Foreign Policy

Chas Freeman Out as National Intelligence Council Chief

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Story here. I for one would be perfectly happy if another foreign policy "realist" was nominated in his stead. Just not one so in thrall to the rancid, liberty-quashing worldviews of Riyadh and Beijing. Certainly was a weird week for enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-frienditis.

UPDATE: Freeman speaks! You will never guess who he blames….

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.

And etc. You stay classy, Chas.

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  1. And the comments section at The Plum Line is ablaze with “progressives” whining about how this shows Israel runs our government.

  2. I for one would be perfectly happy if another libertarian were posting in Matt Welch’s stead. Just not one so in thrall to the tiresome, mind-numbing libertarian bromides and dogmas. Certainly was a weird week for I’d-rather-have-my-fingernails-pulled-out-than read-Ayn Randitis.

  3. Shit! That guy was going to fast track Obama’s failure.I was looking forward to throwing him in the face of my liberal friends. I can always hope for the mileage tax so hybrids and electrics “pay their fair share”.

  4. Goddamn Jewish Lobby!

  5. Bye, bye, Chas.

    brrffffft. Aahhhhhh.

  6. Of course he’s out; he paid his taxes.

  7. the comments section at The Plum Line is ablaze with “progressives” whining about how this shows Israel runs our government.

    The comments section at Think Progress are interesting, too.

  8. “section…are” … someone needs an editor!

  9. From Mr Welch’s last link in the original post:

    This is why Human Rights Watch – evidently the latest bastion of neoconservative dogmatism, as Reason’s left-libertarian editor Matt Welch mordantly observed

    That’s not true. Tell me it’s not true, Matt!

  10. That’s not true. Tell me it’s not true, Matt!

    I am perfectly happy to let people describe me however they’d prefer. The best was Brian Anderson’s “Economist magazine-style conservative liberal,” in South Park Conservatives.

  11. Well poisoning, hook-nosed, money grubbing, baby blood drinking……

  12. I for one welcome our new Jewish overlords.

    Does this mean I have to wear a funny hat?

  13. There’s updates at both TP and TPL claiming that Chuck Schumer has taken credit for torpedoing Freeman, and that it was actually the White House that forced him to withdraw.

    Sets the stage for some succulent internecine warfare on the Left, don’t you think?

  14. “I am perfectly happy to let people describe me however they’d prefer.”

    Mildly sedative works for me.

  15. At first I thought the lefties were just not exposed to Freeman’s comments on China and Saudi. But then, from the next thread on TPL:

    # sgwhiteinfla | March 10th, 2009 at 05:36 pm

    I can tell you this much, this ain’t over for Schumer. He better watch his *** because he and other Dems don’t seem to be getting that the mood is shifting in this country. Blind allegience to Israel especially when Bibi just got elected is going to be a political liablility sooner rather than later. I reiterate that this is bullsh*t and I am going to leave it at that. At least Schumer didn’t try to claim he was concerned about China or Saudi Arabia

  16. But I wanted to here more about Mao’s animal appetites! WAAAH!

  17. This is kind of surprising; Freeman appeared to have significant allies left right and center.

    That Charles Schumer is out in front taking credit for his withdrawal doesn’t exactly quell the notion that this was AIPAC’s doing.

  18. “Well, let me just say — and to paraphrase Secretary Holbrooke, our Special Envoy, and I agree with his assessment after numerous visits to the region and throughout the country — 5 percent of the Taliban is incorrigible, not susceptible to anything other than being defeated. Another 25 percent or so are not quite sure, in my view, the intensity of their commitment to the insurgency. And roughly 70 percent are involved because of the money, because of them being — getting paid.”

  19. That Charles Schumer is out in front taking credit for his withdrawal doesn’t exactly quell the notion that this was AIPAC’s doing.

    There is no dispute over whether AIPAC had a strong role here. The dispute I have is the false notion that Freeman’s view on Israel was the only thing that mattered to his critics.

  20. I found this whole Chas Freeman from beginning to end rather brain-numbing.

    Is he a really good analyst?

    Would be getting within a hundred yards of changing American policy towards oppressive regimes?

    Those are the only two questions that, forgive me, fucking matter in this case. What all the other fooferah was about, I can’t quite make out. Were people seriously worried he was going to sell out US intelligence to the Saudis while masturbating to a Mao Zedong photograph?

  21. The dispute I have is the false notion that Freeman’s view on Israel was the only thing that mattered to his critics.

    As do I. It was of the same sort of category error that has periodically surfaced where opposition to Obama or to a particular policy is necessarily racist.

