What Are They Thinking?

Marty Peretz unleashes some righteous anger over the appointment of Chas Freeman as proposed Charmian of the National Intelligence Council, calling the move “stunning as in bigoted and completely out of sync with the deepest convictions of the American people.” After reviewing Freeman’s infatuation with the Saudi regime, his high regard for Hamas, and penchant to “kow-tow to authoritarians and tyrants,” Peretz gets to the nub of the matter:

But Freeman’s real offense (and the president’s if he were to appoint him) is that he has questioned the loyalty and patriotism of not only Zionists and other friends of Israel, the great swath of American Jews and their Christian countrymen, who believed that the protection of Zion is at the core of our religious and secular history, from the Pilgrim fathers through Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy. And how has he offended this tradition? By publishing and peddling the unabridged John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt book, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, with panegyric and hysteria. If Freeman believes that this book is the truth he can’t be trusted by anyone, least of all Barack Obama. I can’t believe that Obama wants to appoint someone who is quintessentially an insult to the patriotism of some many of his supporters, me included.

So what does this say about the president? We are left to wonder if the president, like Pope Benedict XVI (who claimed ignorance of Bishop Richard Williamson’s Holocaust denial), is ignorant of his designee’s venial views. If so, that bespeaks a scary level of detachment. But if Freeman’s judgment and intellectual independence are in fact celebrated and respected by the president, that would be even worse. Then we’d have elected a president with no moral compass or discerning intellect.

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What Are They Thinking?

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