’t work and the lies are stopped cold. That EVERYONE knows how brittle the Big Lie really is, how powerless and counterproductive the act of scapegoating really is when exposed to the light of day.
    Because scapegoating is a sign of powerlessness; of a lack of courage and forthrightness.
    That’s the purpose, and the brutal history of the 20th century make speaking the truth an imperative. To do otherwise is to be complicit in that scapegoating. The neat thing is, nothing can counteract or prevent the exposure of even this most virulent kind of propaganda. wigwag will be what s/he is, but self-diminished. Once exposed to the light of day, it’s over — the lies crumble to dust.
    wigwag can’t maintain the fiction, even internally, that her pernicious lies gain ground or have traction. No matter how persistently repeated. The MO is barren and the moral cause is bankrupt. And everyone knows.
    Assassinating Freeman’s character and axing his nomination is just a self-indictment.

    Reply

  82. Dan Kervick says:

    David Broder reveals:
    “Blair said that the White House told him that if he wanted Freeman, he’d have to fight for him himself. When I asked the White House on Tuesday if Obama supported Freeman, a National Security Council spokesman said he would check, but he never got back to me. Freeman vanished without a squawk from Obama.

    Reply

  83. DonS says:

    Prediction: next focus, tactic, diversion – –
    The Lobby” will suddenly become the attention of significant media, but in a way to discredit Mersheimer/Walt et al.
    What we will see: ” ‘The Lobby’, Fact or plain old anti-Semitism?” You read it here.
    nice try rich, but I have tried before to appeal to Wig wag’s sense of honesty and getting real, but, despite his apparent better qualities, the man is hard wired to manipulate.

    Reply

  84. easy e says:

    EX-CIA RAY MCGOVERN ON FREEMAN EPISODE:
    “In June 1967, the Israelis learned that they could get away, literally, with murder and still not endanger their influence in Washington” Events the past week “demonstrate that they and their Lobby are equally good at character assassination. It is embarrassingly shameful to watch President Obama acquiesce in all this.”
    * * *
    Timidity Derails Obama Intel Choice
    by Ray McGovern
    Read entire article here http://www.consortiumnews.com/2009/031109a.html

    Reply

  85. rich says:

    wigwag @ 12:45AM –
    “Well, I tried.”
    Did you? You substituted pejorative attacks for substantive discussion, calling the younger Freeman “demented” repeatedly rather than dealing forthrightly with what he had to say. He raised some issues about the politics of his father’s appointment — and you elected to attack him personally.
    In very Gingrich-ian terms. Repeat a Big Lie often enough, and many will start to believe it. Your assumption is that people will forget that the behavior of the elder Freeman’s detractors is the issue here. Gingrich loved to turn “liberal” into a dirty word and make them the issue rather than actual policy. You repeatedly throw around “demented” — repeating the mistake of Freeman’s attackers but struggling to shift the issue from them to his son.
    “Freeman and his allies don’t make arguments, they just make accusations.”
    You actually resort to the ‘I’m rubber, you’re glue” gambit? This isn’t recess at the local elementary school. We’re still waiting for anything to support your empty accusations. What evidence do you have that the younger Freeman is “demented”? Oh, yeah, it’s a pejorative smear. There’s not likely to be any substantiating evidence. The baselessness of the attack is designed to damage by its very unreason. This Karl Rove and Orwell territory; it is the Big Lie.
    “And don’t you think it’s a little self-indulgent for Freeman and his supporters to blame everyone but themselves for his resignation/firing?”
    So you actually have the effrontery to blame the victim? It’s his fault?–HE made you administer a public beatdown? A media lynching? This is propagandistic and totalitarian in nature. This is scapegoating at its most extreme. Rather than take responsibility for your actions, wigwag, somehow we should believe Freeman brought it on himself? Ludicrous.
    The reason you don’t make any headway, wigwag, is your dishonesty is so Obvious. You actually seem to believe that if you lie fast enough and often enough, people will begin to believe the Big Lie. Faux progressivism yields no progress — and you can’t figure out why.
    *Here’s the thing, wigwag:
    1. Just post a quote from Freeman, one you assert is so damning.
    2. Demonstrate that it’s damning. Tell us why it is so horrifying. Then supply evidence to support your claim.
    So far, all you’ve coughed up is pejorative attacks that compound the original mistakes of Freeman’s detractors. Asserting his son is somehow “demented” for calling them out on their egregiously dishonorable tactics, well, it’s the disgraceful act of a small person who thinks we can’t you in the midst of the howling mob.
    Stand up, wigwag, grab a gunnysack of courage and face a little reality: we actually expect some civility, a little minimal respect for your equals, modest adherence to reality — and most important both supporting evidence and an actual reasoned argument supporting your point of view.
    Though you’ve never been responsive or on-point, your refusal to discuss these issues in good faith has really been costing you. It’s a shame all that energy and intelligence isn’t applied constructively or towards finding fruitful common ground. Virulent partisanship is dead. Didn’t you get the memo?

    Reply

  86. DonS says:

    Wrong link at 8:37 above (got snagged by the two link rule, and plict my two prior posts, ineffectively!)
    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0309/19862.html

    Reply

  87. DonS says:

    On Obama, and his failure to back up this apppointment against the Lobby, he has been reported as now saying he is a “new Democrat”. that would be a “not progressive”. If so, plus his kubamaya demeanor, continues to explain a whole lot.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/12/washington/12lobby.html?hp

    Reply

  88. DonS says:

    Both the NYT and WAPO fron paged this story.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/11/AR2009031104308.html?hpid=topnews
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/12/washington/12lobby.html?hp
    What I still find most interesting is that no coverage I have seen thus far puts this brouhaha in historical and practical context. That is, a comparison between Freeman’s alleged conflict of interest, which is what it boils down to, and the massive evidence of other conflicts of interest inherent in multiple appointees over time.
    Not just on the right, or the left, but everywhere. Yet Freeman’s alleged conflict brings him down, and yet no word of analysis to indicate how very unusual for an appointee to be brought down by a accusation of this nature. No mention of the Richard Pereles who worked for the Israelis, the Feiths, Wolfowitz and the whole line of neocons who have been on the take from the Israelis although, truth be told, they would probably do it for free.
    So in recent history we have these highly compromised moles for Israel placed in powerful governemnt policy positions, primarily at DOD, yet this is not considered a comparable situation worth mentioning by media. How strange.

    Reply

  89. DonS says:

    Both the NYT and WAPO fron paged this story.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/11/AR2009031104308.html?hpid=topnews
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/12/washington/12lobby.html?hp
    What I still find most interesting is that no coverage I have seen thus far puts this brouhaha in historical and practical context. That is, a comparison between Freeman’s alleged conflict of interest, which is what it boils down to, and the massive evidence of other conflicts of interest inherent in multiple appointees over time.
    Not just on the right, or the left, but everywhere. Yet Freeman’s alleged conflict brings him down, and yet no word of analysis to indicate how very unusual for an appointee to be brought down by a accusation of this nature. No mention of the Richard Pereles who worked for the Israelis, the Feiths, Wolfowitz and the whole line of neocons who have been on the take from the Israelis although, truth be told, they would probably do it for free.
    So in recent history we have these highly compromised moles for Israel placed in powerful governemnt policy positions, primarily at DOD, yet this is not considered a comparable situation worth mentioning by media. How strange.
    —————–
    On Obama, he has been reported as now saying he is a “new Democrat”. that would be a “not progressive”. If so, plus his kubamaya demeanor, continues to eplain a whole lot.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/12/washington/12lobby.html?hp

    Reply

  90. pauline says:

