Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Hill was a loyal diplomat for Bush, but because he worked on North Korea, the Republicans want his head. It's the same kind of McCarthyism directed at the State Department that destroyed career diplomat Chas Freeman's nomination to head of the CIA's NIC. Republicans are just not happy unless their killing children, or getting the Israelis to do it for them. I thought John McCain was supposed to be some kind of moderate. I don't think so. He must be extremely bitter about his loss in the Presidential election and has just decided to destroy America, since it didn't vote for him.
By calling for his ouster or even by screaming criticism at him, Republicans are trying to get rid of or immobilize the captain of a ship while it is caught in a hurricane. Even it he's not the best captain, he understands the situation, and he's all we've got. We're in a situation where we don't even have a first mate. Calling for Geithner's ouster is tantamount to calling for the destruction of the American economy. It's grossly irresponsible.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
The other problem is pay. Government salaries are peanuts to the elites who should be government leaders. This just shows how out of whack the class and pay system is in the US. Almost all the nominees have to make enormous financial sacrifices to take jobs that would pay well for the great mass of Americans. Decent men would be willing to serve their country, but today, while greed is endemic, men who hold high positions in private life are unwilling to enter public service.
Walt’s Foreign Policy comment makes all the important points. For me the most important is the dire implication for intellectual honesty in intelligence analysis. All analysis affecting Israel is guaranteed to be characterized by self-censorship and political correctness. As Walt points out, it indicates that Israel’s supporters do not believe that Israel’s relationship with the US can survive honest scrutiny.
I thought the New York Times report of Freeman's withdrawal was pretty straightforward, although it managed to have a tone that said, "We love Israel," even if it didn't say it in so many words. After all, the Jewish-owned, usually intellectually honest NYT doesn't want to suffer the same fate at the hands of the Israel lobby that Freeman and the CIA did.
To all who supported me or gave me words of encouragement during the controversy of the past two weeks, you have my gratitude and respect.
You will by now have seen the statement by Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair reporting that I have withdrawn my previous acceptance of his invitation to chair the National Intelligence Council.
I have concluded that the barrage of libelous distortions of my record would not cease upon my entry into office. The effort to smear me and to destroy my credibility would instead continue. I do not believe the National Intelligence Council could function effectively while its chair was under constant attack by unscrupulous people with a passionate attachment to the views of a political faction in a foreign country. I agreed to chair the NIC to strengthen it and protect it against politicization, not to introduce it to efforts by a special interest group to assert control over it through a protracted political campaign.
As those who know me are well aware, I have greatly enjoyed life since retiring from government. Nothing was further from my mind than a return to public service. When Admiral Blair asked me to chair the NIC I responded that I understood he was “asking me to give my freedom of speech, my leisure, the greater part of my income, subject myself to the mental colonoscopy of a polygraph, and resume a daily commute to a job with long working hours and a daily ration of political abuse.” I added that I wondered “whether there wasn’t some sort of downside to this offer.” I was mindful that no one is indispensable; I am not an exception. It took weeks of reflection for me to conclude that, given the unprecedentedly challenging circumstances in which our country now finds itself abroad and at home, I had no choice but accept the call to return to public service. I thereupon resigned from all positions that I had held and all activities in which I was engaged. I now look forward to returning to private life, freed of all previous obligations.
I am not so immodest as to believe that this controversy was about me rather than issues of public policy. These issues had little to do with the NIC and were not at the heart of what I hoped to contribute to the quality of analysis available to President Obama and his administration. Still, I am saddened by what the controversy and the manner in which the public vitriol of those who devoted themselves to sustaining it have revealed about the state of our civil society. It is apparent that we Americans cannot any longer conduct a serious public discussion or exercise independent judgment about matters of great importance to our country as well as to our allies and friends.
The libels on me and their easily traceable email trails show conclusively that there is a powerful lobby determined to prevent any view other than its own from being aired, still less to factor in American understanding of trends and events in the Middle East. The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth. The aim of this Lobby is control of the policy process through the exercise of a veto over the appointment of people who dispute the wisdom of its views, the substitution of political correctness for analysis, and the exclusion of any and all options for decision by Americans and our government other than those that it favors.
There is a special irony in having been accused of improper regard for the opinions of foreign governments and societies by a group so clearly intent on enforcing adherence to the policies of a foreign government – in this case, the government of Israel. I believe that the inability of the American public to discuss, or the government to consider, any option for US policies in the Middle East opposed by the ruling faction in Israeli politics has allowed that faction to adopt and sustain policies that ultimately threaten the existence of the state of Israel. It is not permitted for anyone in the United States to say so. This is not just a tragedy for Israelis and their neighbors in the Middle East; it is doing widening damage to the national security of the United States.
The outrageous agitation that followed the leak of my pending appointment will be seen by many to raise serious questions about whether the Obama administration will be able to make its own decisions about the Middle East and related issues. I regret that my willingness to serve the new administration has ended by casting doubt on its ability to consider, let alone decide what policies might best serve the interests of the United States rather than those of a Lobby intent on enforcing the will and interests of a foreign government.
In the court of public opinion, unlike a court of law, one is guilty until proven innocent. The speeches from which quotations have been lifted from their context are available for anyone interested in the truth to read. The injustice of the accusations made against me has been obvious to those with open minds. Those who have sought to impugn my character are uninterested in any rebuttal that I or anyone else might make.
Still, for the record: I have never sought to be paid or accepted payment from any foreign government, including Saudi Arabia or China, for any service, nor have I ever spoken on behalf of a foreign government, its interests, or its policies. I have never lobbied any branch of our government for any cause, foreign or domestic. I am my own man, no one else’s, and with my return to private life, I will once again – to my pleasure – serve no master other than myself. I will continue to speak out as I choose on issues of concern to me and other Americans.
I retain my respect and confidence in President Obama and DNI Blair. Our country now faces terrible challenges abroad as well as at home. Like all patriotic Americans, I continue to pray that our president can successfully lead us in surmounting them.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Who knows why the market goes up or down. They claim it went up this week because big banks, starting with Citi, announced that they were making a profit so far this year. But what about all those toxic assets? They are still out there. Plus, as Jay Leno or somebody said, “Wow, we gave CitiBank $40 billion, and they made $8 billion profit.”
Plus, what’s going on in the rest of the world? If something goes wrong in some unexpected place, it may well affect the US market. On Fareed Zakaria, Niall Ferguson warned that the next problem might be the disintegration of Ukraine and some other eastern European countries that will allow Russia to reclaim some of its “near abroad.” Meanwhile, today China expressed concern about its investment in the US. To some extent we and China are tied together in a form of Mutually Assured Destruction because of the enormous amount we owe China. China can’t sell off its holdings without driving down prices and hurting itself, but it is certainly in a position to wreak havoc if it wants to.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
The following is more or less the text of an email I sent to my Colorado senators and my congressman:
The WSJ also earlier printed a letter from several ambassadors, one of whom I worked with, Amb. Tom Pickering. They supported the choice of Amb. Freeman.
I have just heard on CNN that Chas Freeman has withdrawn his name to be head of the CIA National Intelligence Council.
I served with Amb. Freeman at the US Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, before I retired from the Foreign Service. I believe that he is a good man. I think it is terrible that he has been so viciously attacked by Jewish interests because he served as US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and might be somewhat evenhanded in his consideration of the Arab-Jewish/Israel-Palestine-Iran-Syria-Egypt-Iraq-Jordan... issue. In essence, he was damned by the United States of America because he was not a Jew.
This is not why I fought in the Army in Vietnam or why I served almost 25 years as a Foreign Service officer. This was a witch hunt, just like the ones carried out by Sen. Joe McCarthy years ago. I am outraged!