It’s not just that Freeman is bloodied or that the NIC is the final stop in his career. It’s that now every time the NIC issues a report on god-knows-what but particularly China or the Middle East Freeman’s critics will opt to say Aha! The nefarious influence of Chas Freeman! or What can you expect with Chas Freeman in charge or some other-such dodge. That’s hardly his fault, but it’s the way these things go. Indeed, the smarter strategy for Freeman’s critics should be to ensure a weakened Freeman remains in charge of the NIC, so they can be spared having to grapple with a difficult analysis of, say, the prospects of a grand bargain with Iran or what would happen to U.S. interests in the Middle East if there isn’t an independent Palestinian state in ten years. (By the way, National Intelligence Estimates on these topics would be written by the NIC officer for the Near East, not Freeman. But still.)
The goal is the usual intimidation, removal of any intellectual diversity on the question of Israel, character assassination of anyone who wants to see some change in Middle East policy, and dismissal of any and all intelligence that might argue against a war with Iran. I sigh the sigh of Kif. But the great thing about the blogosphere is that it cannot be easily controlled. And those who have been used to policing the discourse will doubtless get much madder in the days and months ahead.
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