    “Charles Freeman fails the loyalty test”
    Under attack for his insufficient devotion to Israel, the long-time diplomat’s appointment is withdrawn.
    Glenn Greenwald
    Mar. 10, 2009
    Obviously, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt are rabid, hateful paranoids — total bigots and anti-Semites — for having suggested that there are powerful domestic political forces in the U.S. which enforce Israel-centric orthodoxies and make it politically impossible to question America’s blind loyalty to Israel. What irrational lunacy on their part:
    “Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair announced today that Ambassador Charles W. Freeman Jr. has requested that his selection to be Chairman of the National Intelligence Council not proceed. Director Blair accepted Ambassador Freeman’s decision with regret.”
    In situations like this, it is often impossible to know whether the appointee really did voluntarily withdraw or whether he was forced out and is merely being allowed to say that he withdrew. To his credit, Adm. Blair was in the Senate this morning defending Freeman from the likes of Joe Lieberman, but everything that is publicly known about Freeman makes it seem unlikely that he would have voluntarily withdrawn due to the shrieking criticisms directed at him. If he were forced out — and there’s no basis for assuming he was until there’s evidence for that — then that reflects quite badly on the Obama administration’s willingness to defy the Bill Kristols, Marty Peretzes, and National Reviews of the world when it comes to American policy towards the Middle East.
    In the U.S., you can advocate torture, illegal spying, and completely optional though murderous wars and be appointed to the highest positions. But you can’t, apparently, criticize Israeli actions too much or question whether America’s blind support for Israel should be re-examined.
    UPDATE: Prior to the announcement that the Freeman appointment was terminated, Max Blumenthal documented that the man leading the anti-Freeman assault was Steve Rosen, the long-time AIPAC official currently on trial for violations of the Espionage Act in connection with the transmission of classified U.S. information intended for Israel. Blumenthal also quotes foreign policy analyst Chris Nelson as follows:
    “Freeman is stuck in the latest instance of the deadly power game long played here on what level of support for controversial Israeli government policies is a “requirement” for US public office. If Obama surrenders to the critics and orders [Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair] to rescind the Freeman appointment to chair the NIC, it is difficult to see how he can properly exercise leverage, when needed, in his conduct of policy in the Middle East. That, literally, is how the experts see the stakes of the fight now under way.”
    Blumethal also suggested that right-wing Israel fanatics in the U.S. are particularly interested in controlling how intelligence is analyzed due to their anger over the NIE’s 2007 conclusion that Iran had ceased its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
    “It’s clear that Freeman isn’t going to be influenced by the lobby,” Jim Lobe, the Washington bureau chief of Inter Press Service, remarked to me. “They don’t like people like that, especially when they’re in charge of products like the NIE. So this is a very important test for them.”
    Blumenthal further noted that the leader of the anti-Freeman crusade in the House, Rep. Mark Kirk, is Congress’ top recipient of AIPAC donations. Identically, Greg Sargent previously reported that, in the Senate, “concern” over Freeman was expressed by Sen. Chuck Schumer directly to Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
    Does anyone doubt that it’s far more permissible in American political culture to criticize actions of the American government than it is the actions of the Israeli Government? Isn’t that rather odd, and quite self-evidently destructive?
    UPDATE II: Andrew Sullivan on “The Freeman Precedent”:
    “Obama may bring change in many areas, but there is no possibility of change on the Israel-Palestine question. Having the kind of debate in America that they have in Israel, let alone Europe, on the way ahead in the Middle East is simply forbidden. Even if a president wants to have differing sources of advice on many questions, the Congress will prevent any actual, genuinely open debate on Israel. More to the point: the Obama peeps never defended Freeman. They were too scared. The fact that Obama blinked means no one else in Washington will ever dare to go through the hazing that Freeman endured. And so the chilling effect is as real as it is deliberate.”
    Actually, Obama’s DNI, Adm. Blair, did defend Freeman, but only today, and it’s true that no other Obama officials did. As usual, it was a bipartisan onslaught of government officials marching in lockstep loyalty to AIPAC mandates, with nobody outside of some bloggers and online writers defending Freeman. Though I was just arguing yesterday that the rules for discussing Israel in the U.S. have become more permissive, and I still think that, this outcome was probably inevitable given the refusal of virtually all influential Beltway factions to deviate from mandated loyalty to the right-wing Israel agenda. That it was inevitable doesn’t make it any less grotesque.
    UPDATE III: Chuck Schumer — who supported Bush’s nomination of Michael Hayden for CIA Director despite his key role in implementing Bush’s illegal eavesdropping program, and supported Bush’s nomination of Michael Mukasey as Attorney General despite his refusal to say that waterboarding was torture — is now boasting about the role he played in blocking Freeman’s appointment, all based on Freeman’s crimes in speaking ill of the U.S. Israel:
    “Charles Freeman was the wrong guy for this position. His statements against Israel were way over the top and severely out of step with the administration. I repeatedly urged the White House to reject him, and I am glad they did the right thing.”
    That’s certainly evidence that (a) Freeman was forced out, and (b) his so-called “statements against Israel” were the precipitating cause.
    UPDATE IV: Lynch mob leader Jonathan Chait of Marty Peretz’s magazine, who spent the last week denying that Israel was the driving force behind the attacks on Freeman, brings himself to acknowledge the truth now that Freeman has been vanquished for his blasphemy:
    “Of course I recognize that the Israel lobby is powerful, and was a key element in the pushback against Freeman, and that it is not always a force for good.”
    What I find most mystifying is that Israel-centric fanatics actually think it is a good thing for Israel to impose these sorts of Israel-based loyalty tests and orthodoxies on American politics. Polls show that Americans overwhelmingly want the U.S. Government to be “even-handed” in the Israel/Palestinian dispute and substantial portions of Americans do not favor American policies towards Israel. Isn’t it rather obvious that at some point, there will be a substantial and understandable backlash as Americans watch people like Chuck Schumer openly boast that anyone who makes “statements against Israel” that he deems “over the top” will be disqualified from serving in our Government, despite a long and distinguished record of public service and unchallenged expertise?
    UPDATE V: Good for Charles Freeman for going down with a fight, issuing an impassioned and highly persuasive statement/warning about what the failure of his appointment, which he says he terminated, means for the U.S.:
    “I am not so immodest as to believe that this controversy was about me rather than issues of public policy. These issues had little to do with the NIC and were not at the heart of what I hoped to contribute to the quality of analysis available to President Obama and his administration. Still, I am saddened by what the controversy and the manner in which the public vitriol of those who devoted themselves to sustaining it have revealed about the state of our civil society. It is apparent that we Americans cannot any longer conduct a serious public discussion or exercise independent judgment about matters of great importance to our country as well as to our allies and friends.
    The libels on me and their easily traceable email trails show conclusively that there is a powerful lobby determined to prevent any view other than its own from being aired, still less to factor in American understanding of trends and events in the Middle East. The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth. The aim of this Lobby is control of the policy process through the exercise of a veto over the appointment of people who dispute the wisdom of its views, the substitution of political correctness for analysis, and the exclusion of any and all options for decision by Americans and our government other than those that it favors.
    There is a special irony in having been accused of improper regard for the opinions of foreign governments and societies by a group so clearly intent on enforcing adherence to the policies of a foreign government – in this case, the government of Israel. I believe that the inability of the American public to discuss, or the government to consider, any option for US policies in the Middle East opposed by the ruling faction in Israeli politics has allowed that faction to adopt and sustain policies that ultimately threaten the existence of the state of Israel. It is not permitted for anyone in the United States to say so. This is not just a tragedy for Israelis and their neighbors in the Middle East; it is doing widening damage to the national security of the United States.
    The outrageous agitation that followed the leak of my pending appointment will be seen by many to raise serious questions about whether the Obama administration will be able to make its own decisions about the Middle East and related issues. I regret that my willingness to serve the new administration has ended by casting doubt on its ability to consider, let alone decide what policies might best serve the interests of the United States rather than those of a Lobby intent on enforcing the will and interests of a foreign government.”
    Freeman’s full statement is here. How anyone thinks that it is helpful to Israel to impose these blatant litmus tests of Israel-loyalty on American politics is truly mystifying. Foreign policy expert Larry Rothkopf says that the failure of Freeman’s appointment “cost the United States intelligence and policy communities the benefit of a truly unique mind and set of perspectives” and “have also contributed to what can only be characterized as a leadership crisis in the U.S. government.” Judging by Freeman’s statement today, Rothkopf is absolutely right.
    — Glenn Greenwald

    Reply

  91. TonyForesta says:

    The goddess works in mysterious ways. When given the choice between an Israeli advocate and message-force multiplier, and a Saudi advocate and message-force multiplier, – I’m pro Israeli.
    While, I am appalled by, reject Israel’s aparthied policies against the Palestinians, – I do not trust the Saudi’s as far as I can spit. Any American bruting Saudi interests is suspect. Saudia Arabia is an enemy, not a friend of America. 95% of Saudi Arabians loathe America. Placing our hopes in the socalled special relationship, not to mention America’s primary source of oil in the hands a few imponderably rich House of Saud royals, whose loyalties are rooted in money and wahabism – NOT trust or any natural affinity – is a recipe’ for disaster. That way leads to ruin, as 9/11 proved.
    Like all things political, this enterprize was nasty, deceptive, partisan, slimey, and ruthless – but I am happy a Saudi message-force multiplier and apologist is sent packing.

