Washington Babylon — March 12, 2009, 12:03 pm

The Freeman “Purge Trial”

From Jacob Heilbrunn in National Interest:

Only now does Charles Freeman become truly interesting. Freeman, who has withdrawn from being named chairman of the National Intelligence Council, triggered an intense dispute over his suitability for the post. On the one side are neoconservatives and liberal hawks. On the other side are realists and chastened hawks, such as Andrew Sullivan, who has deemed the campaign waged against Freeman “repulsive.”

Of course Sullivan is right. By this point, it’s difficult not to be repelled by many of the tactics used to tar Freeman as a Saudi mole or a China stooge or anti-Israel, or all three at one and the same time…

There were legitimate reasons to question Freeman’s appointment, most notably his stance on China. But his statements about Israel hardly reached the level of animus that, for example, the National Review detected, deeming him a “savage critic of Israel.” This was absurd. But conducting an open, fair interrogation of his views was clearly not the aim of his critics. Instead, the affair has had the whiff of a purge trial, in which the hanging judges had decided his fate from the outset.

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