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He Didn't Leave Government Service, It Left Him


By davidswanson - Posted on 24 January 2011

By David Swanson

Whistleblowing takes many forms but almost always involves the disillusionment of an insider with the nature of what he or she is inside. Leaking secret documents exposing dramatic crimes and abuses is one way to blow a whistle. Another, equally valuable approach, is to publish a lengthy analysis of your experiences in government service. This is what Chas Freeman has done with his new book "America's Misadventures in the Middle East," which he will discuss in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

In 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Chas Freeman to chair the National Intelligence Council. A campaign of lies orchestrated by AIPAC (The American Israeli Public Affairs Committee) blocked Freeman's appointment. As Freeman recounts:

"I withdrew my acceptance of the position. The next day's Washington Post contained three items on this: (1) a front-page account by Walter Pincus detailing aspects of the Lobby's campaign against me; (2) a column by David Broder saying that my resignation was America's loss; and (3) an unsigned editorial calling me a 'crackpot' for imagining that there was an Israel Lobby and that it had opposed me."

Freeman's book consists largely of speeches he made over the past 20 years. Like any insider, he speaks with particular expertise but without exactly the approach outsider activists might consider ideal. Freeman accepts war as a tool of public policy and seems to want the United States' global empire run better, not shut down. Through the course of his pages we progress from his whole-hearted approval of the Persian Gulf War -- at which time he ran the world's largest embassy, that of the United States in Saudi Arabia, which he says had "some 550,000 heavily armed 'diplomatic staff' assigned to it" -- to his full-throated denunciation of U.S. foreign policy in the age of W. And yet he remains a Potterybarner (now that we're in Iraq we can't just leave). Freeman's attitude becomes more oppositional, but more because of our nation's changes than his own. (I wonder what he makes of Bush I's recent assertion that he would have launched the first Gulf War even had the United Nations not delivered the authorization that Freeman valued at the time.)

Where Chas Freeman excels is in advocating for diplomacy over militarism. While he believed Iraq had WMDs and falsely claims that everyone agreed with that, he nonetheless presented a devastating argument against the 2003 invasion before it happened. (Possessing weapons, after all, is not a moral or legal or strategic reason to launch a war and occupation.) Freeman thinks and writes like a diplomat, and argues persuasively for the value of diplomats' skills.

"I am reminded of the story of a former U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union, Mac Toon, a crusty career diplomat who went aboard an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean for a meeting with the admiral who commanded its battle group. At the end of their discussion, the admiral leaned over to ask, 'What's it like being an ambassador? I've always thought that after I retire I might want to try it.' Ambassador Toon replied, 'That's funny. I've always thought that when I retire, I might try my hand at running a carrier battle group.' The admiral said, 'That's ridiculous. A naval command requires years of training and experience.'"

Here's a crazy thought: what if we were to invest our resources in training diplomats who didn't simply work for the Pentagon but worked for peace? One problem, illustrated by Freeman's experience, is that it's hard to employ anyone in the U.S. government who doesn't answer to the Israeli government. Freeman's critiques of war mongering and incompetence were not what rendered him unacceptable. It was his criticism of the United States' policy of allowing the Israeli government to dictate its positions on the Middle East. Freeman believes that this approach once served the U.S. empire and now no longer does. That's the trouble with public servants who start out believing in their government's approach to the world and support it out of honest conviction rather than blind subservience. When an empire heads into collapse, when its actions become self-destructive, some of its supporters start to speak out against it. Freeman's story also illustrates the problem with putting a radical moron in charge of the empire; Bush made imperialism look bad to its supporters. Obama doesn't seem to have as much of that problem.

Full disclosure: I'm a friend and fan of the publisher of Freeman's book, Just World Books, which has put out more good books in its short existence than many another company: http://www.justworldbooks.com

Tags

Is the article meant to say that the US, Washington allows (to say the least) Israel to dictate its, Israel's, positions on the M.E., or to dictate and, therefore, control US positions on the M.E.?

If meaning the latter, then Israel neither dictatates nor controls U.S. foreign policy on the Middle East any more than Israel being responsible for U.S. foreign policy in the rest of Asia, Southern and Central America, Africa, et cetera. Israel does not control the US, but evidently does have strong influence regarding US foreign policy vis-a-vis Palestine, Lebanon, probably Syria, and Egypt.

There are reasons for the US letting Israel usually have its way and backing it up politically. There's militaristic strategem for US power in the Middle East, Israel means MIC profit, and the US MIC now gets huge sales to Egypt, et cetera. US MIC certainly wouldn't like to lose these weapons sales. And Washington seems to be strategically locked into maintaining its rogue policies towards Israel while this is because of rogue Washington politics protecting Israel since the 1966 Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, as well as earlier, I guess.