    Reply

  92. Dan Kervick says:

    Well, as Zathras implies, it could very well be that Obama simply caved in to the usual public rhetorical pressure, and that this is another case of “no drama Obama” preferring the resumption of smooth sailing to the risks involved in extended political conflict. Of course, the antagonists in politics at this level are people engaged in struggles that they literally believe are matters of life and death. When they oppose you, they are going to fight to win. And if you are convinced of the righteousness of your own position and fight back just as hard, the spectacle may indeed be quite dramatic. That comes with the territory. Serious politics is not a drama-free enterprise.
    If the new Israeli government attacks Iran some time before the end of the year, I can guarantee that we are all in for quite a bit of drama indeed. And right now that new government is probably seeing a green light for such an attack. That’s not because Obama has intentionally “green-lighted” the attacks. It’s because Israelis are probably concluding tonight that Obama’s positions don’t matter, that he is unequipped to enforce them, and that Israel makes and controls its own traffic lights.
    However, as usual we don’t know much about the detailed anatomy of this cave-in. I assume when people like Chuck Schumer place a call to the White House to press for Freeman’s withdrawal, they don’t just say, “You should do this because it will make me feel better.” They bring something more persuasive to the table. They have tools they can use to apply pressure. Who knows what those tools are? Threats to block certain pieces of legislation? To stall certain confirmation hearings? To use influence on Wall Street to thwart components of the bank bailout? To run someone else in 2012? Maybe some enterprising reporter will tell us what it is.
    Now it might be that Obama just doesn’t really care much about this issue, and so a fight isn’t worth it when there are other fish to fry. But let’s assume that’s wrong. Let’s assume he and others in the administration, like Blair and Jones, really are angry. Let’s assume that the pro-Israel crowd is pushing an agenda that is antithetical to Obama’s preferred direction, and he would like to obstruct that agenda. What is Obama prepared to do? He’s not going to talk his opponents into submission.
    He could possibly start with the fact that Israeli espionage in the US almost certainly goes far beyond Steve Rosen, but our government sits on these cases over and over for the sake of the “special relationship”. At some point, somebody besides Jonathan Pollard is going to have to go to jail. And that person is going to have to be well-enough positioned that it sends a chill down the spines of some of his friends who know it could have been them.
    Obama is from Chicago. Surely he knows how to play the game the “Chicago way.” Reasoned persuasion and respectful disagreement have their role when the opponents disagree about policy details within a broad framework of agreement on principles. But when the disagreements run deeper, and the stakes are high, then Obama has to be willing to send the message that there is a serious price to be paid for crossing him.
    The same is true in dealing with the entire country of Israel. From time to time, a few US leaders make noises that suggest they really are interested in thwarting certain aspects of current Israeli policy. But not a one ever suggests that they are prepared to inflict any sort of pain, any kind of sanction no matter how mild, in order to get their way. Well, why even play the game then? If you want to get a foreign state to pursue a course that you believe is in *your own* country’s interest, but that the other state does not believe is in *their interest*, then you are not going to change their direction simply by argument and moral suasion. You have to apply some form of pressure. That is, you have to hold out the prospect of negative consequences that are so severe that it changes that state’s calculation of their own self interests. You have to make them an offer they can’t refuse.
    This is not just some silly and inconsequential blogospheric scuffle or beltway dustup over personalities and turf. It really is a potentially life and death matter. The Israelis were really pissed about the National Intelligence Estimate last year that knocked down Israeli contentions about Iran. That’s why they went to the mat on this one. They were worried that they were going to get more of the same from Chas Freeman and are in a serious battle to exert some influence over the intelligence product Obama receives.
    A few recent articles I have read indicate that the Israelis, across the political spectrum, are inured to war and accept it fatalistically as a tedious sort of business as usual for their country. And certainly the Israelis don’t care about young Americans. Why should they? But Obama has a grave responsibility to the lives of the next cohort of young American soldiers. It’s his job to make sure their lives are not thrown away on someone else’s battlefield in a war that doesn’t serve vital US interests. I hope he’s taking this responsibility seriously, and understands the measures that he will have to take in order to fulfill that responsibility.
    He needs to step back and contemplate Gaza. He needs to contemplate the Netanyahu commitment to expand settlements. He needs to contemplate the Israeli elections, and what those elections signify about both the Israeli government and the increasingly extremist Israeli public. Can there be any more doubt that Israel is a rogue state, and that its view of its own interests is in serious conflict with US interests? What response is called for? And what is Obama prepared to do about the fact that that rogue state has highly organized agents of influence all over this country, with a long and successful track record of propagandizing the American public, recruiting witless allies among some of the most ignorant of our fellow-citizens, and prepared to press its case no matter what Israel does? How is he going to discredit these agents of influence and change the discussion?
    This is no politically easy task, but it is a vital one.

    Reply

  93. ... says:

    wigwag is unable to back up his comment on freeman being ‘unhinged’.. he tells another poster to go read some of his previous posts.. wigwag holds an attitude of pompousness, periodically talking down to others here, making statements referencing others lower iq and etc.. one gets a clear picture of wigwag which none of his arrogant conversation style is able to conceal.. a good fanatic is someone who never appears fanatical… he shares this with AIPAC and the israel lobby here in the usa… always paint others out to be fanatical, and never display any trait that would suggest this of yourself…
    how else does one describe wigwags willingness to put down his own country the usa for that of another, seeing as that other country israel means more to him? he has a complete disregard for the idea of equality, thinking everything must go to the highest bidder, or the most cunning and power hungry, while having it all primarily benefiting the foreign country he’s most passionately attached to, rather then the one he actually lives in… all the while he maintains a deceitful facade of it being no big deal.. any lobby group, or person can do this if they want to, as it’s a ‘free’ country… a free country to some is just a way to screw others, as opposed to respecting them and thinking of them as your fellow countrymen/women… wigwag and the country he feels the need to support financially- israel – would be defined by most people as fitting the description of a traitor..

    Reply

  94. Franklin says:

    arthurdecco,
    I don’t believe that WigWag’s arguments are made in bad faith. I believe that WigWag honestly believes the line of reasoning.
    Whether the arguments are persuasive and sound is another question entirely.
    I think any argument made in good faith, no matter how unpersuasive should at least be afforded some degree of civility.

    Reply

  95. arthurdecco says:

    rich,
    you continue to impress me with your diplomatic sensitivities and the respect you display for those you disagree with. I’m incapable of your heights of diplomacy. To my way of thinking, reprehensible and dishonest people like Wig Wag deserve none of your good manners, and none of your good will. To my way of thinking, Wig Wag is both your and my enemy. Wig Wag lies. Deliberately and always. About almost everything.
    wig wag said: “And I also think it’s pretty demented to threaten to “punch your critics in the face.” That’s what Charles Freeman said he wanted to do.”
    I’m getting to the point where I’m thinking that might be a good idea, myself. What else do Liars that threaten the security of their fellow citizens with their deliberate misrepresentations deserve? Our governments don’t seem to be stepping up to the plate with charges leveled against the apparently guilty. Society’s pillars don’t appear to be defending personal freedoms. Maybe Western Cowboy Justice is America’s solution to the United States’ present predicament, constricted and controlled as their government is by those who support fascist Israel and their satellites because they tremble at the feet of the ‘LOBBY’.

    Reply

  96. PissedOffAmerican says:

    If any of you doubted what a dissembling jackass Wig-wag is, his comments on this thread should have dispelled any of your doubts.
    He has spent two days maligning Freeman’s character, with no specificity to his accusations, no researchable evidence offered to buttress his accusations, and no rebuttals to Freeman’s own defense offered in the letter quoted on this thread.

