Is there any angle in the drama of Charles (“Chas”) Freeman worthy of revisiting after the the media’s attention . . . attention triggered, oddly enough, not by his nomination to chair the National Intelligence Council, but only by his withdrawal?
Yes — and it may be the most important angle of all.
The master electrician on the ladder says to his apprentice down below, "Elmer, would you touch one of those two wires sticking out down there?" Elmer does so. "Do you feel anything, Elmer?" asks the master. "No," replies Elmer. "Well," says the master, "Don't touch the other one because it's got 20,000 volts in it."
If, as Freeman complains, the Israel lobby arranged the vaporization of this nomination it deserves a vote of thanks from the nation for touching the right wire and touching it just in time. This appointment, needing no Senate confirmation, could have glided through and put a man of exotic and dynamic bias in charge of sifting, selecting, and framing which items of intelligence would be displayed to President Obama and other national leaders.
As Wesley Pruden, a columnist I admire a great deal, puts it, somebody wanted Freeman to be "the chef in charge of cooking the intelligence served in the Oval Office."
More than any of Freeman's anti-Israel jousts, I was aghast at the widely circulated charge that Freeman had criticized the Chinese Communist Party regime, not for slaughtering the democracy-loving students in Tiananmen Square in 1989, but for not doing it sooner!
On Sunday, March 15, CNN's Fareed Zakaria asked Freeman about that. Freeman claimed his enemies had deliberately omitted the first part of his controversial sentence, which Freeman said made it clear he was merely reporting on the consensus of Chinese Communist leaders and was in no way embracing that opinion as his own.
"In other words," said Zakaria, leaping to the rescue, "You were not suggesting they crack down on the students earlier, but rather you were noting that was the view of the Chinese leadership."
"Exactly," replied Freeman, obviously grateful for the CNN bailout.
That had a solid defense attorney's logic to it which endured almost 24 hours with me until I read the entire original Freeman e-mail offered up by the senior editor of the New Republic Jonathan Chait, which made it bone-marrow-curdlingly clear Charles Freeman was adamantly on the side of the Chinese Communist repression of the students' pro-democracy demonstration.
Not only that. As if he were trying to make the Israel lobby look even wiser, Freeman continued in that e-mail to likewise endorse Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s heavy-handed breakup of the “bonus marchers,” a group of disgruntled American veterans of World War I who'd gathered on the Capitol steps in Washington in 1932 during the Great Depression to protest the government's broken promises on benefits due them.
When the young, intelligent Mr. Zakaria first appeared on CNN a few months ago, I welcomed his show as an oasis of serious discussion of major issues led by someone whose knowledge of Mideast and Asian affairs was obviously gathered a bit closer to the scene than Greensboro, N.C. My oasis ran bone dry during that Freeman interview.
I once asked the inventor of Bebop, Dizzy Gillespie, what was the toughest audience he had ever faced. Without an instant's hesitation he clapped his hands together one time. "Baltimore!” was his quick reply. “In Baltimore," Dizzy continued, "if they like you, they clap one clap! That's all!" Zakaria's follow-up — or absence of it — to Freeman's answers was as pitifully inadequate as Dizzy alleged Baltimore's applause to be.
This story even has a kind of Bermuda Triangle mystery around it. If you relied on The New York Times and The Washington Post you never would have known about Freeman's appointment until after his withdrawal. In fact, Caroline B. Glick, writing in jewishworldreview.com, tells us that Douglas Jehl, news editor of the New York Times, came right out and admitted in the Weekly Standard that "We did initially elect not to write a story about the campaign against Mr. Freeman."
That, from The New York Times, regarding the nominee for perhaps the single most important appointive position in the U.S. government that does not require Senate approval!
Meanwhile Walter Pincus, in The Washington Post, wrote a piece detailing the crossfire of Jewish blogs lacerating Freeman while ignoring Freeman's rock-solid record that obviously inspired all that Jewish — and a lot of non-Jewish — demolition of the Freeman appointment.
Remember Elmer, the electrical apprentice? If I were Elmer's father, brother, wife, or lawyer I'd drop all else and never rest until I could establish why his boss treated his safety so casually.
I'd want to know all about that boss's background, his motives and mental condition, and I'd want to make sure his license to practice electricity were revoked. I'd want to make sure his strange mindset would never endanger others again. And I feel that same way about whatever "bosses" thought it would be a good idea to put Charles Freeman in charge of the National Intelligence Council. And my curiosity begins with the topmost of those bosses, Adm. Dennis Blair, head of President Obama's National Intelligence Service, who stood solidly and stolidly behind Freeman until he withdrew.
The purview of this piece makes it unnecessary to include more than minimal restatement of Freeman's reference to Tibet's freedom-fight as a "race riot”; his service for a petroleum company owned by Communist China that's under investigation by the U. S. government for a contract with Iran to develop the South Pars gas field; or his rhapsodic praise of Saudi Arabia and the "Great King Abdullah," a nice hunk of whose fortune found its way into Freeman's enterprises, organization, and pockets.
I've done fairly extensive homework on Charles Freeman from all sides. I've studied his comments both before and after his nomination and withdrawal. And, as my Jewish grandparents would have said, "Oy!"
You may have heard Jewish people say "Oy" and not know what it means. "Oy" is shorthand for the last 5,000 years of Jewish history.
I feel I've done my homework on Charles Freeman. And I further feel he's done a lot for the Jewish people, just by not being one.
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