The controversial appointee to chair President Barack Obama’s National Intelligence Council walked away from the job Tuesday as criticism on Capitol Hill escalated.Lots could be added to this, like the fact that he thinks Taiwan independence is "whacko." Some of the stuff written about Freeman was just ridiculous, and it was surprising that anyone thought he was someone who "speaks truth to power." This will be good for Taiwan; Freeman was pro-China and pro-annexation.
Charles W. Freeman Jr., the former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, had been praised by allies and by the director of national intelligence, Dennis Blair, as a brilliant, iconoclastic analyst. Critics said he was too hard on Israel and too soft on China, and blasted him for taking funding from Saudi royals.
Freeman “requested that his selection to be Chairman of the National Intelligence Council not proceed,” Blair’s office said in a statement. “Director Blair accepted Ambassador Freeman’s decision with regret.”
The withdrawal came after Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) grilled Blair at a Senate Armed Service Committee hearing Tuesday. Lieberman cited his “concern” about “statements that [Freeman] has made that appear either to be inclined to lean against Israel or too much in favor of China.”
In particular, Freeman has described “Israeli violence against Palestinians” as a key barrier to Mideast peace, and referred to violence in Tibet last year — widely seen in the U.S. as a revolt against Chinese occupation — as a “race riot.”
More ominous was the way that the debate was controlled by the Israel debate. What should have been the priority, his strange views on, and closeness to, Chinese elites, simply served as ammunition for the splits over Israel. Pat Buchanan once wittily remarked that the White House was Israeli-occupied territory, but really, our whole foreign policy is dominated by debates over Israel, to the exclusion of the rest of the world. Very unhealthy.
UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan observed that this whole debate played out on the net, on blogs and news and discussion sites. The US MSM ignored it or was in the dark. Welcome to the brave new world of Web 2.0, folks. He notes:
There are a couple of things worth noting about this minor, yet major, Washington spat. The first is that the MSM has barely covered it as a news story, and the entire debate occurred in the blogosphere. I don't know why. But that would be a very useful line of inquiry for a media journalist.
[Taiwan] Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!