  22. Would be getting within a hundred yards of changing American policy towards oppressive regimes?

    I kind of doubt it, unless it was to make our policy more favorable. My admittedly shallow readings on him indicate (1) He thought the ChiComs pussed out at Tiananment Square and (2) He thinks the Saudis are God’s gift to Chas Freeman.

  23. Chas. I picture a guy walking around with a sweater tied around his neck.

  24. Is he a really good analyst?

    Plenty of evidence points to no.

    Were people seriously worried he was going to sell out US intelligence to the Saudis while masturbating to a Mao Zedong photograph?

    More that he was going to filter intelligence based on the intel & biases of his friends. Who, in the Saudi case, have been way too involved in U.S. spookery for decades now, to the point where Prince Bandar does not travel in America without his suitcases full of secret U.S. documents, for protection.

  25. I wonder if the recent events off of Hainan played any part in the decision.

  26. Matt Welsh, fair enough.

    However, that hasn’t been much the tenor of the debate in many (dare I say most?) quarters. Mostly I’ve just heard sniping about how anti-Semetic he supposedly is and whether he knows his ass from an oppressive tank rolling down Tienanmen square.

  27. I thought I could quit panicking, since we solved global warming, and now this!

    I’m never going to be able to relax.

  28. “In the version examined [in 2005] by JTA staff, the “Notebook” described Jerusalem as unequivocally “Arab,” deriding Jewish residence in the city as “settlement”;

    Isn’t that basically what Hamas said everytime the suicide bombed Jerusalem? They were just hitting an illegal settlement?

  29. Plenty of evidence points to no.

    To be fair, as was pointed out on a thread regarding the CIA a few weeks ago (i think here) nobody in the intelligence community has exactly covered themselves in glory for, I don’t know, the entire history of the Republic. (‘Invade Canada? What can possibly go wrong?’ – minutes of Madison cabinet meeting, June 1812)

  30. The comments section at Think Progress are interesting, too.

    Amazing how many people on the left have an irrational hatred of Israel/THE JOOOOOS/”Zionism”.

  31. Matt, who was the journalist you did blogginheads with who had a bet that Obama would destroy the anti-war left? i want in on that pool. Mark me in the “will destroy” column.

  32. Those are the only two questions that, forgive me, fucking matter in this case. What all the other fooferah was about, I can’t quite make out. Were people seriously worried he was going to sell out US intelligence to the Saudis while masturbating to a Mao Zedong photograph?

    I love being in a minor, third political group. The back-and-forth is too delicious. Imagine if all Bush appointees had been put to such simple litmus tests by the left.

  33. Chas. I picture a guy walking around with a sweater tied around his neck.

    win.

  34. Matt, who was the journalist you did blogginheads with who had a bet that Obama would destroy the anti-war left? i want in on that pool. Mark me in the “will destroy” column.

    Christ, you watch that stuff? Just kidding! (Sort of.) I’m doing one tomorrow w/ Matthew Yglesias, in case you have suggestions….

    To answer your question … I don’t remember. Either AmProspect’s Mark Schmitt, or WashTimes’ Eli Lake, or (most likely?) TNR’s Noam Scheiber.

  35. whether he knows his ass from an oppressive tank rolling down Tienanmen square.

    Kind of like how Bush analysts didn’t know the difference between goat farmer who owed some money and a real member of Al Qaeda.

    Christ, you watch that stuff?

    Only at home. I have a job, you know. That’s when I post. But seriously, I don’t remember… I think he wore glasses and his head was shaved… if that helps. He might have been a smoker, too, but don’t quote me on that.

  36. Yeah, that’s Eli Lake.

  37. Is he a really good analyst?

    Would be getting within a hundred yards of changing American policy towards oppressive regimes?

    Chas Freeman in 1998 on Bin Laden:

    Mr. bin Laden’s principal point, in pursuing this campaign of violence against the United States, has nothing to do with Israel. It has to do with the American military presence in Saudi Arabia, in connection with the Iran-Iraq issue. No doubt the question of American relations with Israel adds to the emotional heat of his opposition and adds to his appeal in the region. But this is not his main point.

  38. To be fair, as was pointed out on a thread regarding the CIA a few weeks ago (i think here) nobody in the intelligence community has exactly covered themselves in glory for, I don’t know, the entire history of the Republic.

    The film The Siege (the one with Denzel, not van Damme) recommends itself if for no other reason than the heaping amounts of hilarious scorn everyone else pours on the CIA for their pathetic predictive abilities throughout the whole movie.

    “Glad you got around to telling us about Germany when the bricks from the Berlin Wall were bouncing off your head…”

    “Hey, I love how you guys predicted the fall of the Soviet Union.”

    “[CIA Agent] Kraft, wouldn’t know a sheik from a prophylactic of the same name.”

