Commentary Magazine


Posts For: March 11, 2009

Allow Me to Twirl My Evil Moustache (or Payess, If You Know What I Mean)

It is astonishing, the unyielding power of the neoconservatives. Joe Klein of Time magazine, the same Joe Klein who believes the chief threat relating to Iran is evil neoconservative pressure to attack, has decided that The Enemy was the bagger of the scalp of Chas Freeman:

Chas Freeman has withdrawn his name from consideration as the chairman of the National Intelligence Council….The guy goes out with guns blazing–a bit too hot, for my taste. He pins his departure on “the Israel Lobby,” which is imprecise. He was the victim of a mob, not a lobby. The mob was composed primarily of Jewish neoconservatives–abetted by less than courageous public servants like Senator Chuck Schumer, who has publicly taken credit for the hit….The thugs have taken out Chas Freeman. They will not rest. Their real target is you, Mr. President.

As I say, truly astounding. Barack Obama, the anti-neocon, wins 66 million votes and 53 percent. Members of his party control the House of Representatives by a 50 vote margin and are nearly filibuster-proof in the Senate. And still a small cabal of people who — get this! — have the nerve to write articles and blog items quoting the words of the man appointed to head the National Intelligence Council on matters as various as the wonders of the Saudis, the glories of the suppressors of Tienanmen, and the responsibility of the United States for 9/11! See us work our kabbalistic Yiddische magic on the hapless liberals who only think they are in control in Washington! Truly, our power is awesome to behold! Klein acts brave, but we know he quivers before us! If only he knew what we have next up our sleeve. Why, we might even sponsor a…CONFERENCE!

It is astonishing, the unyielding power of the neoconservatives. Joe Klein of Time magazine, the same Joe Klein who believes the chief threat relating to Iran is evil neoconservative pressure to attack, has decided that The Enemy was the bagger of the scalp of Chas Freeman:

Chas Freeman has withdrawn his name from consideration as the chairman of the National Intelligence Council….The guy goes out with guns blazing–a bit too hot, for my taste. He pins his departure on “the Israel Lobby,” which is imprecise. He was the victim of a mob, not a lobby. The mob was composed primarily of Jewish neoconservatives–abetted by less than courageous public servants like Senator Chuck Schumer, who has publicly taken credit for the hit….The thugs have taken out Chas Freeman. They will not rest. Their real target is you, Mr. President.

As I say, truly astounding. Barack Obama, the anti-neocon, wins 66 million votes and 53 percent. Members of his party control the House of Representatives by a 50 vote margin and are nearly filibuster-proof in the Senate. And still a small cabal of people who — get this! — have the nerve to write articles and blog items quoting the words of the man appointed to head the National Intelligence Council on matters as various as the wonders of the Saudis, the glories of the suppressors of Tienanmen, and the responsibility of the United States for 9/11! See us work our kabbalistic Yiddische magic on the hapless liberals who only think they are in control in Washington! Truly, our power is awesome to behold! Klein acts brave, but we know he quivers before us! If only he knew what we have next up our sleeve. Why, we might even sponsor a…CONFERENCE!

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Who’s Beating the MSM?

There is much complaining about the decline of the mainstream newspapers. And I too am saddened to see that many cities have no decent paper. (The complaint used to be that they had only one.) But it is not as if we don’t have good reporting going on. Even with the death of some newspapers and the downsizing of others, journalism will not be lost.

Take the Washington Times: Many have and still denigrate it. But as I and others have pointed out, it was the Times, and Eli Lake specifically, who ferreted out the facts on the Chas Freeman story while the Washington Post was twiddling its collective thumbs. Which journalistic approach was better in this case?

The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein routinely covers stories that in no way support the bias of his publication, whether on Republican complaints about Obama’s lack of bipartisanship or about card check. And unlike the New York Times’s irritating penchant for blind quotes or passive voice, which blur facts with reporters’ points of view, Stein’s stories are actually sourced. (What a concept!)

So the notion that publications with an honestly stated ideological preference can’t or don’t report is nonsense. They are slowly taking over the field vacated by MSM publications that don’t report and don’t admit their biases. So if the latter go out of business, will we really be the worse for it? I am coming around to the view that we’ll all do just fine.

There is much complaining about the decline of the mainstream newspapers. And I too am saddened to see that many cities have no decent paper. (The complaint used to be that they had only one.) But it is not as if we don’t have good reporting going on. Even with the death of some newspapers and the downsizing of others, journalism will not be lost.

Take the Washington Times: Many have and still denigrate it. But as I and others have pointed out, it was the Times, and Eli Lake specifically, who ferreted out the facts on the Chas Freeman story while the Washington Post was twiddling its collective thumbs. Which journalistic approach was better in this case?

The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein routinely covers stories that in no way support the bias of his publication, whether on Republican complaints about Obama’s lack of bipartisanship or about card check. And unlike the New York Times’s irritating penchant for blind quotes or passive voice, which blur facts with reporters’ points of view, Stein’s stories are actually sourced. (What a concept!)

So the notion that publications with an honestly stated ideological preference can’t or don’t report is nonsense. They are slowly taking over the field vacated by MSM publications that don’t report and don’t admit their biases. So if the latter go out of business, will we really be the worse for it? I am coming around to the view that we’ll all do just fine.

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Commentary of the Day

ian, on Abe Greenwald:

Terms like “Israel Lobby” are designed to stigmatize disagreement in McCarthyite fashion. “Mere words” having meaning and significance. By injecting a term like Lobby into debate, it is a direct effort to repress debate, to smear and intimidate those who disagree with the propounders of the anti-Israel view as disloyal and conspiratorial for the mere act of disagreeing. The Orwellian aspect of this pattern is that those who employ this term or terms like “neo-con” or “Likudnik” always try to represent themselves as heroically standing up for freedom of expression against alleged powerful interests. However the opposite is clearly true, and the ultimate target of this rhetorical gambit is freedom of expression itself. Time after time the critics of the “Lobby” argument point to how vaguely and amorphously the term is employed. Yet what is in one sense a logical defect is also a deliberate intention; by casting the net of stigmatization wide enough to encompass anyone in public life that does not share the anti-Israel view, this allows the motives of anyone making a seeming pro-Israel expression to be maligned. It is ultimately a sad effort to delegitimize dissent. Strange then how so many supposed defenders of free expression in the media and on the internet find the idea of stigmatizing oppositon so seductive so as to either endorse it outright or to maintain a studied ignorance while glibly referring to criticism by mere “supporters of Israel”.

