Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Ben Armbruster of Think Progress notes an important Obama appointment- Chas Freeman as chairman of the National Intelligence Council.

Writes Armbruster:

"Freeman — a former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia who once served as President Nixon’s chief translator in China in 1972 — not only opposed the Iraq war, but has demonstrated a commitment to a well-rounded understanding of key U.S. national security issues and the importance of an even-handed U.S. role in the Israel-Palestine dispute . . ."

Armbruster writes that the right wing is up in arms against Freeman:

"However, Freeman’s views have the right wing outraged (yet some are afraid to go on record) and have “provoked a fierce behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign to torpedo the appointment.” Some examples:

"– Frank Gaffney: “This is a really serious error. …[Freeman] has compromised the objectivity that one would want in the person whose job it is to oversee the production of National Intelligence Estimates.”

"– Steve Rosen: This is a profoundly disturbing appointment. …Freeman is a strident critic of Israel… His views of the region are what you would expect in the Saudi foreign ministry."

Perhaps for once U.S. foreign policy will not respond in knee-jerk fashion and agree with everything Israeli leaders do or say just because they are Israelis. Freeman seems as if he is genuinely open to hear both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before he makes a foreign policy decison.

Armbruster also notes that these same Freeman critics also complained about Obama's appointment of George Mitchell as his special envoy to the Middle East:

"Gaffney and Rosen echo the right’s discomfort at George Mitchell’s appointment as President Obama’s Israeli-Palestinian envoy. The Wonk Room’s Matt Duss notes, “One of the reasons conservative pro-Israel zealots have been displeased” with Mitchell is because he “has in the past shown that, not only does he recognize how provocative and harmful the [Jewish] settlements [in the West Bank] are, he’s actually been willing to say so in public.”"

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