    Reply

  97. WigWag says:

    Well, I tried.
    There was a time that I thought that I was one of the most ardent Israel allies at the Washington Note. But now I realize that’s not true.
    The best allies Israel and AIPAC could ever ask for are Rich, JohnH and the Pissed off American. With critics like them neither Israel nor AIPAC will ever have anything to worry about.
    Actually, the amazing thing is that the more prominent critics of Israel and AIPAC don’t sound a whole lot more rational or temperate than they do.
    Who could ask for more helpful opponents?
    And don’t you think it’s a little self-indulgent for Freeman and his supporters to blame everyone but themselves for his resignation/firing?
    Is it really so unreasonable to ask whether Freeman and his supporters could have done a better job making the case that he was right for the job?
    I guess it was.
    Freeman and his allies don’t make arguments, they just make accusations.
    What exactly did that get them?

    Reply

  98. rich says:

    wigwag:
    “Let me give you guys (and/or gals) a little hint because … I like you; you will never win an argument and you’ll never persuade anyone who doesn’t already agree with you, if you keep using language that makes you sound ridiculous.”
    Pot calling the kettle black: biggest practitioner of absurdity and empty smears here is you. Beyond irony. It’d be foolhardy to take instruction from someone who’s never bested anyone in a TWN discussion … due largely to insupportably silly language.
    “Just look at some of the language used on this thread:
    Rich equate attacks on Freeman’s political positions on Israel and China with attacks on his character (I never read anything that attacked Freeman’s honesty, integrity or intelligence).”
    Then when will you start reading The Washington Note? Nice streak of inaccuracy, though: you and others attacked Freeman’s character — not his political analysis.
    You have yet to ante up any substance: let’s hear the evidence for your assertions. You have by no means “critiqued” his remarks — merely blasted, misread and smeared the import of a few quotes — but never assessed them honorably or accurately. Instead, you mis-stated their meaning and cried ‘Heresy!’ A lynch mob approach to abuse of language does not a disourse make.
    No effort was made to “scrutinize” the “organizations he worked for” or “his positions on Israel, Saudi Arabia, and China.”
    Instead you just rendered your verdict: Guilty of heresy.
    All you did was repeat the verdict you’d already reached. You didn’t make a valid case. You didn’t assess it evenhandedly and you chose to communicate it intemperately. It’s called making a fool of yourself over some fairly pedestrian comments that were more or less standard for functionaries in his position. I don’t entirely agree with him. But the U.S. woudnt’ tolerate a Tianamen event either–and didn’t during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. No matter, though. This country’s been down the McCarthyite road before. You’re not taking it anywhere it hasn’t been–and most people recognize it when they see it. It’s politics all right — ineffectual politics. Poisonous, but ineffectual.
    As per usual, you ignore the challenge to skirt the issue. Weak, but in character.

    Reply

  99. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Its rare I completely asgree with Zathras, but on this one, he nailed it. Obama, time and again, has shown himself to be spineless, throwing people under the bus rather than stand up with any backbone for appointments or associations.
    I haven’t got alot good to say about the Bush Administration, but at least they had balls. Apparently, Obama has sold his in return for a stay in the Oval Office.

    Reply

  100. Franklin says:

    What really sunk the Freeman nomination wasn’t some reasoned disagreement over issues, it was a question of financial power and political leverage behind the scenes.
    Most Americans don’t know anything about Freeman, because the mainstream press actively avoided a discussion of the issues.
    To the extent that any views were aired or printed they were those of critics of the Freeman nomination (the lone exception being a letter to the editor at the WSJ by a few ambassadors).
    It’s interesting to note that none of the critics actually had first-hand professional interactions with Freeman.
    None really had any basis for making an informed judgment of his professional ability — aside from some lazy ideological litmus test.
    Some of Freeman’s defenders only knew about him second-hand, or third-hand. On Freeman’s side there were also professionals with first-hand experience working with him who came to his defense. Unfortunately for the career civil service, none own major media outlets.
    The media outlets that portrayed a more favorable view of Freeman had less reach and influence.
    It’s fair to ask if the NIC position should be based entirely on political considerations, rather than on professional merit.
    It wasn’t an open debate that sunk Freeman’s nomination; it was a fairly one-sided one, which included almost exclusively many of the same critics who silenced dissent before the Iraq War.

    Reply

  101. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Yep.
    Read Wig-wag’s latest post, above, and if you don’t see him for the slimey dissingenuous POS I’ve always maintained him to be, then you are detached from reality.

    Reply

  102. JohnH says:

    Glad to see you’re as smug as ever, Wigwag. I agree that it’s still a marginal opinion that the Lobby is an anti-democratic force working against American national interests and probably against Israel’s long term interests as well.
    However, opinions considered marginal today are a lot less marginal than the were a couple years ago. There are now numbers of prominent people who are willing to stand up for what they believe is right, despite the well organized and well funded intimidation of your ilk. Remember, the fight against apartheid in South Africa was also ridiculed and marginalized–until one day it prevailed.
    Be smug while you can, Wigwag. Time is not on your side or on that of an Israeli state that delights in defying international norms, Geneva Conventions, and UN Security Council Resolutions.

    Reply

  103. daCascadian says:

    It would show wisdom to realize the following :
    Zooming out from the emotions of the moment shows a larger
    pattern of flushing out the cockroaches into the light. Only then
    can they be dealt with as they need to be.
    Glenn Greenwald puts it thusly :
    “…the more obvious it becomes what is really driving these
    scandals, the more difficult it will be to maintain this suffocating
    control over American debates and American policy….”
    I guess we shall see how much wisdom there actually is amongst
    those is positions of power.
    Stand by
    “Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it.”
    – Robert F. Kennedy

    Reply

  104. Zathras says:

    The mainstream media has not covered this story extensively for the very good reason that few people know what the National Intelligence Council does (quick: who chaired the Council a year ago?).
    All the more reason for President Obama to have stuck up for someone appointed to his administration. We’re not really talking about a major public controversy here, just a Washington skirmish over a minor appointment. Obama caved anyway, raising a question as to whether he intends to govern as he campaigned — that is to say, prepared to drop the people who work for him at a moment’s notice if they generate even a small amount of bad press. I admire Obama’s use of language, but he’d do well to remember that Jimmy Carter once gave a speech several years into his administration with several sensible ideas about the energy crisis then gripping the country, and was greeted by a headline in a Boston paper that read, “More Mush From the Wimp.”
    Talk, no matter how eloquent or sophisticated, only gets you so far in government. At some point, a President has to be able to show he can take on a fight and win it, even if it makes some of his own supporters uncomfortable. I’m not one of those who believes the Israel lobby within the Democratic Party is so powerful it could have forced Amb. Freeman’s withdrawal if the President of the United States had stood up for him. He didn’t, or his campaign staff in the White House decided he shouldn’t, and that’s the real story here.
    Per Chris Nelson’s piece quoted above, there may be reason to worry about someone’s guts here, but that someone isn’t Dennis Blair.

    Reply

  105. WigWag says:

    Let me give you guys (and/or gals) a little hint because I like you; you will never win an argument and you’ll never persuade anyone who doesn’t already agree with you, if you keep using language that makes you sound ridiculous.
    I realize that your views are passionately held and that the Freeman implosion has you angry, but your hyperbole doesn’t make you more convincing it makes you less convincing. It may be easy to get the few people who already agree with you at the Washington Note to sympathize with you by engaging in hysterics but to most people who don’t even know who Chas Freeman is, reading many of the comments here would make them think they’ve stumbled into a bunch of lunatics.
    Chas Freeman’s character wasn’t assassinated. His remarks were critiqued, the organizations he worked for were scrutinized and his positions on Israel, Saudi Arabia, and China (and to a lesser extent Tibet, Sudan and Burma) were assessed. There was no lynch mob anywhere but in your fertile imaginations. What there was were people who objected to Freeman’s position on Israel, Saudi Arabia and China working to make sure he didn’t get the job. There’s a word for that; it’s called politics.
    Just look at some of the language used on this thread:
    DonS says Freeman’s critics lack “decency.”
    JohnH calls Freeman’s critics “McCarthyites”
    Rich equate attacks on Freeman’s political positions on Israel and China with attacks on his character (I never read anything that attacked Freeman’s honesty, integrity or intelligence).
    Rich goes on to say Freeman was attacked in “visceral, personal, slanderous and baseless terms.” Rich do you really expect anyone to take you seriously when you make remarks like that?
    Then we have the Pissed Off American calling me “despicably slimy”
    Has it occurred to you folks that there’s a reason your position never prevails? To the vast majority of people who don’t consider Chas Freeman or even what happens in Israel or Palestine a particularly important issue you all sound a little crazy.
    It wouldn’t be so bad for you if it was just a few stray commenters at the Washington Note. After all, no one cares what I say or what any of you say. The problem is that many of the more famous advocates for the positions you espouse like Steve Walt or Juan Cole frequently sound as ridiculous as you do.
    Has it ever occurred to you that when your position is rejected time and time again, that maybe it’s time to develop a different sales pitch or use a different strategy? If you consistently fail to persuade, don’t you think it might be a good idea to try making the same point in a different, more compelling way?
    Or you could just keep doing what you’re doing and saying what you’re saying.
    So far how’s that working out for you?