ian, on Abe Greenwald:

Terms like “Israel Lobby” are designed to stigmatize disagreement in McCarthyite fashion. “Mere words” having meaning and significance. By injecting a term like Lobby into debate, it is a direct effort to repress debate, to smear and intimidate those who disagree with the propounders of the anti-Israel view as disloyal and conspiratorial for the mere act of disagreeing. The Orwellian aspect of this pattern is that those who employ this term or terms like “neo-con” or “Likudnik” always try to represent themselves as heroically standing up for freedom of expression against alleged powerful interests. However the opposite is clearly true, and the ultimate target of this rhetorical gambit is freedom of expression itself. Time after time the critics of the “Lobby” argument point to how vaguely and amorphously the term is employed. Yet what is in one sense a logical defect is also a deliberate intention; by casting the net of stigmatization wide enough to encompass anyone in public life that does not share the anti-Israel view, this allows the motives of anyone making a seeming pro-Israel expression to be maligned. It is ultimately a sad effort to delegitimize dissent. Strange then how so many supposed defenders of free expression in the media and on the internet find the idea of stigmatizing oppositon so seductive so as to either endorse it outright or to maintain a studied ignorance while glibly referring to criticism by mere “supporters of Israel”.

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Why the Cover Up Matters

The mainstream media, with the exception of ABC’s Jake Tapper, utterly ignored the Chas Freeman story. A large number of mainstream outlets simply wouldn’t report on it at all. In doing so they not only missed a significant event — made more significant by Freeman’s self-revelation as a ranting paranoid — but they missed a key insight into the administration’s current travails.  Yet, the New York Times  editor says they were just too busy with other things. (Even to cover a story about a top intelligence post in which its home senator claims to have played a key role?)

One of the better stories placing the issue in context comes from the Wall Street Journal. The reporter first lays out the facts — quoting the bizarre farewell missive, describing Admiral Dennis Blair’s defense earlier in the day, and explaining the subject areas which concerned his critics. And why is this important? The reporter explains:

The abrupt turnabout recalled other missteps early in the Obama administration, which has seen several nominees for top posts withdraw under pressure. Most of the other cases involved tax problems and personal financial issues, while the Freeman case centered on ideology. The White House declined to comment on Mr. Freeman’s withdrawal.

Ah, there might be a pattern — of compounding incidents involving problematic appointees and incompetent vetting processes. Specifically, we see the emergence of ongoing rifts within the national security apparatus of the administration:

Intelligence appointments have proved politically precarious for President Barack Obama, who is looking to improve the relationship between intelligence agencies and Capitol Hill. His initial choice for Central Intelligence Agency director pulled out before he was formally named, under pressure from liberals concerned about the official’s service in the George W. Bush administration. Mr. Obama’s next choice for CIA director, Leon Panetta, ran into initial resistance on Capitol Hill, because Congress wasn’t consulted, but he was ultimately confirmed by the Senate.

You see, the mainstream media did not simply miss a story. They missed a very important one, which provided insight into the administration’s recurring problems. By not providing coverage for this story – or by obfuscating key details as Walter Pincus did — they are misleading the public and conveying a false portrait of the administration. This is simply inexcusable.

The mainstream media, with the exception of ABC’s Jake Tapper, utterly ignored the Chas Freeman story. A large number of mainstream outlets simply wouldn’t report on it at all. In doing so they not only missed a significant event — made more significant by Freeman’s self-revelation as a ranting paranoid — but they missed a key insight into the administration’s current travails.  Yet, the New York Times  editor says they were just too busy with other things. (Even to cover a story about a top intelligence post in which its home senator claims to have played a key role?)

One of the better stories placing the issue in context comes from the Wall Street Journal. The reporter first lays out the facts — quoting the bizarre farewell missive, describing Admiral Dennis Blair’s defense earlier in the day, and explaining the subject areas which concerned his critics. And why is this important? The reporter explains:

The abrupt turnabout recalled other missteps early in the Obama administration, which has seen several nominees for top posts withdraw under pressure. Most of the other cases involved tax problems and personal financial issues, while the Freeman case centered on ideology. The White House declined to comment on Mr. Freeman’s withdrawal.

Ah, there might be a pattern — of compounding incidents involving problematic appointees and incompetent vetting processes. Specifically, we see the emergence of ongoing rifts within the national security apparatus of the administration:

Intelligence appointments have proved politically precarious for President Barack Obama, who is looking to improve the relationship between intelligence agencies and Capitol Hill. His initial choice for Central Intelligence Agency director pulled out before he was formally named, under pressure from liberals concerned about the official’s service in the George W. Bush administration. Mr. Obama’s next choice for CIA director, Leon Panetta, ran into initial resistance on Capitol Hill, because Congress wasn’t consulted, but he was ultimately confirmed by the Senate.

You see, the mainstream media did not simply miss a story. They missed a very important one, which provided insight into the administration’s recurring problems. By not providing coverage for this story – or by obfuscating key details as Walter Pincus did — they are misleading the public and conveying a false portrait of the administration. This is simply inexcusable.

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Is this the Man You Want Atop the Intelligence Community?

Newsweek’s revealing story of the Chas Freeman episode makes clear just how peculiarly Admiral Dennis Blair behaved throughout:

The resignation of Freeman represents another serious “vetting” embarrassment for the White House and a personal blow to Dennis Blair, President Obama’s national intelligence director. After choosing Freeman to head the National Intelligence Council, Blair had publicly defended his choice and insisted as recently as this week that he had no intention of withdrawing the selection. On Monday, Freeman himself was telling people on Capitol Hill that the more criticism was heaped on him, the more intent he was on fighting to stay at the intelligence council.

So to review: Blair doesn’t vet a key intelligence pick. When criticism arises, instead of investigating those criticisms, he doubles down and publicly defends Freeman. The blunder escalated as Blair ignored the firestorm:

As Blair’s pick to chair the National Intelligence Council, Freeman was in line to serve as the country’s de facto top intelligence analyst. The NIC serves as a “center of strategic thinking within the U.S government,” according to its Web site. It reviews and evaluates intelligence analysis produced by all U.S. intelligence agencies and produces reports both for Blair and the White House. . . But the selection quickly attracted noisy criticism from Obama administration critics, starting with conservative pro-Israel activists who questioned Freeman’s public criticism of Washington’s support for Israeli policies. But the controversy over Freeman mushroomed over the last two weeks with Blair’s office receiving letters questioning the appointment not only from members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees but also from congressional appropriations and oversight committees.

