Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Freeman Affair

The controversial pick of Charles Freeman to head to the National Intelligence Council has generated numerous posts throughout the blogosphere, with left-wingers generally in support, and the right mostly opposed.  I have two main thoughts on the pick. First, as an appointed position not subject to Congressional approval, I think the president should get to have whoever he wants. On the other hand, I think Freeman is a terrible choice. From reading the various excerpts of his statements that have appeared in the news, it appears that he's quite chummy with the Saudis, takes what I view as an appeasement position with regard to terrorism, and of course is not exactly pro-Israel. Also, he's gained a lot of support on the left, and that's a giant red flag right there. He strikes me as a typical state department type in many respects, and not someone I'd like to see heading the NIC. So although I think the president has the right to choose anyone he wants, I hope the protests from members of Congress persuade him to change his mind and appoint someone else.


The Washington Times reports that Director of National Intelligence nominated Freeman without getting the president's approval, and didn't bother to check out his financial connections to foreign countries.

"The director did not seek the White House's approval," Ms. Morigi said. "In addition to his formal background security investigation, we expect that the White House will undertake the typical vetting associated with senior administration assignments."

Why has the Obama administration done such a terrible job coming up with solid, trouble-free nominations? How many nominees have there been that didn't have some sort of problem? I'm waiting to hear that Freeman also has upaid taxes.

UPDATE2 Freeman withdraws. Good riddance.


  1. Andrew highlighted this Greenwald quote:

    "In the U.S., you can advocate torture, illegal spying, and completely optional though murderous wars and be appointed to the highest positions. But you can't, apparently, criticize Israeli actions too much or question whether America's blind support for Israel should be re-examined"

    He adds: "Yes: John Yoo, Doug Feith, David Addington: mainstream. Chas Freeman: crackpot."

    And the beat goes on.

  2. I repeat: Good riddance to Freeman. The fact that his withdrawal upsets slime like Greenwald is even more of an indication that he was a terrible choice. Fortunately there was bipartisan opposition to his nomination. Since he withdrew before the vetting, that might also indicate that he didn't want his financial ties exposed.

    Incidentally, I wonder what kind of wars aren't "murderous"? And our support of Israel has been far from "blind." It's been way too weak in my opinion. We've persisted in trying to play both sides throughout every administration. In case you missed it, we are even now going to hand 900 billion in taxpayer money to the Palestinians.

  3. Perhaps completely optional though murderous refers to a war of choice in which many people die --- as opposed to one of necessity or one in which not as many people die needlessly.

    There's no way more than the vaunted stimulus package is being spent in a dump like Gaza, so it must be 900 million.

    I'm hardly a fan of foreign aid, but it's at least more palatable than foreign wars. I'm far less troubled by a billion to Palestine than any one of the hundreds of billions spent in Iraq.

  4. Yes sorry, 900 million.

    "war of choice."

    Another ridiculous phrase. Unless a country is invaded and literally forced to fight, all wars are wars of choice. Saying preemptive or preventative war would actually mean something.

    "I'm far less troubled by a billion to Palestine than any one of the hundreds of billions spent in Iraq."

    Entirely different situations.