    Reply

  106. PissedOffAmerican says:

    March 11, 2009
    Freeman Withdrawal Marks Victory for Israel Lobby
    by Daniel Luban and Jim Lobe
    Amb. Chas Freeman withdrew from consideration for a top intelligence post in the Obama administration on Tuesday, following a vitriolic battle that pitted Republican lawmakers and pro-Israel hardliners opposed to his appointment against liberals and members of the intelligence and diplomatic communities who had come to his defense.
    Freeman’s withdrawal came as a surprise to many in Washington, particularly since it came only hours after Adm. Dennis Blair, the administration’s director of national intelligence (DNI) who made the appointment, issued a strong defense of Freeman during his testimony before the U.S. Senate.
    His withdrawal is likely to be viewed as a significant victory for hardliners within the so-called “Israel lobby,” who led the movement to scuttle his appointment, and a blow to hopes for a new approach to Israel-Palestine issues under the Obama administration.
    A brief notice posted late Tuesday on the DNI Web site stated that “Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair announced today that Ambassador Charles W. Freeman Jr. has requested that his selection to be Chairman of the National Intelligence Council not proceed. Director Blair accepted Ambassador Freeman’s decision with regret.”
    The DNI did not provide any further reason for Freeman’s withdrawal.
    Sen. Chuck Schumer, a critic of Freeman who privately conveyed his concerns to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel last week, released a statement taking credit for the withdrawal, according to Greg Sargent of the Plum Line blog.
    “Charles Freeman was the wrong guy for this position,” Schumer’s statement read. “His statements against Israel were way over the top and severely out of step with the administration. I repeatedly urged the White House to reject him, and I am glad they did the right thing.”
    The battle over Freeman began in late February, soon after Blair appointed him as chairman of the National Intelligence Council (NIC). The NIC, among other responsibilities, is tasked with producing National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs), which are consensus judgments of all 16 intelligence agencies.
    Freeman was reportedly Blair’s hand-picked choice for the job. He is a polyglot with unusually wide-ranging foreign-policy experience – his previous jobs have included chief translator during President Richard Nixon’s historic 1972 trip to China, ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs.
    But Freeman is also known for his outspoken and often caustic political views. He has been especially critical of the Bush administration’s conduct of the “war on terror” and of Israeli policies in the occupied territories.
    Initial resistance to the appointment came from neoconservatives and other pro-Israel hardliners who were opposed to Freeman’s critical views of Israeli policies. The campaign against Freeman was spearheaded by Steve Rosen, a former official for the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) who is currently facing trial for allegedly passing classified information to the Israeli government.
    It was quickly taken up by neoconservative commentators in the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, and the New Republic, among other places.
    However, Freeman’s critics soon shifted their focus from his views on Israel to his ties with Saudi Arabia. The Saudi royal family has provided funding to the Middle East Policy Council, a think-tank that Freeman headed, leading to allegations that he was “on the Saudi payroll” or even a “Saudi puppet.”
    Last week, 11 congressional representatives – including several with major financial ties to AIPAC and other right-wing pro-Israel groups – called on the DNI’s inspector-general to investigate Freeman’s financial ties to Saudi Arabia.
    Later in the week, Blair sent the representatives a letter offering his “full support” for Freeman and praising the appointee’s “exceptional talent and experience.” The letter also discussed Freeman’s financial ties to Saudi Arabia, stressing that “he has never lobbied for any government or business (domestic or foreign)” and that he “has never received any income directly from Saudi Arabia or any Saudi-controlled entity.”
    Blair’s letter appeared to have defused the case against Freeman based on his Saudi ties.
    On Monday, the seven Republican members of the Senate Intelligence Committee sent their letter of concern to Blair, but they made no mention of the Saudi charges that formed the backbone of their House colleagues’ letter from the previous week. Instead, the senators focused on Freeman’s alleged intelligence inexperience and his “highly controversial statements about China and Israel.”
    It was the China issue that had become the central attack against Freeman in recent days. Critics pointed to a leaked e-mail that he sent to a private listserv about the Chinese government’s 1989 repression of demonstrators in Tiananmen Square, in which he appeared to argue that the Chinese authorities’ true mistake was not the violent repression but their “failure to intervene on a timely basis to nip the demonstrations in the bud.”
    Blair and others countered that the e-mail was taken out of context, and that Freeman was not describing his own views but what he referred to as “the dominant view in China.”
    One member of the listserv who did not wish to be identified said that Freeman’s e-mail came in the context of an extended conversation about what lessons the Chinese leadership took from the Tiananmen Square events, and that Freeman himself has always regarded the events as a “tragedy.”
    Regardless, the leaked e-mail became the focal point of the debate over Freeman. On Thursday, 87 Chinese dissidents and human rights activists released a letter conveying their “intense dismay” at his appointment and asking President Obama to withdraw it.
    But others stepped in to defend Freeman’s record on human rights in China. China scholar Sidney Rittenberg told James Fallows of the Atlantic that Freeman was “a stalwart supporter of human rights who helped many individuals in need” during his diplomatic career in Beijing. Jerome Cohen, an expert in Chinese law, told Fallows that the allegations that Freeman endorsed the Tiananmen Square repression were “ludicrous.”
    Fallows was one of several prominent media figures – including Joe Klein of Time and Andrew Sullivan of the Atlantic – who came to Freeman’s defense in recent days. While many of them disagree with Freeman’s outspoken views, they warned against what Fallows calls the “self-lobotomization” of U.S. foreign policy that results from shutting out dissenting voices.
    Diplomatic and intelligence professionals in the foreign policy bureaucracy – in which Freeman was seen as enjoying strong support – also rallied to his defense.
    Last week, 17 former U.S. ambassadors – including former ambassador to the UN Thomas Pickering and former ambassador to Israel Samuel Lewis – wrote a letter to the Wall Street Journal praising Freeman as “a man of integrity and high intelligence who would never let his personal views shade or distort intelligence estimates.”
    On Tuesday, seven former senior intelligence officials wrote to Blair in support of Freeman. They called the attacks on him “unprecedented in their vehemence, scope, and target” and perpetrated by “pundits and public figures … [who are] aghast at the appointment of a senior intelligence official able to take a more balanced view of the Arab-Israel issue.”
    These endorsements by figures with solidly establishmentarian credentials appeared to have strengthened Freeman’s position. This made Tuesday’s announcement especially unexpected, since many felt that Freeman had succeeded in riding out the storm.
    Despite the Saudi and Chinese angles of the Freeman controversy, many still saw it as heart a neoconservative campaign to shut out critics of Israel from positions of power.
    “The whole anti-Freeman effort was engineered by the people who fear that Obama will abandon current policies toward Israel from acceptance of the occupation to forceful opposition to it,” M.J. Rosenberg of the Israel Policy Forum wrote on the Huffington Post.
    The timing of Freeman’s withdrawal is likely to prove especially bad for the Obama administration, since it came after Blair had committed a significant amount of political capital to defending his appointee.
    In his testimony before the Senate on Tuesday, Blair responded to concerns raised by Lieberman by praising Freeman’s “inventive mind” and argued that his critics “misunderstand the role of the development of analysis that produces policy.”
    “I can do a better job if I’m getting strong analytical viewpoints to sort out and pass on to you and the president than if I’m getting precooked pablum judgments that don’t really challenge,” Blair told Lieberman.
    Lieberman seemed unsatisfied with Blair’s answer. “OK, I guess I would say, ‘to be continued,'” he replied.
    As it turned out, Lieberman did not have to wait long to get the response he wanted.
    (Inter Press Service)
    http://www.antiwar.com/ips/lubanlobe.php?articleid=14386