Yet Blair blindly persisted:

Despite this growing chorus of criticism, Blair had refused to back down and offered an aggressive endorsement of Freeman.

Offering up defenses of Freeman both in writing and at the Senate Armed Services Committee, Blair gave no sign of truly understanding the depth and breadth of the concerns. In the end Blair came out looking foolish and belligerent.

Recently, our intelligence agencies have been criticized for being impervious to facts, blinded by political bias, and unwilling to look at information contradicting previously held conventional wisdom. Obama came into office promising to end all that. So one really has to ask: Is Blair the right man for this job?

Newsweek’s revealing story of the Chas Freeman episode makes clear just how peculiarly Admiral Dennis Blair behaved throughout:

The resignation of Freeman represents another serious “vetting” embarrassment for the White House and a personal blow to Dennis Blair, President Obama’s national intelligence director. After choosing Freeman to head the National Intelligence Council, Blair had publicly defended his choice and insisted as recently as this week that he had no intention of withdrawing the selection. On Monday, Freeman himself was telling people on Capitol Hill that the more criticism was heaped on him, the more intent he was on fighting to stay at the intelligence council.

So to review: Blair doesn’t vet a key intelligence pick. When criticism arises, instead of investigating those criticisms, he doubles down and publicly defends Freeman. The blunder escalated as Blair ignored the firestorm:

As Blair’s pick to chair the National Intelligence Council, Freeman was in line to serve as the country’s de facto top intelligence analyst. The NIC serves as a “center of strategic thinking within the U.S government,” according to its Web site. It reviews and evaluates intelligence analysis produced by all U.S. intelligence agencies and produces reports both for Blair and the White House. . . But the selection quickly attracted noisy criticism from Obama administration critics, starting with conservative pro-Israel activists who questioned Freeman’s public criticism of Washington’s support for Israeli policies. But the controversy over Freeman mushroomed over the last two weeks with Blair’s office receiving letters questioning the appointment not only from members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees but also from congressional appropriations and oversight committees.

Yet Blair blindly persisted:

Despite this growing chorus of criticism, Blair had refused to back down and offered an aggressive endorsement of Freeman.

Offering up defenses of Freeman both in writing and at the Senate Armed Services Committee, Blair gave no sign of truly understanding the depth and breadth of the concerns. In the end Blair came out looking foolish and belligerent.

Recently, our intelligence agencies have been criticized for being impervious to facts, blinded by political bias, and unwilling to look at information contradicting previously held conventional wisdom. Obama came into office promising to end all that. So one really has to ask: Is Blair the right man for this job?

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Bipartisanship Watch

James Carville was one of the key figures responsible for the White House attack on Rush Limbaugh. After Limbaugh said that he hoped Barack Obama “fails,” Carville was giddy with the sense of political opportunity:

“It’s great for us, great for him, great for the press,” Carville told the Politico, describing the White House and Limbaugh. “The only people he’s not good for are the actual Republicans in Congress.”

Who’s this good for?

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, just minutes before learning of the terrorist attacks on America, Democratic strategist James Carville was hoping for President Bush to fail, telling a group of Washington reporters: “I certainly hope he doesn’t succeed.”

James Carville was one of the key figures responsible for the White House attack on Rush Limbaugh. After Limbaugh said that he hoped Barack Obama “fails,” Carville was giddy with the sense of political opportunity:

“It’s great for us, great for him, great for the press,” Carville told the Politico, describing the White House and Limbaugh. “The only people he’s not good for are the actual Republicans in Congress.”

Who’s this good for?

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, just minutes before learning of the terrorist attacks on America, Democratic strategist James Carville was hoping for President Bush to fail, telling a group of Washington reporters: “I certainly hope he doesn’t succeed.”

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Re: What’s a “Supporter of Israel?”

Abe, this sort of casual acceptance of the premise, if not the name, behind the “Israel Lobby” canard raises two issues:

First, it is indicative of lazy and/or biased reporting. Polticio assumes that Chas Freeman was sunk because of his views on Israel. Why? Well, not based on any factual reporting — just the implicit assumption that where there are Jews there is Israel lobbying going on. In fact, Newsweek, in a remarkable bit of actual reporting tells a different story of his undoing:

But Pelosi’s objections reportedly focused on Freeman’s ties to China. A well-placed Democratic source said Pelosi, a strong supporter of the Chinese human-rights movement, was incensed about public remarks that Freeman once made that seemed to justify the violent 1989 Chinese government crackdown on democracy protesters at Tiananmen Square. The source, who asked not to be identified, said Pelosi thought Freeman’s views were “indefensible” and complained directly to President Obama about his selection.

[.  . .]

Pelosi in particular was upset about public comments that seemed to belittle the Chinese human-rights movement—a cause she has championed for years. In 2005, for instance, Freeman was quoted as writing in a public e-mail about the Tiananmen Square massacre: “[T]he truly unforgivable mistake of the Chinese authorities was the failure to intervene on a timely basis to nip the demonstrations in the bud … In this optic, the Politburo’s response to the mob scene at ‘Tian’anmen’ stands as a monument to overly cautious behavior on the part of the leadership, not as an example of rash action.

“I do not believe it is acceptable for any country to allow the heart of its national capital to be occupied by dissidents intent on disrupting the normal functions of government, however appealing to foreigners their propaganda may be,” he added. “Such folk, whether they represent a veterans’ ‘Bonus Army’ or a ‘student uprising’ on behalf of ‘the goddess of democracy’ should expect to be displaced with despatch [sic] from the ground they occupy.”

Second, the effect, if not the intent, of the “supporter of Israel” line is to cast doubt on any position which Jews might offer, however unrelated to Israel. When Norm Coleman sets forth his views on Afghanistan — or the economy for that matter — do we dismiss them because it’s just his support of Israel talking? If Eric Cantor objects to the administration’s cavalier attitude toward Iran’s nuclear program should we ignore him too, because he’s just a supporter of Israel?  Preventing such insidious intervention into our political system, if you carry their argument to its logical conclusion, can be achieved only through Jews shutting up. And frankly, they must insist that not just Jews, but anyone who supports Israel, shut up because they can’t possibly be offering principled views unrelated to their opinions on Israel.

