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Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Obama administration's director of National Intelligence?

I am sure that all of you remember the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran that was issued two years ago that took the military option out of the hands of President Bush. National Intelligence Estimates are produced by an organization called the National Intelligence Council. I'd like to introduce you to a man who has been nominated to head the National Intelligence Council by the Obama administration. His name is Chas Freeman.

Let's go to the videotape.

In case any of you had trouble hearing what he was saying, there's a full transcript here. But here is some of it for you in print:
Many see Hamas as a pure villain. It has been branded by Israel, the United States, and some others as a terrorist organization rather than a legitimate movement for Palestinian independence or resistance against occupation. It is widely seen as extremist, and yet on many instances it has shown principled and disciplined restraint.

This is an organization which is Islamist, Sunni Salafi in orientation. Is it morally absolutist or is it, as it claims, a democratic party which is prepared to accept electorally determined alternation in office? It, of course, won the Palestinian elections rather decisively and remains very popular, but it is seen in neighboring countries, autocracies like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as a major threat in that it appears to unite Islamism and democracy. It does not accept Israel's right to exist, but it does accept that Israel does exist and repeatedly states that it is willing to deal with Israel.

Is Hamas, the elected government of the Palestinians, a victim? It has been assiduously isolated and sought to be overthrown by Israel and the United States. It has, oddly, as a Sunni Islamist movement, been driven into the arms of Iran, having nowhere else to go. It is now the subject of a siege in Gaza, with many implying that the siege will soon blossom into a full-scale war. In any event, Hamas' ascendancy as an elected government in Gaza has been accompanied by new extremes in suffering for the Palestinian people.

Is Hamas the missing ingredient in peace? Can a peace process that excludes the elected majority government of Palestine work, or is it dead on arrival? If Hamas is not included somehow in whatever peace may eventuate, will it not have the capacity to wreck that peace? By what right do those who are not elected claim to speak for and negotiate on behalf of Palestinians?

These are not easy questions, and they are all at play. Former President Jimmy Carter is preparing to go to Damascus next week to meet with the exiled leader of Hamas, Khaled Mash'al, who may in fact have quite different views than some of the Hamas people within Palestine. There was a theory that the two parts of the movement are not in sync and that they may be pursuing different agendas. This raises, finally, the question of the role of Hamas more broadly in the very large Palestinian diaspora, whose acquiescence in any peace must also be obtained if it is to be secured.
Freeman was speaking at the opening of a conference entitled "Hamas: Villain, Victim, or Missing Ingredient?" The conference was sponsored by an organization called the Council of National Interest, which is run by former Congressman Paul Findlay of Illinois (Obama's home-state). Yes, Findlay was notoriously anti-Israel when he was a congressman - I can remember contributing money to defeat him. Others present at the conference included Ali Abunimah and John Mearsheimer (if those names don't ring a bell, follow the links).

The American Thinker has more on Obama's nominee to head the National Intelligence Council and what the National Intelligence Council does:
Now he may very well become head of the National Intelligence Council which is charged with the task of formulating the National Intelligence Estimates (NIE)-reports that are crucial in the formulation and carrying out of American policy. The importance of this position cannot be overestimated. Freeman will control a board that synthesizes the views of 16 different intelligence agencies in the US government and drafts a report that has the potential to become accepted wisdom and can be guides to future policy.

The consequences can be huge. Two years ago an NIE was issued that absolved Iran of the allegation that it was pursuing nuclear weapons. The movement towards sanctions was stalled because of this report. Later, the drafters - including the head of the Council -were accused of letting their political views influence the drafting of the report.

That particular NIE was later all but denounced by the Administration but by then it was too late. The damage was done.
Read the whole thing.

I hope all the morons who went to Florida on Columbus Day weekend to convince their grandparents to vote for Obama are proud of themselves now. I'm sure they're all pro-Hamas anyway.


Here's more on Chas Freeman:
Typical of Freeman's viewpoints is a statement he made in a speech before the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs in 2007, in which he more or less blames international terrorist acts on Israel. "American identification with Israeli policy has also become total. Those in the region and beyond it who detest Israeli behavior, which is to say almost everyone, now naturally extend their loathing to Americans. This has had the effect of universalizing anti-Americanism, legitimizing radical Islamism, and gaining Iran a foothold among Sunni as well as Shiite Arabs. For its part, Israel no longer even pretends to seek peace with the Palestinians; it strives instead to pacify them. Palestinian retaliation against this policy is as likely to be directed against Israel’s American backers as against Israel itself. Under the circumstances, such retaliation – whatever form it takes – will have the support or at least the sympathy of most people in the region and many outside it. This makes the long-term escalation of terrorism against the United States a certainty, not a matter of conjecture."

Freeman also is a strong advocate of talking to Hamas, which he calls "is the only democratically elected government in the Arab world." In his speech, Freeman said that "Hamas is showing that if we offer it nothing but unreasoning hostility and condemnation, it will only stiffen its position and seek allies among our enemies. In both cases, we forfeit our influence for no gain." Israel must be pressured to accept the American point of view, which does not coincide with Israel's. "We must talk with all parties, whatever we think of them or their means of struggle. Refusal to reason with those whose actions threaten injury to oneself, one's friends, and one's interests is foolish, feckless, and self-defeating. That is why we it is past time for an active and honest discussion with both Israel and the government Palestinians have elected, which – in an irony that escapes few abroad – is the only democratically elected government in the Arab world."
And then there's this one.
"We destroyed the Iraqi state and catalyzed anarchy, sectarian violence, terrorism, and civil war in that country.

"Meanwhile, we embraced Israel’s enemies as our own; they responded by equating Americans with Israelis as their enemies. We abandoned the role of Middle East peacemaker to back Israel’s efforts to pacify its captive and increasingly ghettoized Arab populations. We wring our hands while sitting on them as the Jewish state continues to seize ever more Arab land for its colonists. This has convinced most Palestinians that Israel cannot be appeased and is persuading increasing numbers of them that a two-state solution is infeasible. It threatens Israelis with an unwelcome choice between a democratic society and a Jewish identity for their state. Now the United States has brought the Palestinian experience – of humiliation, dislocation, and death – to millions more in Afghanistan and Iraq. Israel and the United States each have our reasons for what we are doing, but no amount of public diplomacy can persuade the victims of our policies that their suffering is justified, or spin away their anger, or assuage their desire for reprisal and revenge.”
This guy makes Jimmy Carter look moderate.


At 3:32 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

An anti-Israel activist poised to become America's Director Of National Intelligence... just connect the dots!

At 8:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With Obama positioning America to lean heavily on Israel I'm glad to see we will end up with a Right-wing govt.

Not sure Bibi will have the balls to stand up to Obama though...

At 9:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chicken Little was correct after all.

At 5:56 PM, Blogger ZH#2 said...

Lovely, falls in line with US ending the boycott and attending the Durbin II conference


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