    Reply

  107. KatheenG says:

    Can Freeman reconsider?
    i would like to witness the lobby fight out in the open with all of us behind Freeman

    Reply

  108. Kathleen G says:

    Steve…ask Maddow why she has not touched this Charles Freeman story. Have her producers put duct tape over her mouth on this one. The MSM has not touched this story…challenge Rachel

    Reply

  109. PissedOffAmerican says:

    As usual, Wig-wag resorts to vaque inuendo and character assasination to present his case. He has at his access Freeman’s entire letter, that should be rebutted paragraph by paragraph if this jackass Wig-wag expects his comment to be taken seriously.
    Wig-wag has become so despicably slimey in his commentary that it escapes my understanding why some of you extend him the civility that he has neither earned nor extended. Personally I find being played for a patsy far more offensive than having my proffession maligned by some insipid little internet asshole like varanasi, or being called “anti-semitic” by some jerk-off that can’t formulate an honorable argument in defense of Israeli policies. Wig-wag’s assasination of Freeman’s character lacks specifics, and is constructed entirely of a glib and smooth manner of oily accusation that has become the trademark of the typical proffessional Israeli slimebag mouthpiece.
    As each week passes by, I am more and more repulsed by Wig-wag’s steady stream of straw arguments, purposeful diversions, and feigned poses of moderation. If this is the kind of sleazy slimey tactics of debate that is required to wage an argument in Israel’s or AIPAC’s defense, than it certainly confirms our worst opinions of Israel, Israeli policies, and the Israeli lobby machine.
    (BTW, Steve. I know you periodically communicate with Maddow. I am a fan of her humor, and was once a fan of her on-the-air activism. However, please, on my behalf, let her know that this particular viewer has changed channels. There are far too many important issues, such as our withdrawal from Durban, and the circumstances of Freeman’s exit, that Maddow is ignoring. It seems that Maddow is unwilling to confront issues concerning undo and excessive Israeli influence on the Obama Administration, and, as Kathleen has pointed out, Maddow gave Mitchell a free ride on spinning the same old Israeli party line that we have been force fed for far too long. Adios Maddow, I’ll find another way to spend that hour every evening.)

    Reply

  110. dahreese says:

    Do we live in the United States of America or the United State of Israel?
    The next time Israel gets into a war, let Chuck Schumer go fight it himself and take the owners and publishers of the Weekly Standard with him.
    I don’t always agree with Charles Freeman’s views, but at least he will give President Obama an honest opinon.
    That’s more than can be said for the members of Congress – all of whom are owned by somebody.

    Reply

  111. Kathleen G says:

    Glenn Greenwald going after Senator Schumer on this one.
    The agenda of Chuck Schumer
    http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2009/03/11/schumer/index.html

    Reply

  112. JamesL says:

    …government of the people, by the people, and for the people…
    Apparently amended today by both House and Senate without a show of hands to:
    ….of Israel, by Israel, and for Israel…
    And nary an Obama in sight.
    If being “pro Israel”, to the degree determined by Israel, is now a litmus for American politicians, kiss America goodbye. Reality is no longer “America first”.

    Reply

  113. rich says:

    Fact: This has started as a character assassination and degenerated into a lynch mob.
    “It’s funny, I didn’t hear you complaining about a lynch mob when Daschle’s or Richardson’s nominations were revoked or when Geithner’s nomination was in trouble. I guess you only think it’s character assassination when the appointment of an Israel critic is criticized or revoked.”
    It’s the double standard you maintain that’s become wholly untenable. (Do you hold otherforeign policy officers to the same standard?) Further, what right have you to enforce lockstep obedience on any of these nominations? That’s the problem with your approach: you attack based on assumed ideological impurity whereas I assess the evidence of each situation.
    Let’s review the record. Neither Daschle nor Richardson nor Geithner were attacked in such visceral, personal, slanderous and baseless terms. There’s no comparison.
    Mr. Freeman’s appointment — which didn’t even need confirmation — didn’t even rise to the level of an actual discussion here. It started in the gutter and degenerated to mob tactics from there.
    Geithner and Daschle’s problems, though ostensibly about taxes, have no bearing on Mr. Freeman’s situation. I think Daschle could’ve done a decent job–at one point in his career–but now we’d need to assume apparent conflict of interest doesn’t translate into a real inability to adjudicate between various intersts. As health care czar, he’d have too much arbitrary power; what he already had was poorly deployed; health care is bankrupting those that can afford it and killing those who can’t — while ‘health care providers’ reap billions in profits. In the context of an enormously corrupt Congress, there’s no way a blind mouth like Daschle (expert and respected though he is) could pass the smell test OR accomplish what this country needs, particularly as Obama’s opening salvo. Daschle was to be THE man. The criticism was reasoned and temperate, never full-throated howls lacking all merit. As you know, Geithner had to be the guy to maintain stability, continuity and due to his expertise. Reckless self-indulgence isn’t something the country could afford and Obama knew it.
    So I don’t see where wigwag ‘finds’ any parallel: Freeman doesn’t fit any of those conditions. He’s not THE guy, but one of many security advisors. No way he’d have the power to tilt the entire sweep of American policy — with its tempered civil servants, its longstanding special relationship with Israel, to shift sixty years of political tradition — to Israel’s detriment. In point of fact, Freeman’s voice, assuming for the sake of argument it would be oppose Israel’s interests, would be just a drop in the bucket with no hope of balancing the decision-making scales.
    No, the point of opposing Mr. Freeman is to ensure his voice is not heard AT ALL. That’s what is interesting here.
    There is no special circumstance that makes Freeman’s appointment untenable. His detractors have demonstrated no conflict of interest — and no objectivity. No outrageous or untrue statement has been identified.
    All that’s left is the insistence that Freeman has committed some sort of heresy. He’s displayed the audacity to think some unthinkable thought, which must remain un-named because to do so would expose the accusation itself as indefensible.
    So we’ve descended into the same vicious and divisive partisanship that’ve been the scourge of the past 8 and 16 years. That’ve hamstrung the country and led directly to the current crises, foreign and domestic. This time, it’s just naked McCarthyism, too cowardly though to say what it really thinks, or debate with any honor.

    Reply

  114. DonS says:

    Wig way, no, I’m no more paranoid than your average bloke, but you do know the saying “just because you’re not paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you”…which may well apply to Charles Freeman.
    I have been trying to characterize your form of rhetoric here, that you assume the authoritative position and, when seriously challenged, demur into something like “I’m just saying what I feel, and I’m sure you’re doing the same”. But what you say, over and over, is a repetition of tropes, much as a propagandist would do.
    As an example, you chide the young Freeman for being “demented”, repeating over and over again that he would have liked to punch someone in the face. Taking this out of the context of an informal piece of writing, and a likely metaphoric device and heightening it to some felony is exactly the kind of sleazy attribution that was used against his father — cherry picking and distorting. But of course you’re only being factually accurate . . . just saying it the way you see it.
    Then you, authoritatively, state that what was obviously taken out of context, was in fact ‘in context’; Wig wag says so; just saying it the way you see it.. Wig wag you are becoming a caricature of yourself as propagandist.
    You take a very well crafted ‘farewell’ letter by Freeman, damning the Lobby and, by fiat, declare it is indeed evidence of being ‘unhinged’. Just saying it the way you see it.
    Just how many daiquiris does it require for you to put yourself in the state where this drivel propaganda comes so easily to you?
    ——————–
    As M.J.Rosenberg says:” Is this the weirdest thing ever? One, Steve Rosen — that Steve Rosen — single-handedly brought down an Obama appointment to an intelligence post over the issue of devotion to the Likud party. Two,
    Actually, one is enough. “
    Or, as I said on the prior thread “ an attempt [now successful] to disqualify an individual for a position based on ABSENCE of primary allegiance to another country”

    Reply

  115. Mr.Murder says:

    Impose sanction tariffs for countries making official attacks. Military action does not defeat terror.
    This message is to the rest of the world. Do that, once there is money to lose over it to new dpeths you will end these conflicts.
    Bribery wins better, you want the Taliban leadership taken out? Put a price on their heads.
    The success of the surge was in bribing off warlord factions. Follow the money.