I think much good has come from the Freeman debacle, including the revival of left-leaning thinkers who see through this cant. But I share your pessimism that either by intent or through intellectual laziness the media is adopting the language and tone of Walt and Mearsheimer.

Abe, this sort of casual acceptance of the premise, if not the name, behind the “Israel Lobby” canard raises two issues:

First, it is indicative of lazy and/or biased reporting. Polticio assumes that Chas Freeman was sunk because of his views on Israel. Why? Well, not based on any factual reporting — just the implicit assumption that where there are Jews there is Israel lobbying going on. In fact, Newsweek, in a remarkable bit of actual reporting tells a different story of his undoing:

But Pelosi’s objections reportedly focused on Freeman’s ties to China. A well-placed Democratic source said Pelosi, a strong supporter of the Chinese human-rights movement, was incensed about public remarks that Freeman once made that seemed to justify the violent 1989 Chinese government crackdown on democracy protesters at Tiananmen Square. The source, who asked not to be identified, said Pelosi thought Freeman’s views were “indefensible” and complained directly to President Obama about his selection.

[.  . .]

Pelosi in particular was upset about public comments that seemed to belittle the Chinese human-rights movement—a cause she has championed for years. In 2005, for instance, Freeman was quoted as writing in a public e-mail about the Tiananmen Square massacre: “[T]he truly unforgivable mistake of the Chinese authorities was the failure to intervene on a timely basis to nip the demonstrations in the bud … In this optic, the Politburo’s response to the mob scene at ‘Tian’anmen’ stands as a monument to overly cautious behavior on the part of the leadership, not as an example of rash action.

“I do not believe it is acceptable for any country to allow the heart of its national capital to be occupied by dissidents intent on disrupting the normal functions of government, however appealing to foreigners their propaganda may be,” he added. “Such folk, whether they represent a veterans’ ‘Bonus Army’ or a ‘student uprising’ on behalf of ‘the goddess of democracy’ should expect to be displaced with despatch [sic] from the ground they occupy.”

Second, the effect, if not the intent, of the “supporter of Israel” line is to cast doubt on any position which Jews might offer, however unrelated to Israel. When Norm Coleman sets forth his views on Afghanistan — or the economy for that matter — do we dismiss them because it’s just his support of Israel talking? If Eric Cantor objects to the administration’s cavalier attitude toward Iran’s nuclear program should we ignore him too, because he’s just a supporter of Israel?  Preventing such insidious intervention into our political system, if you carry their argument to its logical conclusion, can be achieved only through Jews shutting up. And frankly, they must insist that not just Jews, but anyone who supports Israel, shut up because they can’t possibly be offering principled views unrelated to their opinions on Israel.

I think much good has come from the Freeman debacle, including the revival of left-leaning thinkers who see through this cant. But I share your pessimism that either by intent or through intellectual laziness the media is adopting the language and tone of Walt and Mearsheimer.

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A Rovian Plot?

So where do the proponents of card check go now? According to this story, the idea is simply to delay:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) acknowledged Tuesday that fierce resistance from Republicans and business groups could force him to delay action on controversial card check legislation sought by unions.  Reid told reporters Tuesday that work on the bill is progressing, but the measure, which would let workers join a union by signing union-issued cards instead of holding a vote by secret ballot, could be completed before the August recess only with Republican help.  ‘If Republicans will work with us just a little bit, we could get it done before the August recess,’ Reid said.  But Republican leaders and the business community have launched a major campaign to kill the legislation.  . . .But even as Reid was speaking before the television cameras, several conservative Democrats expressed concerns about moving forward with the legislation amid an all-out lobbying effort by the business community and in the teeth of the recession.

So now we’ve got hanging over Congress a noxious piece of legislation, which can’t get through, but does serve as a rallying cry for conservatives. We have a bill that 2009′s off-year candidates and next year’s congressional candidates can run on and that casts Republicans as defenders of core American principles and Democrats as favoring special interests over job creation. Whose idea was it to bring this up? Sounds like yet another nefarious trick from Karl Rove’s playbook.

So where do the proponents of card check go now? According to this story, the idea is simply to delay:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) acknowledged Tuesday that fierce resistance from Republicans and business groups could force him to delay action on controversial card check legislation sought by unions.  Reid told reporters Tuesday that work on the bill is progressing, but the measure, which would let workers join a union by signing union-issued cards instead of holding a vote by secret ballot, could be completed before the August recess only with Republican help.  ‘If Republicans will work with us just a little bit, we could get it done before the August recess,’ Reid said.  But Republican leaders and the business community have launched a major campaign to kill the legislation.  . . .But even as Reid was speaking before the television cameras, several conservative Democrats expressed concerns about moving forward with the legislation amid an all-out lobbying effort by the business community and in the teeth of the recession.

So now we’ve got hanging over Congress a noxious piece of legislation, which can’t get through, but does serve as a rallying cry for conservatives. We have a bill that 2009′s off-year candidates and next year’s congressional candidates can run on and that casts Republicans as defenders of core American principles and Democrats as favoring special interests over job creation. Whose idea was it to bring this up? Sounds like yet another nefarious trick from Karl Rove’s playbook.

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What’s a “Supporter of Israel”?

The most troubling effect of the Chas Freeman affair is that it has served to take the Israel lobby canard out of the more paranoid halls of academia and hateful online communities and insert it subtly into mainstream political discourse.

Today, Ben Smith writes of the Chas Freeman pick, “But the most heated opposition came from supporters of Israel . . .” Because we’ve been inured to the rantings of Freeman’s defenders in the government and the media, people now think a declaration like that actually means something.

What constitutes a “supporter of Israel”? I thought America, on the whole, was full of supporters of Israel. Are those who didn’t speak out against Freeman not supporters of Israel? As Jonathan Tobin pointed out in an earlier post, many self-proclaimed Zionists went on record to defend Freeman. Are the Chinese humanitarian groups who did speak out against Freeman automatically supporters of Israel? This is how linguistic code works its miserable way into the culture. Now, “supporters of Israel” has joined the list of terms, like “neo-con” and “cabal,” that are indiscriminately tossed about without definition or elucidation, because — wink-wink — we really know who we’re talking about.