  39. Uhh, as the self-designated New House Liberal (until Joe’s Second Coming, when you guys are going to get it handed to ya I tells ya!) I can honestly say this:

    WTF is this about? Who is this person?

    I mean, really, me and my friends have not been talking about this at all…

    We’ve been busy trying to ram Collectivism/Sovietazation Project #319, oops, I mean, The Employee Free Choice Act up the ass of honest, hard-working business owners all week…

  40. Really, seriously folks. No one over on this side of the fence gives much of a shit about this…

    From a cursory reading I would say support for Saudi Arabia’s abuses while having the courage to point out Israel’s abuses does not a nominee worth having make. I like consistency in applying moral principles.

    Which is why I can’t stand Moynihan.

  41. “However, that hasn’t been much the tenor of the debate in many (dare I say most?) quarters. Mostly I’ve just heard sniping about how anti-Semetic he supposedly is and whether he knows his ass from an oppressive tank rolling down Tienanmen square.”

    China and Saudi Arabia vis. Chas were heavily covered in the Weekly Standard for days. Lots of column yards. Scroll away:

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Weblogs/TWSFP/TWSFPView.asp#10774

  42. Really, seriously folks. No one over on this side of the fence gives much of a shit about this…

    The bloggers over at the Atlantic (have they gone downhill or what) have been wetting their pants on this. They really need to knock off the cheerleading.

  43. No one over on this side of the fence gives much of a shit about this…

    Here’s a mainstream liberal that doesn’t give a shit. So much so, that he doesn’t have a tag for ‘chas_freeman’.

  44. Now, if you want to say that no one in the real world gives a shit about this, I agree with you. But’s it’s been a fairly high profile issue on the blogowebz.

  45. I’m happy, and yet sad that his removal was probably mostly AIPAC’s doing.

    One day someone will take this Obama speech and make an ironic “Hitler” video, what with all the loud talking Iran and Hezbollah (standing ovation for nuking Iran around 26:30):
    http://www.aipac.org/about_AIPAC/Learn_About_AIPAC/2841_12181.asp

  46. The Democrats sneaked a provision into the omnibus spending bill that cleared the Senate today which closes down the school choice program in Washington, D.C. Schoolmates of the Obama children benefit from the program, and, as we noted here, Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs was tongue-tied when asked about the President’s position on the issue.

    There was some hope that the Democrats, once the public started to become aware of what they were up to, would back off. But it was not to be. Senate Democrats killed the D.C. scholarship program today 50-39, on a mostly party line vote. The teachers’ unions got what they wanted.

  47. oops. wrong thread.

  48. “Is he a really good analyst?”

    He isn’t, and has never been, an intelligence analyst.

  49. It isn’t that fucking difficult to figure out why the intelligence community “fucks” up often.

    World affairs, writ large, are more complicated than the economy. Anyone expecting perfection’s as much a moron as those who promise it.

  50. ‘I for one would be perfectly happy if another foreign policy “realist” was nominated in his stead. Just not one so in thrall to the rancid, liberty-quashing worldviews of Riyadh and Beijing.’

    I’ll believe that when I see it. If it happens, this hypothetical realist will have to contend with a lot of liberal interventionists, whom I would call neo-neocons.

    As Cathy Young might say: Those who say Freeman’s opponents are all focused on Israel are wrong, but those who say Freeman’s supporters are all Jew-baiters are wrong, too. Freeman’s rosy-eyed views toward certain oppressive regimes is a problem, but I’m not holding Obama nominations to a very high standard.

    The best scenario would be to have Obama’s administration made up of different lefty factions, each faction counteracting the worst effects of the other. The guys with a soft spot for foreign dictatorships would fight the guys who advocate ‘humanitarian intervention’ to ‘spread Democracy’ even where she doesn’t want to get spread.

  51. “I for one would be perfectly happy if another foreign policy “realist” was nominated in his stead. Just not one so in thrall to the rancid, liberty-quashing worldviews of Riyadh and Beijing.”

    Is that not pretty much the definition of foreign policy “realist”? A person who likes illiberal tyrannies because they are stable?

  52. I hope a tank runs over this guy.

    But then again that would be too quick.

    I hope he gets cancer and suffers a long and painful death.

  53. Shorter Chas:

    It was the Joooooooooooooooooos!>/i>

  54. Those marks at the end were him choking on his own bile.

  55. No, Dave, I think he was choking on MY bile.

  56. I was just about to say something like “sorry for that last comment, I have no idea whether it was AIPAC or not” but there you have it.

  57. I had always understood it that the Saudi government wants to liberalize the country but the citizens and religious leaders won’t go for it.