Rogue Washington strategically can't afford to lose its powerful military ally of the Middle East, Israel armed with anywhere between 200 and 400 or so nuclear weapons, plenty of military war planes, and whatever else Israel has for military capabilities since Washington and Wall Street want to dominate the rich-resource countries of the Middle East. What would Washington's and Wall Streets chances be there if Israel suddently stopped being an allied military "battleship", or more? Doesn't Israel being the 4th or 5th military power in the world give Washington and Wall Street a major strong-arm edge over much of the rest of the Middle East, the other countries there allied with the US? Could this relationship be the main reason that the other countries there allied with the US accepted to become US allies? Would they have become US allies if Israel wasn't allied with the US?

Wall Street runs Washington and I don't think that Israel is the only one to gain from US politically backing, arming and funding Israel. Wall Street and Washington surely also plan on this sort of relationship being a big win for them. And without being an expert about this, I think we have the same sort of example(s) from the US seeing to the overthrowing of democratic governments or state leaderships, as well as possibly not democratic ones, but nevertheless relatively reasonable ones, in African and other countries. Washington and Wall Street don't profit or don't believe they can profit from relationships with these leaderships, so they're to be changed with installation of rogue and murderous regimes.

A relationship between variably powerful and extemely roguish, criminal "gangs" working together and profiting from each other's support is what I believe is going on, rather than Israel controlling the US. It's state gangsterism on the international scale, and it's mainly for enrichening the richest elites, while military commanders get to have the "turkey shoots". It's "War is a Racket", as Smedley Butler wrote.

When Zbigniew Brzezinski drew up the plan for the US, under the Carter administration, to deliberately provoke, basically force Russia to invade Afghanistan, was this done for and/or because of Israel? What about when he wrote his book, "The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And It's Geostrategic Imperatives"? I doubt that these "works" were committed for or because of Israel and I believe that they reflect interests of much more powerful people controlling Washington than AIPAC does.

AIPAC is influential in the Congress and in universities where deans are too cowardly when they have professors who speak out critically against Israel (and possibly AIPAC) and AIPAC applies its roguish, rather criminal pressure. But there are much more powerful people controlling the government and they profit from AIPAC's public lunacy, while the former remain [much] more hidden. The most powerful elites in the US could surely force the shutting down of and possibly deportation of all AIPAC members, AIPAC leadership anyway, but AIPAC's publicly heinous sociopaths and traitors also happen to sort of serve the strategic interests of the more powerful.

I believe the most powerful prefer to remain hidden and that AIPAC's public viciousness happens to "benefit" the most powerful people. Perhaps it can also serve them, the latter, for plausible deniability; "We didn't do it. We didn't have anything to do with those criminal or roguish decisions. It's all AIPAC's fault".

It's difficult for me to believe that the most powerful people in the US are the bunch of publicly sociopathic or psychopathic lunatics making up AIPAC. I've read plenty of articles and comment posts by plenty of different authors or writers claiming Israel and its lobby in the US control the government of the US, but none of these have been able to provide sufficient argumentation to convince me, yet. They always omit explicit consideration of the hidden power elites, so none of these articles and comment posts have been able to persuade me to believe that these elites don't exist and aren't the most powerful.

Imo, the most powerful of the corrupt in the US will strategically want to be as hidden from public view as possible. We might see some of them going in to the White House to speak with the President, f.e., but we can hardly expect to get reliable and verifiable accounts of what the discussions fully consist of. So most Americans would be left without any verifiable proof that the most powerful ever even set foot in the White House.

The CIA has been exposed as working for the top elites of the US, though without us learning of precisely who these individuals are, or who all of them are. The CIA is not the sole US government agency or department to be guilty of this, but I doubt that these elites are AIPAC.

Any text or words that leaves any impression at all that what's said again is that AIPAC and Israel control the US leaves me in search of sufficient supporting evidence. And the Middle East consists of more than Palestine, Lebanon and Syria, while Israel surely also won't have control over any final decision US elites make regarding Iran. We can't be left with a contrary appearance, but appearances can't be arranged, managed, staged. We need much more than only appearances.

Law of causality, there's a cause for everything that exists. Appearances give many Americans the impression that Israel and its lobby in the US control the government of the US, but there's a hidden cause behind this appearance, so what's the cause? It surely involves strategic politics, imo. Israel and its lobby serve strategic interests of the most powerful people controlling the government of the US.

Based on appearances, MANY Americans supported Obama, who didn't fool many, yet evidently fewer Americans. And many who had supported Nader while being among those who decried that Obama was not who his many supporters said he was ended up voting for Obama, instead of Nader; according to a recent statement by Ralph Nader.

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