This is not only worrisome for Jews, but for anyone who fights for human rights. People like Freeman rarely have just one unsavory connection. It’s not a coincidence that he supports Chinese oppression and the Saudi oligarchy (just as Jimmy Carter was partial to Yasser Arafat and Robert Mugabe). This time around a handful of big-time bloggers took a few days to weigh in on the “American Likudniks” who doomed Freeman. This gave outlets like the Politico license to write meaninglessly about “supporters of Israel.” See how fast this line of “criticism” kicks in from all quarters the next time, say, Joe Lieberman raises questions about someone’s record. With Chas Freeman’s nomination — aborted though it was — hate took a step forward.

The most troubling effect of the Chas Freeman affair is that it has served to take the Israel lobby canard out of the more paranoid halls of academia and hateful online communities and insert it subtly into mainstream political discourse.

Today, Ben Smith writes of the Chas Freeman pick, “But the most heated opposition came from supporters of Israel . . .” Because we’ve been inured to the rantings of Freeman’s defenders in the government and the media, people now think a declaration like that actually means something.

What constitutes a “supporter of Israel”? I thought America, on the whole, was full of supporters of Israel. Are those who didn’t speak out against Freeman not supporters of Israel? As Jonathan Tobin pointed out in an earlier post, many self-proclaimed Zionists went on record to defend Freeman. Are the Chinese humanitarian groups who did speak out against Freeman automatically supporters of Israel? This is how linguistic code works its miserable way into the culture. Now, “supporters of Israel” has joined the list of terms, like “neo-con” and “cabal,” that are indiscriminately tossed about without definition or elucidation, because — wink-wink — we really know who we’re talking about.

This is not only worrisome for Jews, but for anyone who fights for human rights. People like Freeman rarely have just one unsavory connection. It’s not a coincidence that he supports Chinese oppression and the Saudi oligarchy (just as Jimmy Carter was partial to Yasser Arafat and Robert Mugabe). This time around a handful of big-time bloggers took a few days to weigh in on the “American Likudniks” who doomed Freeman. This gave outlets like the Politico license to write meaninglessly about “supporters of Israel.” See how fast this line of “criticism” kicks in from all quarters the next time, say, Joe Lieberman raises questions about someone’s record. With Chas Freeman’s nomination — aborted though it was — hate took a step forward.

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Try Flying Coach, Madame

Powerful people are flying around the country in expensive private jets and threatening underlings? Well, a Congressional hearing is in order. Oh, wait. It is the Speaker of the House:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly requested military aircraft to shuttle her and her colleagues and family around the country, according to a new report from a conservative watchdog group. . . Judicial Watch said that Pelosi was notorious for making special demands for high-end aircraft, lodging last-minute cancellations and racking up additional expenses for the military.

The e-mails showed repeated attempts by Pelosi aides to request aircraft, sometimes aggressively, and by Department of Defense officials to accommodate them.

“I think that’s above and beyond what other members of Congress are doing and what is expected of our elected officials,” said Jenny Small, a researcher with the group.

In one e-mail, aide Kay King complained to the military that they had not made available any aircraft the House speaker wanted for Memorial Day recess.

“It is my understanding there are NO G5s available for the House during the Memorial Day recess. This is totally unacceptable … The Speaker will want to know where the planes are,” King wrote.

In another, when told a certain type of aircraft would not be available, King wrote: “This is not good news, and we will have some very disappointed folks, as well as a very upset Speaker.”

This is just one small example of the rank hypocrisy infesting most of what Congress does. Remember those hapless auto execs strung up in front of the congressional committee for taking private jets? Well, I bet those were a lot cheaper to fly than military aircraft. I know this suggestion would result in “a very upset Speaker,” but how about flying coach? The notion that she needs all this special service for “security” is absurd. Besides, I’m sure she’d benefit from the hours and hours spent each year encountering TSA.

Powerful people are flying around the country in expensive private jets and threatening underlings? Well, a Congressional hearing is in order. Oh, wait. It is the Speaker of the House:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly requested military aircraft to shuttle her and her colleagues and family around the country, according to a new report from a conservative watchdog group. . . Judicial Watch said that Pelosi was notorious for making special demands for high-end aircraft, lodging last-minute cancellations and racking up additional expenses for the military.

The e-mails showed repeated attempts by Pelosi aides to request aircraft, sometimes aggressively, and by Department of Defense officials to accommodate them.

“I think that’s above and beyond what other members of Congress are doing and what is expected of our elected officials,” said Jenny Small, a researcher with the group.

In one e-mail, aide Kay King complained to the military that they had not made available any aircraft the House speaker wanted for Memorial Day recess.

“It is my understanding there are NO G5s available for the House during the Memorial Day recess. This is totally unacceptable … The Speaker will want to know where the planes are,” King wrote.

In another, when told a certain type of aircraft would not be available, King wrote: “This is not good news, and we will have some very disappointed folks, as well as a very upset Speaker.”

This is just one small example of the rank hypocrisy infesting most of what Congress does. Remember those hapless auto execs strung up in front of the congressional committee for taking private jets? Well, I bet those were a lot cheaper to fly than military aircraft. I know this suggestion would result in “a very upset Speaker,” but how about flying coach? The notion that she needs all this special service for “security” is absurd. Besides, I’m sure she’d benefit from the hours and hours spent each year encountering TSA.

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Will Someone Ask Obama About Voucher Kids?

There are many disgraceful aspects to the $410 billion 0mnibus spending bill that is working its way to passage in Congress. But amid the many porky earmarks and boondoggles that are part of this travesty there is one provision worth singling out: the killing of the experimental school choice program that was giving 1,700 D.C. children a chance to get out of their failed public school system and attend a quality private or religious school. The Senate vote on Tuesday ensured that the program will be effectively killed after the 2009-10 fiscal year.

This was hardly a surprise, given that killing any plan that would give families vouchers to attend the school of their choice was a priority for the Democrats. President Obama has been a consistent opponent of school choice.

The arguments that choice would hurt public schools are a joke. Forcing failed public school systems to compete can only make them better. As for the loss of funds, Washington, D.C., like some other urban areas, already spends far more per student than other districts that give kids a better education. Other attempts to smear choice, such as claiming it will fund Farrakhan’s schools, are red herrings. State education standards about curricula can deal with that problem. The notion that such plans will undermine the separation of church and state is a canard. Public education means educating the public not slavishly supporting a government-run monopoly on education.Wherever voucher plans have been tried, the demand for them has been overwhelming as parents desperately try to give their children a better education than the one provided by the often terrible public schools in the area.

