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An editorial in today’s Washington Post says that Charles W. Freeman Jr. “looked like a poor choice to chair the Obama administration’s National Intelligence Council” and criticized Freeman for suggesting that the Israeli Lobby had jettisoned his appointment, calling that a “crackpot theory.”
If there was a campaign against Freeman, “its leaders didn’t bother to contact the Post editorial board,” said the editorial. But with Fred Hiatt in charge of the Post‘s reflexively pro-Israel editorial page, why would they have bothered? That would be like the Obama administration lobbying Daily Kos to support its legislative program, or the GOP to demand ideological fealty from the Weekly Standard. It’s less time consuming to just sit back and wait for the party line to emerge on its own.
Whatever you think of Freeman, it’s impossible to imagine that his appointment would have been shot down if not for his views on Israel. “Mr. Freeman’s most formidable critic — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — was incensed by his position on dissent in China.,” writes the Post. Right. When’s the last-time that a political nominee was shot down because of their ties or sympathies to the Chinese government? Such a standard would eliminate from consideration virtually the entire foreign policy establishment.
Note: New York Times endorses crackpot theory: “Charles W. Freeman Jr., a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, withdrew his name from consideration after a campaign by pro-Israel lobbyists.”
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”