This Is A Silly Country
I can't believe that one of the biggest fights, on a bipartisan basis, in recent days has been over forcing out Chas Freeman, a knowledgeable and qualified candidate for Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, because he doesn't toe the party line of unthinking, unquestioning support for every policy Israel has ever undertaken. Not only did the anti-honest broker forces succeed, but Chuck Schumer sees fit to brag about it:
“Charles Freeman was the wrong guy for this position. His statements against Israel were way over the top and went beyond anything I have seen from any administration official. I repeatedly urged the White House to reject him, and I am glad they did the right thing.”
We have no debate on Israel inside Washington. You have to be mindlessly in support of whatever they do - in fact, you have to say that the role of the United States "is to support the decisions that are made by the people of Israel." Yet no country is infallible, no country is above criticism. That would be the logical view. But as a Jew expressing that, I would be called an anti-Semite and a racist. That's going to be an impediment to doing the necessary diplomacy, even with those groups we're not supposed to like, to create a stable peace in the Middle East.
Meanwhile airstrikes are STILL landing in Gaza. But it's important that someone with the capacity for critical thought isn't part of the Obama Administration.
UPDATE: Freeman is unhappy, and he has every right to be.
I have concluded that the barrage of libelous distortions of my record would not cease upon my entry into office. The effort to smear me and to destroy my credibility would instead continue. I do not believe the National Intelligence Council could function effectively while its chair was under constant attack by unscrupulous people with a passionate attachment to the views of a political faction in a foreign country. I agreed to chair the NIC to strengthen it and protect it against politicization, not to introduce it to efforts by a special interest group to assert control over it through a protracted political campaign.
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. I believe that the inability of the American public to discuss, or the government to consider, any option for US policies in the Middle East opposed by the ruling faction in Israeli politics has allowed that faction to adopt and sustain policies that ultimately threaten the existence of the state of Israel. It is not permitted for anyone in the United States to say so. This is not just a tragedy for Israelis and their neighbors in the Middle East; it is doing widening damage to the national security of the United States.
The outrageous agitation that followed the leak of my pending appointment will be seen by many to raise serious questions about whether the Obama administration will be able to make its own decisions about the Middle East and related issues. I regret that my willingness to serve the new administration has ended by casting doubt on its ability to consider, let alone decide what policies might best serve the interests of the United States rather than those of a Lobby intent on enforcing the will and interests of a foreign government.