Call me naive, but…

March 2, 2009

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? I dont know

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? Not listening

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.

: More at Moonbattery, Power Line (and here and here), The Washington Post, and The New Republic.


School choice for me, but not for thee

March 2, 2009

Why do the Democrats hate the schoolchildren of Washington, D.C.?


Maybe the President should hire Diogenes

March 2, 2009

His administration is in desperate need of just one honest man: his newly appointed "urban czar," Adolfo Carrion*, seems to have his own pay-to-play problem:

The man who is President Obama‘s newly minted urban czar pocketed thousands of dollars in campaign cash from city developers whose projects he approved or funded with taxpayers’ money, a Daily News probe found.

Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion often received contributions just before or after he sponsored money for projects or approved important zoning changes, records show.

Most donations were organized and well-timed.

In one case, a developer became a Carrion fund-raiser two months before the borough president signed off on his project, raising more than $6,000 in campaign cash.

In another, eight Boricua College officials came up with $8,000 on the same day for Carrion three weeks before the school filed plans to build a new tower. Carrion ultimately approved the project and sponsored millions in taxpayer funds for it.

Carrion resigned as borough president effective Sunday and begins his new job as director of the White House Office on Urban Policy Monday.

Saturday Carrion declined to answer written questions about his receipt of timely campaign contributions. Instead, he issued a terse statement:

"Thousands of people who share the Borough President’s vision for building a stronger Bronx and a stronger city have contributed to Carrion NYC. Teachers, parents, police officers, firefighters, members of the business community and concerned citizens have all contributed to the borough president’s efforts to strengthen the Bronx and stimulate the local economy and he is proud to have such wide-ranging support."

Translation: "Look over there! It’s Elvis!"

*(Great name for a corrupt vulture, isn’t it? Winking )

(hat tip: Pax Parabellum)

LINKS: More at Hot Air. Exurban League is shocked, shocked!