Chuck Schumer is taking credit, which will be no surprise to readers aware of his career-long interest Chinese democracy promotion.
Actually, Schumer was very candid:
"[Freeman's] 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.”
Of course I recognize that the Israel lobby is powerful, and was a key element in the pushback against Freeman, and that it is not always a force for good. I just don't ascribe to it the singular, Manichean, different-category-than-any-other-lobby status that its more fevered critics imagine.
Move along now. Nothing to see here.
The United States will get along fine without Freeman and without each and every one of the casualties of this latest hiring cycle. But we will ultimately suffer irreparable damage if we do not reverse this pernicious trend. Further, those who celebrate keeping out Freeman or any others whose views do not align with theirs or who feared his associations would do well to remember that the same kind of criteria can be applied by other groups. The result is not a government of people without conflicts of interest or troubling ties, rather it is a government full of people whose conflicts and ties are with groups powerful enough to protect them. This among other reasons is why I, as a Jew with a memory, was so opposed to the attacks on Freeman. But for the record, the most compelling reason I found for believing Chas Freeman would have been a superb Chairman of the National Intelligence Council was one that seldom came up in all the articles I read. I actually know him.
There is no cause here for celebration. Rather there is only cause for concern. How in the world was this man ever chosen and what took so long to dump him?
Dennis Blair, the director of national intelligence, clearly wanted Freeman to stay. He defended Freeman unequivocally to GOP senators in a letter Friday and again today in open testimony. Greg Sargent’s reporting suggests that the Obama administration declined to stand by Freeman in the face of criticism. What’s the likelihood that Blair has much patience with the arguments or the protestations of good faith made by Freeman’s critics in the future? In the long run, as I wrote earlier, Freeman is a minor player and the NIC chairmanship became a backwater in the previous administration. Obviously Blair’s role isn’t a policy role. But this crowd is probably dead to Dennis Blair going forward.
Though I was just arguing yesterday that the rules for discussing Israel in the U.S. have become more permissive, and I still think that, this outcome was probably inevitable given the refusal of virtually all influential Beltway factions to deviate from mandated loyalty to the right-wing Israel agenda. That doesn't make it any less grotesque.
It was not a surprise. But it's always invigorating to fight lost causes. And at least the blogosphere was able to air this.
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