    Reply

  116. rich says:

    wigwag:
    “Rich says,
    ‘Supply substantive information — any actual hard data — supporting your contention that Mr. Freeman is somehow “unhinged.” Put up or, well, short of shutting up, at least can the sleazy rhetoric.’
    [wigwag]: “I’ve provided many paragraphs on the reasons Freeman is a bad choice over on the other post about his appointment (the one written by his son). Go feast your eyes if you like.”
    No, wigwag, you have not. You’ve slimed and sleazed your way through an accelerating series of accusations that offer little basis for, and no explanatory value of, your overarching claims.
    The quotes attributed to Mr. Freeman hardly warrant your shrill tone and extreme language. They sure don’t merit your conclusion.
    In fact, you’ve so far refused to explain precisely what the problem is. What is Freeman’s supposed crime? What principle or law has he violated? None that anyone can see — and you’ve not been able to produce any supporting facts to the contrary.
    What exactly makes him unsuitable for public service? How is he ANY different from any other security advisor? That key question undermines any traction you’d have, even were your claims true.
    Lacking any ability to explain your opinion, you’ve only grown more agitated.
    That’s simply due to seeing the truth written down and hearing it spoken aloud. Your McCarthyite tactics have been exposed. And the truth always heightens the fanaticism of those who start by enforcing an unreasonable ideological position — that happens to be wholly at odds with basic America values.
    Joe McCarthy, meet wiwag: your intellectual heir.

    Reply

  117. JohnH says:

    Wigwag said that “Freeman seems to always side with autocracy over democracy.” And Wigwag gives his wholehearted support to the forces that using McCarthy-like intimidation to stifle democratic free speech.
    And, no Wigwag, I don’t “think quoting in full someone’s remarks or calling them “unhinged” is using “McCarthyist” tactics.” But this isn’t about you personally. It’s about the organized effort that you participate in, an anti-democratic campaign of intimidation, including the threat of loss of employment, that tries to assure that certain views are never aired publicly. That was the essence of McCarthyism. In this case, it appears Schumer played the role of McCarthy. And Wigwag was happy to help.

    Reply

  118. Kathleen G says:

    Jinsa’s report on Freeman on Feb 27
    http://www.jinsa.org/node/939
    “Charles “Chas” Freeman is an appalling choice for Chairman of the National Intelligence Council (NIC). As President of the Saudi-funded Middle East Policy Council, Mr. Freeman functions as lobbyist, making his analysis suspect. And his analysis is, in any event, appalling. Gabriel Schoenfeld, in The Wall Street Journal’s “Opinion Journal,” reveals a once private 2006 Freeman Internet post that Schoenfeld says, “was provided to me by a former member” of a private site. Freeman is said to have written of the 1989 Chinese massacre in Tiananmen Square:”
    AND THEN JINSA’S SPIN TODAY
    http://www.jinsa.org/node/952
    INSA Report #:
    868
    March 11, 2009
    Politico reports that Charles “Chas” Freeman, “‘requested his selection to be Chairman of the National Intelligence Council not proceed,’ [DNI Dennis] Blair’s office said in a statement. ‘Director Blair accepted Ambassador Freeman’s decision with regret.'”
    Amb. Freeman and his friends claim he was railroaded by the “Israel lobby” – which we think of as largely fictional. Politico reported that Nicholas Veliotes, a former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt said, “If they withdraw his appointment prior to the conclusion of [his formal vetting] that would be seen as abject caving in on people who are extreme partisans of Israel.” Freeman himself said:
    “LARGELY FICTIONAL” What absolute fucking horseshit. Just lie, spin, poke. And they wonder why people are getting pissed with the I Lobby
    So we have Steve Rosen leading the way, Jinsa, Zoa, Rep Israel, Senator Schumer, Rahm Emmanuel….”Largely fictional” hogwash.
    FACT the I lobby rolled over Freeman and it is pathetic that the Obama admininstration allowed them to get away with it

    Reply

  119. Kathleen G says:

    Juan Cole’s response to Freeman’s withdrawal
    Wednesday, March 11, 2009
    Did Schumer and Emanuel Sink Freeman?
    My interpretation of Chas Freeman’s withdrawal from appointment as the chairman of the National Intelligence Council is that it was provoked primarily by Chuck Schumer and Rahm Emanuel. Schumer’s call to White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was probably the decisive event, though we don’t know what Emanuel’s reaction was.
    That is, the original charge against Freeman was led by the spy for Israel, Steve Rosen, whose hiring by Daniel Pipes’ Middle East Forum/ Campus Watch is excellent evidence of what those operations really are. Rosen, when he was a head of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s Middle East bureau, handed over classified Pentagon documents to the Israeli embassy in Washington DC, which were given to him by the agent Larry Franklin, a high-level Pentagon employee who reported to Douglas Feith and Paul Wolfowitz.
    As long as the criticisms were coming from the looney Likudnik fringe and from the Weekly Standard etc. (i.e. from the Rupert Murdoch right wing of the Republican Party, which is now about as central to Washington politics as the French Foreign Legion is to Paris’s), Freeman hung tough.
    But when the Democratic Party movers and shakers intervened, that move completely undermined Freeman. Because he is the guy who would have to come up to the Hill and defend those portions of the National Intelligence Estimates that are made public. He would be the public face of the 16 US intelligence agencies, which Congress funds at an alleged $40 billion a year. And while he could have weathered snarky comments and ad hominem criticisms from the handful of marginalized Neoconservatives left in Congress, he could not have thrived, nor could the agencies whose conclusions his office distilled into the NIEs, if heavy hitters like Schumer were unalterably hostile.
    Schumer angered some of his constituents with his defense of the Israeli total war on Gaza’s civilian population this winter, and you wonder if his isn’t the last AIPAC generation in US politics. I like Schumer and loved the way he stood up to Bush, but he and other admirable people like Mike Bloomberg just have this moral black hole in their souls when it comes to supporting far rightwing Israeli policies (policies that they would unalterably oppose if pursued by the US government).
    What happened to Freeman is further evidence for the resilience of the Israel lobbies and their enormous power in US politics. The Neoconservatives were roundly defeated on the budget, and even had to swallow George Mitchell as a special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. But they still have the power to exclude a Washington Arabist such as Freeman even from an appointive position.
    Israeli Apartheid will continue unabated under Obama.

    Reply

  120. Kathleen G says:

    So many incredible folks in support of Freeman (an independent). And then Steve Rosen lead the attack, with Rep. Israel, Senator Schumer, Aipac, Jinsa, Zoa all marching to slaughter Freeman.
    Hoping someone accesses those “Easily traceable e-mails” that Freeman referred to.
    Blumenthal’s artilce on chas Freeman withdrawal
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/b…..smackdown/
    Message from Chas Freeman
    http://online.wsj.com/article/…..lenews_wsj
    ZOA on Chas Freeman
    http://www.zoa.org/sitedocumen…..ertID=1592
    Jinsa’s report on Chas Freeman
    http://www.jinsa.org/node/939
    And Today Jinsa spins their efforts to take Freeman out
    http://www.jinsa.org/node/952

    Reply

  121. WigWag says:

    Don S says,
    “But I recognize what you are, as usual, about, and that is getting the “Israel first” reading of the situation right up there at the top of the page.”
    I think the position that any particular comment comes up on a post is pretty much of a coincidence; perhaps you are a little paranoid.
    JohnH says,
    “It’s a sad day when US national interests cannot be discussed openly and candidly, even at the highest levels of government. Score another win for obscurantism and AIPAC’s McCarthyist tactics. As expected, Wigwag is elated.”
    I wouldn’t say I’m elated; I’m satisfied but I’m not elated.
    Do you really think quoting in full someone’s remarks or calling them “unhinged” is using “McCarthyist” tactics? I guess the thresh hold for “McCarthyism” has come way down.
    Rich says,
    “Supply substantive information — any actual hard data — supporting your contention that Mr. Freeman is somehow “unhinged.” Put up or, well, short of shutting up, at least can the sleazy rhetoric.”
    I’ve provided many paragraphs on the reasons Freeman is a bad choice over on the other post about his appointment (the one written by his son). Go feast your eyes if you like.
    Rich also says,
    “This has started as a character assassination and degenerated into a lynch mob.”
    It’s funny, I didn’t hear you complaining about a lynch mob when Daschle’s or Richardson’s nominations were revoked or when Geithner’s nomination was in trouble. I guess you only think it’s character assassination when the appointment of an Israel critic is criticized or revoked.
    Pacos says,
    “Sorry wigwag, but this really isn’t the way to forward any kind of agenda and calling Mr. Freeman unhinged and his son demented, really doesn’t do much to further any debate on the issue.”
    I don’t know Pacos, it seems pretty tame to me to call someone unhinged who thinks the King of Saudi Arabia should be called “Abdullah the Great.” And I also think it’s pretty demented to threaten to “punch your critics in the face.” That’s what Charles Freeman said he wanted to do.
    This is one of the reasons why Israel’s critics always lose the argument. Hyperbole and name calling don’t win debates; they just make you look silly.