  58. So I take it the Cosmo-libertarian line on Freeman is that its important to stop the tyranny of the Saudis and the Chinese with the tyranny of AIPAC and Israeli tanks when it comes to U.S. foreign policy?

    Ohhh, you behave all you Orange Line Mafiosi! Never let it be said you have dual loyalties either.

  59. Definition of a realist: Someone who understands that what counts in foreign affairs is what concerns US Vital Interests.

    Definition of a liberal neocon: Someone who does not give a shit about US vital interests, but who is concerned about spreading love and democracy at gunpoint if necessary.

    Saudi Arabia is NOT democratic, but is sitting on a lot of oil, and so is to a realist (not necessarily a non interventionist libertarian) a nation that concerns US vital interests.

    China holds our iou’s, and is the emerging powerhouse of Asia (with all due respect to India) and so also is tagged with the vital interest tag.

    Israel has NO oil, has NO significant future as a world commercial powerhouse, has MAJOR undue influence on our foreign policy which is often AGAINST our vital interests, and so is naturally beloved by liberal necons.

    End of story. Chas Freeman was ousted by AIPACC and the ORANGE LINE LIBS are jumping on the Neocon bandwagon without checking the sources (The Weekly Standard? come on! ) of the terrible emails ….

  60. Honestly how can Matt Welch and Michael(AIPAC) Moynihan claim that his views on Israel were not the main reason his nomination was killed?

    Welch links to Martin Kramer’s blog to “prove” what a crappy analyst Freeman was, that would be the same Martin Kramer who runs the Middle East Strategy program at Harvard with, wait for it…. accused Israeli spy Steve Rosen, also a strong critic of Freeman.

    So lets see, Charles Schumer, Jeffrey Goldberg, Jonah Goldberg, Martin Peretz, The Weekly Standard, Commentary, yeah none of them cared about his views on Israel at all.

    I don’t know if he would have been a great analyst, but to suggest that this smear campaign was about anything but silencing someone who didn’t show unquestioning support for Isreal is pretty laughable.

  61. Honestly how can Matt Welch and Michael(AIPAC) Moynihan claim that his views on Israel were not the main reason his nomination was killed?

    Not sure I claimed that anywhere. What I claim — because it’s true! — is that his views on Israel have nothing to do with *my* objection of him, and certainly is not the *only* reason that his nomination was eventually withdrawn. Nancy Pelosi’s influential objection, for example, was centered on Freeman’s views on China.

  62. Chas Freeman was ousted by AIPACC and the ORANGE LINE LIBS are jumping on the Neocon bandwagon without checking the sources (The Weekly Standard? come on! ) of the terrible emails ….

    I have been writing about Chas Freeman since 2002. Also, not even Freeman denies that the e-mail posted in full on the Weekly Standard was written by his own hand. He just claims — lamely, and falsely — that it was taken “out of context.”

  63. Heck, the guy enthusiastically defended Douglas McArthur firing upon the Bonus Army. You would think that that would be unacceptable to Democrats, but apparently they don’t really care about that.

    Is it because it was too long ago? Do we need to find some quote about how the shootings at Kent State were necessary to preserve law and order in order to convince people?

  64. Definition of a realist: Someone who understands that what counts in foreign affairs is what concerns US Vital Interests.

    And such “Vital Interests” including having the United States Army fire upon US citizens who take to the National Mall in peaceful protest, like the Bonus Army, apparently.

    Yes, some people undoubtedly opposed him because of Israel. But that’s better than you idiots who hate Israel so much you approve of the US Army firing on US civilians, if only we can punish Israel some.

  65. I think this is a rare win-win situation. The man is a fascist (or fascist sympathizer) and he was derailed by AIPAC, so AIPAC will get some heat and a fairly high profile member of the establishment will make it slightly MORE respectable to say bad things about the Israeli policy of occupation and ethnic cleansing. Win-win. He wasnt really going to change policy towards Israel too much anyway, or at least no more than the next nominee will change it. SOME change is coming no matter what AIPAC does. The US just doesnt have the money anymore to be able to fight endless wars in the middle east on Israel’s behalf.

  66. “The man is a fascist (or fascist sympathizer) and he was derailed by AIPAC,”

    Who new Pelosi was a member of AIPAC!:

    “Chas Freeman, the Obama administration’s choice to serve in a key U.S. intelligence post, abruptly withdrew Tuesday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and numerous other congressional leaders complained to the White House that he was too closely tied to Saudi and Chinese government interests.”

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/188725

  67. Belatedly, and just for the record, I co-convene Middle East Strategy at Harvard with Stephen Peter Rosen, Beton Michael Kaneb Professor of National Security and Military Affairs at Harvard. He is not Steven Rosen, former AIPAC employee, as assumed above by “BPC.”

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