Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Chas Freeman Appointment: Mearsheimer & Walt Go To Washington

No word yet on whether proposed Charmian of the National Intelligence Council, Chas Freeman, has an autographed copy of The Israel Lobby, but as Marty Peretz writes:
But Freeman’s real offense (and the president’s if he were to appoint him) is that he has questioned the loyalty and patriotism of not only Zionists and other friends of Israel, the great swath of American Jews and their Christian countrymen, who believed that the protection of Zion is at the core of our religious and secular history, from the Pilgrim fathers through Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy. And how has he offended this tradition? By publishing and peddling the unabridged John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt book, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, with panegyric and hysteria [through the Middle East Policy Council of which he is president]. If Freeman believes that this book is the truth he can’t be trusted by anyone, least of all Barack Obama. I can’t believe that Obama wants to appoint someone who is quintessentially an insult to the patriotism of some many of his supporters, me included. [emphasis added]
Is the selection of Freeman another example of Obama's vetting committee at work? We have already seen that if enough questionable appointments are made, some will get through--whether past actual committess or just the general public. Is there any reason to hope that Freeman will be thrown under the bus?

Gabriel Shoenfeld notices a disconnect in the choice of Freeman:
Unsurprisingly, Mr. Freeman has views about Middle East policy that differ rather sharply from those held by supporters of the state of Israel. More surprisingly, they also differ rather sharply from the views -- or at least the views stated during the campaign -- of the president who has invited him to serve.

While President Obama speaks of helping the people of Israel "search for credible partners with whom they can make peace," Mr. Freeman believes, as he said in a 2007 address to the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs, that "Israel no longer even pretends to seek peace with the Palestinians; it strives instead to pacify them." The primary reason America confronts a terrorism problem today, he continued, is "the brutal oppression of the Palestinians by an Israeli occupation that is about to mark its fortieth anniversary and shows no sign of ending."
Pundits have written that as Obama is required to make actual decisions, his true beliefs and policies will become more and more clear. Nevertheless, the choice of someone like Freeman, who among other things defends China's actions in the Tiananmen Square in massacre in 1989.

Schoenfeld concludes:
If someone with such extreme views has been appointed to such a sensitive position, is this a reflection of Mr. Obama's true predilections, or is it proof positive that the Obama White House has never gotten around to vetting its own vetters?

Either way, if those complaining loudest about politicized intelligence have indeed placed a China-coddling Israel basher in charge of drafting the most important analyses prepared by the U.S. government, it is quite a spectacle. The problem is not that Mr. Freeman will shade National Intelligence Estimates to suit the administration's political views. The far more serious danger is that he will steer them to reflect his own outlandish perspectives and prejudices.
Read the whole thing.

More at Memeorandum

[Hat tip: Jennifer Rubin]

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