Shouldn’t the intelligence advisers of the President of the United States –a democracy, mind you– be committed to, you know, democracy?
Last week, President Obama appointed Chas Freeman to be Chairman of the National Intelligence Council. What does the NIC Chairman do? Sister Toldjah has the details, but perhaps his most important role is to coordinate the drafting of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE). The NIE represents the consensus view of the majority of the US intelligence community (and whomever else the NIC head wishes to consult), with minority views included. These are documents crucial to the formulation of United States foreign policy. There’s no doubt that Freeman has the professional qualifications:
Ambassador Freeman brings a diverse background in defense, diplomacy, and intelligence to this position having served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge d’Affaires in Bangkok and Beijing, Director of Chinese Affairs at U.S. State Department, and Distinguished Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace and the Institute for National Security Studies. He received his J.D. from the Harvard School of Law.
So, am I wrong to be bothered that Mr. Freeman was a paid shill for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and thinks the fascists who rule Beijing were too easy on the Tiananmen Square demonstrators?
Concerning his water-carrying for the Saudis:
In 1997, Mr. Freeman succeeded George McGovern to become the president of the Middle East Policy Council. The MEPC purports to be a nonpartisan, public-affairs group that "strives to ensure that a full range of U.S. interests and views are considered by policy makers" dealing with the Middle East. In fact, its original name until 1991 was the American-Arab Affairs Council, and it is an influential Washington mouthpiece for Saudi Arabia.
As Mr. Freeman acknowledged in a 2006 interview with an outfit called the Saudi-US Relations Information Service, MEPC owes its endowment to the "generosity" of King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia. Asked in the same interview about his organization’s current mission, Mr. Freeman responded, in a revealing non sequitur, that he was "delighted that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has, after a long delay, begun to make serious public relations efforts."
Among MEPC’s recent activities in the public relations realm, it has published what it calls an "unabridged" version of "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" by professors John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt. This controversial 2006 essay argued that American Jews have a "stranglehold" on the U.S. Congress, which they employ to tilt the U.S. toward Israel at the expense of broader American interests. Mr. Freeman has both endorsed the paper’s thesis and boasted of MEPC’s intrepid stance: "No one else in the United States has dared to publish this article, given the political penalties that the Lobby imposes on those who criticize it."
In other words, Mr. Freeman headed a PR agency for the KSA that reprinted and thus endorsed a work supporting an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory straight out of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Saudi Arabia is also notorious for the anti-Semitic texts used in its schools, and the purist strain of Islam that dominates there, Wahhabism, is one of the ideological sources of the current jihad against the West.
Anyone else see a problem here?
Perhaps worse, Mr. Freeman supported the actions of the Chinese government in suppressing the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy demonstrations. Although the Chinese Army assault resulted in a massacre, our new NIC Chairman thought Chinese authorities went easy on them. At The Volokh Conspiracy, David Bernstein cites an email Freeman wrote saying that the Chinese acted with "ill-conceived restraint:"
I will leave it to others to address the main thrust of your reflection on Eric’s remarks. But I want to take issue with what I assume, perhaps incorrectly, to be yoiur citation of the conventional wisdom about the 6/4 [or Tiananmen] incident. I find the dominant view in China about this very plausible, i.e. that the 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.
For myself, I side on this — if not on numerous other issues — with Gen. Douglas MacArthur. I do not believe it is acceptable for any country to allow the heart of its national capital to be occupied by dissidents intent on disrupting the normal functions of government, however appealing to foreigners their propaganda may be. Such folk, whether they represent a veterans’ "Bonus Army" or a "student uprising" on behalf of "the goddess of democracy" should expect to be displaced with despatch from the ground they occupy. I cannot conceive of any American government behaving with the ill-conceived restraint that the Zhao Ziyang administration did in China, allowing students to occupy zones that are the equivalent of the Washington National Mall and Times Square, combined. while shutting down much of the Chinese government’s normal operations. I thus share the hope of the majority in China that no Chinese government will repeat the mistakes of Zhao Ziyang’s dilatory tactics of appeasement in dealing with domestic protesters in China.
I await the brickbats of those who insist on a politically correct — i.e. non Burkean conservative — view.
To summarize, Mr. Freeman thinks people demanding democracy and an end to corruption got what they deserved for daring to challenge the State and should have gotten it sooner and harder.
I ask again, does anyone else see a problem here?
Then again, since President Obama for 20 years sat weekly in the church of a racist, anti-Semitic firebrand minister, perhaps he doesn’t find Freeman’s views so shocking.
Regardless, the appointment of Chas Freeman to such an important post is an appalling disgrace. Even Senator Chuck Schumer is upset. Friends of Israel and the cause of democracy have every reason to be concerned.