Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Chas Freeman’s Out.

I can't be the only person who finds this depressing:

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.
Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Sullivan have already written superbly regarding what this is actually about:

Summing up the attacks on Freeman, Andrew Sullivan wrote that he finds "the hysterical bullying of this man to be repulsive." There's no question about that. Hysterical bullying -- rank character smearing -- is what they've been doing for many years in an attempt to intimidate people out of dissenting from their so-called "pro-Israel" orthodoxies. But last night, Sullivan made the more important observation about this controversy:

The idea that Obama should not have advisers who challenge some of the core assumptions of the Bush years, especially with respect to Israel-Palestine, seems nuts to me. And the impulse to blackball and smear someone as a bigot is reprehensible.

It's destructive enough to artificially limit debate on a matter as consequential as U.S. policy towards Israel. We've been doing that for many years now. But it's so much worse that the people who have been defining and dictating those limits are themselves extremists in every sense of that word when it comes to Israel and U.S. policy towards that country. Their demands that no distinctions be recognized between Israeli and Americans interests have been uniquely destructive for the U.S. Few things are more urgent than an expansion of the debate over U.S. policy in this area, which is exactly why this radical lynch mob is swarming with such intensity to destroy Freeman's reputation and fortify the limitations on our debates which, for so long, they have thuggishly enforced.
Well, they have won. The Obama camp have thrown in the towel regarding Freeman because of nothing other than his views of US policy towards Israel do not strictly adhere to the prevailing Washington wisdom.

The people who brought us, amongst other things, the Iraq war, are now the arbiters of what is and is not an acceptable view which one can hold if one is fit to serve in an American administration.

Freeman, because he dared to waver from the pro-Israeli stance, has been deemed unfit for office.

I mean, let's face it, the policies of the Bush years were hardly successful in this area, indeed, they were a total bloody disaster. But we are now being told that a fresh perspective on this disastrous policy is some form of heresy?

What depresses me most is this, if Obama won't stand up to them over the appointment of Freeman, what chance is there for his wider Middle East policy? For this is school gate stuff compared to what he will face if he ever attempts to ask Israel to make real concessions.

Freeman himself has issued a statement:
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.
Indeed, people like Chuck Schumer are making it very clear as to why Freeman was simply unacceptable to them:
“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.”
He didn't stick to the script which makes him unacceptable. I'm sorry, but the fact that only one point of view on this matter is deemed acceptable seems to me to be the antithesis of democracy.

Click title for source.

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