The hypocrisy of liberal Democrats, who claim to be acting on behalf of the poor and the underprivileged, spiking efforts that throw a lifeline to inner-city kids is appalling. But Obama’s hypocrisy is even more special. This happens to be a man who is sending his own two adorable children to a private school, not the awful D.C. public schools that he is trying to “protect” from voucher advocates. In fact, the Sidwell Friends School that his daughters attend has a number of recipients of the D.C. voucher plan. Though Obama says he wants the kids who are currently in the program not to be chucked out, he doesn’t want any voucher children to be there in the future. He wants to deny other kids whose parents are not as wealthy as Sasha and Malia’s parents the same chance for a decent education.

What does this say about the values of this man? Does Obama, and the many liberal religious groups (and I’m speaking specifically about liberal Jewish groups who have been in the forefront of opposition to school choice), not think that the inner-city minority children who benefit from vouchers are worthy of a chance for a decent future? Are they not created in the image of God, as are their own children? I know I’m not the first person to say this, but what I would like to see is a reporter put this question directly to President Obama at his next press conference.

And one more point about the Senate vote. Along with the majority of Democrats, Pennsylvania Republican Arlen Specter cast his vote to kill the voucher plan. This is one more reason for Pennsylvania voters to question whether Specter deserves their support next year.

There are many disgraceful aspects to the $410 billion 0mnibus spending bill that is working its way to passage in Congress. But amid the many porky earmarks and boondoggles that are part of this travesty there is one provision worth singling out: the killing of the experimental school choice program that was giving 1,700 D.C. children a chance to get out of their failed public school system and attend a quality private or religious school. The Senate vote on Tuesday ensured that the program will be effectively killed after the 2009-10 fiscal year.

This was hardly a surprise, given that killing any plan that would give families vouchers to attend the school of their choice was a priority for the Democrats. President Obama has been a consistent opponent of school choice.

The arguments that choice would hurt public schools are a joke. Forcing failed public school systems to compete can only make them better. As for the loss of funds, Washington, D.C., like some other urban areas, already spends far more per student than other districts that give kids a better education. Other attempts to smear choice, such as claiming it will fund Farrakhan’s schools, are red herrings. State education standards about curricula can deal with that problem. The notion that such plans will undermine the separation of church and state is a canard. Public education means educating the public not slavishly supporting a government-run monopoly on education.Wherever voucher plans have been tried, the demand for them has been overwhelming as parents desperately try to give their children a better education than the one provided by the often terrible public schools in the area.

The hypocrisy of liberal Democrats, who claim to be acting on behalf of the poor and the underprivileged, spiking efforts that throw a lifeline to inner-city kids is appalling. But Obama’s hypocrisy is even more special. This happens to be a man who is sending his own two adorable children to a private school, not the awful D.C. public schools that he is trying to “protect” from voucher advocates. In fact, the Sidwell Friends School that his daughters attend has a number of recipients of the D.C. voucher plan. Though Obama says he wants the kids who are currently in the program not to be chucked out, he doesn’t want any voucher children to be there in the future. He wants to deny other kids whose parents are not as wealthy as Sasha and Malia’s parents the same chance for a decent education.

What does this say about the values of this man? Does Obama, and the many liberal religious groups (and I’m speaking specifically about liberal Jewish groups who have been in the forefront of opposition to school choice), not think that the inner-city minority children who benefit from vouchers are worthy of a chance for a decent future? Are they not created in the image of God, as are their own children? I know I’m not the first person to say this, but what I would like to see is a reporter put this question directly to President Obama at his next press conference.

And one more point about the Senate vote. Along with the majority of Democrats, Pennsylvania Republican Arlen Specter cast his vote to kill the voucher plan. This is one more reason for Pennsylvania voters to question whether Specter deserves their support next year.

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The Buck Stops. . . with the Staff?

Camille Paglia goes after the Obama administration:

Heads should be rolling at the White House for the embarrassing series of flubs that have overshadowed President Obama’s first seven weeks in office and given the scattered, demoralized Republicans a huge boost toward regrouping and resurrection. (Michelle, please use those fabulous toned arms to butt some heads!)

First it was that chaotic pig rut of a stimulus package, which let House Democrats throw a thousand crazy kitchen sinks into what should have been a focused blueprint for economic recovery. Then it was the stunt of unnerving Wall Street by sending out a shrill duo of slick geeks (Timothy Geithner and Peter Orszag) as the administration’s weirdly adolescent spokesmen on economics. Who could ever have confidence in that sorry pair?

And then there was the fiasco of the ham-handed White House reception for British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, which was evidently lacking the most basic elements of ceremony and protocol. Don’t they read the “Iliad” anymore in the Ivy League? Check that out for the all-important ritual of gift giving, which has cemented alliances around the world for 5,000 years.

But her conclusion that “it’s the staff’s fault” misses the point. Isn’t Obama the President? Really, his mantra was about  accepting responsibility and acknowledging error, right? So this boils down to a colossal mismanagement by himhis failure to set priorities, and his vision that is antagonistic toward free markets. That’s not “the staff” — that’s Obama.

Camille Paglia goes after the Obama administration:

Heads should be rolling at the White House for the embarrassing series of flubs that have overshadowed President Obama’s first seven weeks in office and given the scattered, demoralized Republicans a huge boost toward regrouping and resurrection. (Michelle, please use those fabulous toned arms to butt some heads!)

First it was that chaotic pig rut of a stimulus package, which let House Democrats throw a thousand crazy kitchen sinks into what should have been a focused blueprint for economic recovery. Then it was the stunt of unnerving Wall Street by sending out a shrill duo of slick geeks (Timothy Geithner and Peter Orszag) as the administration’s weirdly adolescent spokesmen on economics. Who could ever have confidence in that sorry pair?

And then there was the fiasco of the ham-handed White House reception for British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, which was evidently lacking the most basic elements of ceremony and protocol. Don’t they read the “Iliad” anymore in the Ivy League? Check that out for the all-important ritual of gift giving, which has cemented alliances around the world for 5,000 years.

But her conclusion that “it’s the staff’s fault” misses the point. Isn’t Obama the President? Really, his mantra was about  accepting responsibility and acknowledging error, right? So this boils down to a colossal mismanagement by himhis failure to set priorities, and his vision that is antagonistic toward free markets. That’s not “the staff” — that’s Obama.

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The Anti-Israel “Lobby” Fails

As John noted, Chas Freeman has reflexively turned his (downgraded) guns against the most predictable of scapegoats — the so-called “Israel Lobby.”