    Reply

  122. ... says:

    The following interview between Lerner and Moran centers on AIPAC and its role in pushing the United States into war with Iran:
    TIKKUN: What do you think the reasoning is for the Democrats who voted against the amendment requiring that the president get authorization from Congress before attacking Iran?
    JIM MORAN: Well, AIPAC strongly opposed it. In fact, Rep. Murtha, Rep. Obey, and myself wanted it in the supplemental. We had it in and then the leadership had to take it out because AIPAC was having a conference in Washington, and insisted with the leadership and many of the members with whom they have close alliances. Yesterday, AIPAC had an amendment to recommit the whole Armed Services Bill in order to add language requiring America to develop missile defenses jointly with Israel, to share all its missile defense technology with Israel. That passed overwhelmingly. There were only thirty members that s less than 10 percent who voted against sharing all our missile technology with Israel. It received about 400 votes in favor of it. I was one of the thirty. My feeling was that it wasn’t just the incendiary language that Israel is under immediate attack and we need to protect it from another Holocaust, it was also the idea that the solution to Israel’s security is a militaristic one. I would urge you to read the Congressional record for the debate on the recommital. It put our loyalty to Israel in terms of complete military support. My feeling is that both America and Israel have acted in counterproductive fashion and have undermined their security by focusing exclusively on military capability.
    That was a key vote yesterday. It was phrased by many as an AIPAC vote. As a result, it prevailed approximately 400 to thirty.
    http://www.mohammadmossadegh.com/news/jim-moran/

    Reply

  123. Dan Kervick says:

    The aim of those who mounted the opposition to Freeman is not just to defeat a single man, but to demoralize their political opponents by creating an impression of unchallengeable political domination. Their victory over the appointment of one man is multiplied thousands of times over to the extent that it breaks the fighting spirit of others who are trying to change US policy toward Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    One small step we can take in response to this temporary setback is to do more to support actively the work of those who labor to provide a different perspective on the Middle East than that represented by Charles Schumer and Steve Rosen. As soon as I get home, I am mailing a check to Freeman’s Middle East Policy Council. Information on the MEPC and instructions on how to support it are located here:
    http://www.mepc.org/about/support.asp
    Another organization doing good work in this field is the Middle East Institute. I highly recommend their journal, Middle East Journal, which I have read many times. I became an individual member of the MEI today. Membership information can be found here:
    http://www.mideasti.org/membership
    If you choose to support these or other organizations, let your friends know. We can at least begin to make Steve Rosen’s climb more uphill.

    Reply

  124. rich says:

    wigwag:
    Supply substantive information — any actual hard data — supporting your contention that Mr. Freeman is somehow “unhinged.” Put up or, well, short of shutting up, at least can the sleazy rhetoric.
    The onus is on you to supply evidence — any evidence — that Mr. Freeman in any way resembles these accusations. This has started as a character assassination and degenerated into a lynch mob.
    You revert to usual form, attempting to demand that supporters make the case for Freeman when the shoe is entirely on the other foot. Where is your evidence? What crime is Mr. Freeman supposed to have committed? What reasoning do you use to justify what are, so far, only attacks on his character?
    It’s readily apparent Mr. Freeman has already been convicted in you mind. But of what, you cannot say and will not prove.
    The only Freeman quoations provided online have been fairly baseline, even ordinary expression of Realpolitik that would never be renounced by any American diplomat, statesman or security operative for the last 100 years. None of them are sufficient to support the slander flung in his direction, no matter how poor the aim.
    This is McCarthyism at its worst. It’s Politically Correct, totalitarian thuggery — and it’s cost someone a job simply because he didn’t think what he was supposed to. That’s not American, it’s Stalinist behavior.
    Mr. Freeman’s surname is apt, though it ironizes the harm inflicted on him and the country, denoting a level of poetic justice that indicts his antagonists.

    Reply

  125. Pacos_gal says:

    It is perfectly natural for a lobbyist to disagree with an appointment that isn’t in their interest. Duh.
    What is perfectly Unnatural is for a government to give sway to those lobbyist, without remembering why they picked the person they did. (for supposedly a variant viewpoint) Frankly if Freeman was wanted, then he should have been asked to see it through, with the full support of the administration behind him.
    I think any foreign country watching the the way things are going in the foreign policy department in the U.S., might have some qualms about dealing with said government. Will they be asking themselves:
    Whose views are going to really be portrayed by the various envoys, the U.S.’s or someone else?
    Is the state department acting for the administration or another party?
    Sorry wigwag, but this really isn’t the way to forward any kind of agenda and calling Mr. Freeman unhinged and his son demented, really doesn’t do much to further any debate on the issue.

    Reply

  126. JohnH says:

    It’s a sad day when US national interests cannot be discussed openly and candidly, even at the highest levels of government. Score another win for obscurantism and AIPAC’s McCarthyist tactics. As expected, Wigwag is elated.

    Reply

  127. ... says:

    freeman’s words help build a necessary conversation in the usa over the degree the israel lobby dictates usa’s foreign policy… the washington post might not be reporting on any of it, but educated people look beyond news outlets like wapo nowadays…
    as a result of freemans comments one can expect to hear bogus opinions from israel firsters like wigwag that slur, misrepresent and intentionally distract from the truthfulness of freemans statements on this topic in particular.. that ought not to be any surprise to anyone paying attention here at twn…

    Reply

  128. DonS says:

    Leave it to Wig wag to get in the first “stand up for Israel” punch. Calling a distinguished diplomat and public servant, who was in every administration from Nixon to Clinton, “unhinged”. That’s real class Wig wag. But I recognize what you are, as usual, about, and that is getting the “Israel first” reading of the situation right up there at the top of the page. No. Freeman had it right. His critics lacked “decency”.
    What I suspect you don’t like, and what makes Freeman “unhinged” in your view, is that in his parting words he called out the Israel Lobby in a straightforward way. Can’t have that in America now can we? Makes one “unhinged”. Better we should smack down someone who dares advance a critique that puts the US, not Israel, first.

    Reply

  129. WigWag says:

    Yes, Freeman’s resignation letter (or whatever it was) sent to family and friends is just more evidence of how unhinged he really is.
    There were actually some very good arguments made in favor of the Freeman appointment. James Fallows wrote a particularly compelling one (at the Washington Note, a commenter who calls himself Franklin also made some good arguments).
    But most of the Freeman defenders like Walt, Sullivan and to a lesser extent Joe Klein) proved to be unable or unwilling to make a compelling case for him on the merits. Instead they did what they always do; they criticized supporters of Israel while at the same time refraining from making substantive arguments.
    And of course, here at the Washington Note, Steve Clemons posted something by Chas Freeman’s son that was as nonsubstantive as it was demented (he actually talked about “punching” his father’s detractors).
    As for Chas Freeman himself, his claim that he was done in because his comments were considered “out of context” is just incorrect. He was done in because his comments were considered “in context.” Whether those comments dealt with China, Israel or Saudi Arabia they were an anathema to many Americans and to a high percentage of our elected representatives.
    Freeman seems to always side with autocracy over democracy. He dislikes the Israeli Government but he thinks the Saudi King is “great.” He has a low opinion of students demonstrating for democracy in Tiananmen Square or monks fighting for a little freedom in Tibet but he likes the Chinese Government well enough to serve on one of their “international advisory boards.”
    The irony of all of this is that supposedly Freeman’s major virtue for the job was that he is an iconoclast. But the countries he did business with put iconoclasts like him in prison (or worse).
    Somehow, we will just have to muddle through without Chas Freeman

    Reply

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *