Shire Network News #157 has been released. The feature interview is with Professor Barry Rubin of the The Global Research in International Affairs  Center in Israel, talking about the statement made by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his fellow 9/11 conspirators at Guantamo Bay taking credit for the atrocity, and why western politicians simply refuse to listen to the enemy when they announce their goals and motives clearly. Click here for the show notes, links, and ways to listen to the show; directly from the web site, by downloading the mp3 file, or by subscribing with your podcatcher of choice.

Below is the text of my commentary.

Hi, this is Doug Payton for Shire Network News asking you to "Consider This!"

The National Intelligence Council, according to its website, "is a center of strategic thinking within the US Government, reporting to the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and providing the President and senior policymakers with analyses of foreign policy issues that have been reviewed and coordinated throughout the Intelligence Community."

Let me ask you something; what kind of person do you want to be the chairman of this group?  What kind of clear thinking do you want from the person who would lead these intelligence analysts?  Well, let’s find out what kind of person President Obama wants for this position.

How about a guy who spent so much time with the Saudis that, when we were trying to push Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, he thought the Saudis were cash-strapped and wouldn’t help much.  (They weren’t, and they did.)  How about a guy who was worried about declaring that Hamas and Hezbollah were "terror groups" (that is to say, telling the truth) because that might make them mad at us and terrorize Americans at home or abroad?  (They haven’t.)

No?  Yeah, you’re right.  No one with that lack of diplomatic acumen and that inability to read a foreign government would ever work out in that job.  OK then, how about this?  How about a guy who thought that the Chinese government’s response to Tiananmen Square demonstrations (that is to say, the massacre) "stands as a monument to overly cautious behavior"?  Should we hire a guy with that level of understatement, that "contrarian inclination to challenge conventional wisdom of any sort", as James Fallows of The Atlantic might (hypothetically of course) put it?

Yeah, me neither.  Yet that’s what almost happened this past week.  Barack Obama nominated Chas Freeman to the NIC, the group that leads the effort to produce the National Intelligence Estimate, a report that Left and Right alike look to for support of their foreign policy decisions.  Mr. Freeman, indeed, fits all the previously enumerated anti-criteria, but the Obama administration wanted him to be in charge of our most forward-looking intelligence analysis.  Fortunately, last Tuesday, while I was actually writing up this segment originally, we dodged a bullet and, apparently over all the controversy surrounding this nomination, Mr. Freeman took his name out of consideration.

Can we make a difference, and keep nuts like this out of positions of power?  Yes we can!

But the reaction to his un-nomination is, I think, telling.  Here’s a guy who former Secretary of State James Baker thought was a Saudi apologist (and Baker himself is certainly no pro-Israel activist).  Here’s a guy too timid around terrorists, yet a supporter of Chinese tanks over student protestors.  Here’s a guy who wanted a national ID system to combat terror.  (Great idea; ask the innocent "Your papers, please" in order to combat the guilty.) 

Yet after all this, Freeman’s  and the Left’s knee-jerk reaction is to blame the Israel lobby.  All they have is a hammer, and so every setback looks like a nail.  Well, they got pounded, or nailed, or whatever you want to call it, but the fact that the Left reflexively supported this guy, and reflexively blamed the usual suspects when they lost him, doesn’t really…um…reflect well on them. 

A contrarian is one thing.  An apologist is another.  They need to take just a bit more time to consider this.

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