Well, color me skeptical.  Granted, the foremost critics of Freeman’s appointment who supposedly comprise this non-lobbying “Lobby” – Jeffrey Goldberg, Gabriel Schoenfeld, Jon Chait, etc. – are all good writers.  But since when is good writing sufficient for bringing down a popular administration’s political appointee – especially an appointee who didn’t need to pass a Senate confirmation hearing?  Indeed, when it comes to the sudden withdrawal of political appointees, the supposed issue is almost never the issue, which is why I suspect that there’s a good deal more to Freeman’s fall from grace than a few eloquent Jews.

But let’s go along with Freeman’s shoplifted conspiracy theory for a moment.  Let’s assume that someone close to President Obama viewed the convergence of certain pro-Israel opinion-makers against the Freeman pick as a threat to the administration’s political viability (remember: in the “Israel Lobby” world, mere criticism from Israel’s supporters has politically fatal consequences for the criticized).  Here’s the real question: where was the anti-Israel “lobby” in defending Freeman against these brutish writers? 

Answer: rather than addressing any of the substantive criticisms regarding Freeman, the anti-Israel “lobby” drowned itself in its anti-“neo-con” fervor, simplistically arguing that Freeman’s pro-Israel critics were wrong by virtue of their existence.  Go back and read the infantile rantings of Stephen Walt, MJ Rosenberg, Robert Dreyfuss and Juan Cole – each one offers nothing more than a laundry list of Jewish last names, as if this proves both the reality of the “Israel lobby” and its inherent wrongness.  In turn, Freeman’s lazy backers declined to tell us why his proximity to the Saudi monarchy wasn’t such a bad thing; or explain how Freeman’s view of the Tiananmen Square protests emerges from his realist outlook, and not from his Beijing business interests; or argue that Freeman’s controversial comments were taken out of context.

Indeed, the anti-Israel “lobby” completely failed to make its case in support of Freeman.  They entered this supposedly all-decisive blog war with a huge advantage – Freeman, after all, had already been selected to chair the NIC and needed no further approval – and failed miserably.  If they insist on blaming some amorphous “lobby,” they should start by reexamining their own.

As John noted, Chas Freeman has reflexively turned his (downgraded) guns against the most predictable of scapegoats — the so-called “Israel Lobby.”

Well, color me skeptical.  Granted, the foremost critics of Freeman’s appointment who supposedly comprise this non-lobbying “Lobby” – Jeffrey Goldberg, Gabriel Schoenfeld, Jon Chait, etc. – are all good writers.  But since when is good writing sufficient for bringing down a popular administration’s political appointee – especially an appointee who didn’t need to pass a Senate confirmation hearing?  Indeed, when it comes to the sudden withdrawal of political appointees, the supposed issue is almost never the issue, which is why I suspect that there’s a good deal more to Freeman’s fall from grace than a few eloquent Jews.

But let’s go along with Freeman’s shoplifted conspiracy theory for a moment.  Let’s assume that someone close to President Obama viewed the convergence of certain pro-Israel opinion-makers against the Freeman pick as a threat to the administration’s political viability (remember: in the “Israel Lobby” world, mere criticism from Israel’s supporters has politically fatal consequences for the criticized).  Here’s the real question: where was the anti-Israel “lobby” in defending Freeman against these brutish writers? 

Answer: rather than addressing any of the substantive criticisms regarding Freeman, the anti-Israel “lobby” drowned itself in its anti-“neo-con” fervor, simplistically arguing that Freeman’s pro-Israel critics were wrong by virtue of their existence.  Go back and read the infantile rantings of Stephen Walt, MJ Rosenberg, Robert Dreyfuss and Juan Cole – each one offers nothing more than a laundry list of Jewish last names, as if this proves both the reality of the “Israel lobby” and its inherent wrongness.  In turn, Freeman’s lazy backers declined to tell us why his proximity to the Saudi monarchy wasn’t such a bad thing; or explain how Freeman’s view of the Tiananmen Square protests emerges from his realist outlook, and not from his Beijing business interests; or argue that Freeman’s controversial comments were taken out of context.

Indeed, the anti-Israel “lobby” completely failed to make its case in support of Freeman.  They entered this supposedly all-decisive blog war with a huge advantage – Freeman, after all, had already been selected to chair the NIC and needed no further approval – and failed miserably.  If they insist on blaming some amorphous “lobby,” they should start by reexamining their own.

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Flotsam and Jetsam

Nate Silver, in discussing the 2010 Connecticut senate race, dubs CNBC commentator and former Reagan advisor Larry Kudlow a “populist icon” (h/t Glenn Reynolds). Populist icon? This is a guy who talks about the inverted yield curve, waxes lyrical about the M-2, and wears some mighty expensive suits and silk ties. Aren’t populists anti-intellectuals looking out for other anti-intellectuals? The Left really has to get its stereotypes straight.

Howard Fineman joins the growing chorus of non-conservative critics of the president: “But, in ways both large and small, what’s left of the American establishment is taking his measure and, with surprising swiftness, they are finding him lacking.”

The stimulus bill really isn’t going to “save” as many jobs as advertised. So naturally they need a second one.

But Obama is bringing people together — Democrats and Republicans are objecting to his spending and tax proposals.

Election law professor Bradley Smith on card check: “Let’s see… we’re going to do away with the secret ballot, so both the union and your employer – whoever prevails – will know if you voted the “wrong” way. Some questions just answer themselves.”

I don’t think this is a parody: “‘Since when is the secret ballot a basic tenet of democracy?’ [Teamster President James]Hoffa said. ‘Town meetings in New England are as democratic as they come, and they don’t use the secret ballot. Elections in the Soviet Union were by secret ballot, but those weren’t democratic.’” And you doubt this is a winning message?

Jake Tapper on Chas Freeman’s exit screed: “What’s perplexing about this that so much of what critics objected to were Freeman’s statements, in full context. His record was picked apart like that of any other controversial nominee — sometimes fairly, sometimes not so — but only in Freeman’s case does the nominee make an allegation that a foreign power was lurking nefariously somehow behind it all.What’s perplexing about this that so much of what critics objected to were Freeman’s statements, in full context. His record was picked apart like that of any other controversial nominee — sometimes fairly, sometimes not so — but only in Freeman’s case does the nominee make an allegation that a foreign power was lurking nefariously somehow behind it all.”

And, yes, the New York Times finally found the story.

Walter Pincus does a darn good job of concealing just how whacked out Freeman’s goodbye rant was. I wonder why.

Some say votes are not there for “cap and trade.” But remember that’s a tax/revenue source. So “if the cap-and-trade part is dead, where is the money going to come from to begin to cover the increased expenditures? This is going to get interesting. Remember, the bottom 98% ‘won’t pay an extra dime. Either that promise is going to get broken or the size of the budget will get smaller.”

Unions are trying to deprive banks of TARP money unless they shut up about the card check. What?? Well, it only follows that if you don’t believe in secret ballots, free speech isn’t so important either. No wonder they want to take away secret ballots — who’d vote for this sort of thuggery?

Ruth Marcus says Obama really is governing just like he promised, as  a lefty I guess. And we should have known that all that post-partisanship was bunk. So David Brooks and the other Obamacons were just deluded? I think she’s got a point.

Nate Silver, in discussing the 2010 Connecticut senate race, dubs CNBC commentator and former Reagan advisor Larry Kudlow a “populist icon” (h/t Glenn Reynolds). Populist icon? This is a guy who talks about the inverted yield curve, waxes lyrical about the M-2, and wears some mighty expensive suits and silk ties. Aren’t populists anti-intellectuals looking out for other anti-intellectuals? The Left really has to get its stereotypes straight.

Howard Fineman joins the growing chorus of non-conservative critics of the president: “But, in ways both large and small, what’s left of the American establishment is taking his measure and, with surprising swiftness, they are finding him lacking.”

The stimulus bill really isn’t going to “save” as many jobs as advertised. So naturally they need a second one.

But Obama is bringing people together — Democrats and Republicans are objecting to his spending and tax proposals.

Election law professor Bradley Smith on card check: “Let’s see… we’re going to do away with the secret ballot, so both the union and your employer – whoever prevails – will know if you voted the “wrong” way. Some questions just answer themselves.”

I don’t think this is a parody: “‘Since when is the secret ballot a basic tenet of democracy?’ [Teamster President James]Hoffa said. ‘Town meetings in New England are as democratic as they come, and they don’t use the secret ballot. Elections in the Soviet Union were by secret ballot, but those weren’t democratic.’” And you doubt this is a winning message?

Jake Tapper on Chas Freeman’s exit screed: “What’s perplexing about this that so much of what critics objected to were Freeman’s statements, in full context. His record was picked apart like that of any other controversial nominee — sometimes fairly, sometimes not so — but only in Freeman’s case does the nominee make an allegation that a foreign power was lurking nefariously somehow behind it all.What’s perplexing about this that so much of what critics objected to were Freeman’s statements, in full context. His record was picked apart like that of any other controversial nominee — sometimes fairly, sometimes not so — but only in Freeman’s case does the nominee make an allegation that a foreign power was lurking nefariously somehow behind it all.”

And, yes, the New York Times finally found the story.

Walter Pincus does a darn good job of concealing just how whacked out Freeman’s goodbye rant was. I wonder why.

Some say votes are not there for “cap and trade.” But remember that’s a tax/revenue source. So “if the cap-and-trade part is dead, where is the money going to come from to begin to cover the increased expenditures? This is going to get interesting. Remember, the bottom 98% ‘won’t pay an extra dime. Either that promise is going to get broken or the size of the budget will get smaller.”

Unions are trying to deprive banks of TARP money unless they shut up about the card check. What?? Well, it only follows that if you don’t believe in secret ballots, free speech isn’t so important either. No wonder they want to take away secret ballots — who’d vote for this sort of thuggery?

Ruth Marcus says Obama really is governing just like he promised, as  a lefty I guess. And we should have known that all that post-partisanship was bunk. So David Brooks and the other Obamacons were just deluded? I think she’s got a point.

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The Shame of Roger Cohen

The New York Times prints nine letters responding to Roger Cohen’s March 9 column, in which he wrote that he had “never previously felt so shamed by Israel’s actions” as he did after the Gaza war, when Israel responded to  what he described as “sporadic Hamas rockets.” Steve Sheffey’s letter concisely makes three important points:

Perhaps Roger Cohen would not be “so shamed” by Israel’s conduct in Gaza if he considered that Israel has absorbed thousands of rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza since 2000, including more than 3,000 hits in 2008 alone — hardly “sporadic.”

The rocket fire continues, which shows that far from being disproportionate, Israel’s response was insufficient.

No military in the world, including ours, would have taken such care to avoid civilian casualties, even at the risk that its own civilians would continue to live in fear every day. I am proud of Israel’s response in Gaza.

In a BBC appearance during the war, British Army Colonel (Ret.) Richard Kemp, who commanded British troops in Afghanistan and serves as a senior military advisor to the British government, stated that “I don’t think there’s ever been a time in the history of warfare when any army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of innocent people than the IDF is doing today in Gaza.”

The four-minute video of Colonel Kemp’s appearance is well worth watching, and the Israeli government post-war report on Hamas’s multiple war crimes, and exaggeration of civilian casualties and property damage, is well worth reading.  It is unlikely that Roger Cohen has seen or read either one.

The New York Times prints nine letters responding to Roger Cohen’s March 9 column, in which he wrote that he had “never previously felt so shamed by Israel’s actions” as he did after the Gaza war, when Israel responded to  what he described as “sporadic Hamas rockets.” Steve Sheffey’s letter concisely makes three important points:

Perhaps Roger Cohen would not be “so shamed” by Israel’s conduct in Gaza if he considered that Israel has absorbed thousands of rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza since 2000, including more than 3,000 hits in 2008 alone — hardly “sporadic.”

The rocket fire continues, which shows that far from being disproportionate, Israel’s response was insufficient.

No military in the world, including ours, would have taken such care to avoid civilian casualties, even at the risk that its own civilians would continue to live in fear every day. I am proud of Israel’s response in Gaza.

In a BBC appearance during the war, British Army Colonel (Ret.) Richard Kemp, who commanded British troops in Afghanistan and serves as a senior military advisor to the British government, stated that “I don’t think there’s ever been a time in the history of warfare when any army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of innocent people than the IDF is doing today in Gaza.”

The four-minute video of Colonel Kemp’s appearance is well worth watching, and the Israeli government post-war report on Hamas’s multiple war crimes, and exaggeration of civilian casualties and property damage, is well worth reading.  It is unlikely that Roger Cohen has seen or read either one.

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