Is Admiral Blair next?

Dennis_blair_0109 That's a fair question.

The vicious clique that deprived us all of the chance to have Charles Freeman as chairman of the NIC had as its principal goal the ability to control the content of US national intelligence estimates of concern to Israel.  The analytic paper in which these servants of a foreign power have the greatest interest is that concerning Iran. 

Israeli general staff intelligence believes that the Iranians possess an immediate ability to assemble at least one nuclear weapon and are close to achieving an industrial ability to manufacture such weapons and their matched delivery systems.

Admiral (Ret.) Dennis Blair has testified before Congress that US intelligence (using the same data) does not agree.  The National Intelligence Council (NIC) of the United States believes that the Iranians could not have enough weapons grade fissile material to make ONE atomic weapon until 2010. (Some members of the NIC would say 2015)  Admiral Blair has also testified that the NIC does not believe that the Iranians have yet made a decision to manufacture nuclear weapons.  So far they have not produced uranium concentrated enough to use in fission weapons.

Israel has always had a very limited ability to collect hidden information in Iran.  More than that I do not wish to say.  What they know of things like the Iranian nuclear and missile programs are largely the result of others' efforts.  The reason why the Israeli and US estimates reach such different conclusions is the persistent and "traditional" habit of IDF intelligence of"worst casing" every single shred of supposed information and then compiling those shreds into a pastiche satisfactory to their collective fear.  This is reminiscent of the analytic technique of the neocons in the campaign to sell the Iraq War to the American people.

The "Israel First" crowd want a US national estimate that will justify and virtually require a US attack on Iran.  There will be a strong effort made to appoint a chairman for the NIC who will preside over the creation of such an estimate.

Dennis Blair has defied the Lobby, the neocons and IDF intelligence.  

Watch your back, admiral.  Watch your back.  pl

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63 Responses to Is Admiral Blair next?

  1. zanzibar says:

    Where is Obama in all of this?
    Clearly if NIEs are prepared with political agendas that impinge on US national interests the person most impacted is the President since his decision making would naturally be bereft of the “truth” that our intel community could provide.
    Is Obama his own person or is he just another weather vane? I want to give him the benefit of doubt as Chas Freeman has done on the issues of foreign policy (but I can’t do the same on economic policy). I am impressed with how he handled Iraq where he did exercise leadership. But we have seen some of the levers that the Israel firsters have pulled and their political strength. Do we get to the point where the Israel first crowd over reach and there will be a backlash when it becomes apparent to most that there are many in our political leadership who are acting against our national interests and are in effect “agents” of a foreign power?
    If the economic environment deteriorates further and the average working American loses confidence in our current political leadership – then do we see demagogues appear who may want to find scapegoats?

  2. Jose says:

    Col., I suggested in an earlier post that Adm. Blair should resign in protest.
    There are only three options before him:
    1. Spike intelligence reports to the needs of the special interests
    2. Be the next scandal
    3. Resign in protest and force the issue to be discussed.
    Was this issue even discussed last on any of the News Networks?

  3. J says:


  4. Milton Arbogast says:

    Rahm Emanuel, who supported the invasion of Iraq, runs the White House. Is he a dual-national?
    I think at this time it is fair to ask, “What is going on with Obama?”
    Stem cell research? C’mon. Okay, it’s a good idea and deserves support. But (probably nuclear) bombing of Iran is a much, much bigger issue.
    Was Obama elected under false pretenses?
    If the American public gets the idea that Obama is a spineless opportunist, look out. Yes, that is my opinion. But the anger under the surface is palpable.
    For example, take unemployment. Unemployment is supposed to be a “lagging indicator”. Hence the ability of the stock market to laugh it off. I’ll tell you what it isn’t a lagging indicator of. It isn’t a lagging indicator of desperation and violence.
    Would McCain have done a better job? We’ll never know. I doubt it. What a world.

  5. AP says:

    I have a dumb question: Why do the Israelis persist in this vein when all information about Iranian nuclear capability says otherwise?
    (Ari Fleischer: “The more uranium you have, the fewer centrifuges you need to produce a nuclear weapon.” archives, Abuja, Nigeria Press gaggle 2003….remember this when you hear hyperventilated cries about the number of Iranian centrifuges growing.)
    Why does Israel want the US involved in this, apart from giving it money and weapons? Does Israel want to cause the destruction of the USA? Is that why it’s doing this: beating the drum for nuclear war because it extracted a promise from the US that we would back up anything it does militarily?
    I can’t come to any other conclusion: Israel wants to destroy the USA, militarily, economically, strategically.
    History shows that Iran has not attacked another country for 300 years. It defends itself, but it has not engaged in preemptive war of any sort.
    None of these claims or assertions on the part of the pro-Israel faction pushing a war with Iran makes any sense.

  6. Cato the Censor says:

    “This is reminiscent of the analytic technique of the neocons in the campaign to sell the Iraq War to the American people.”
    We know how well that turned out too.

  7. How depressing! Will AIPAC evnetually overreach? Will they demand one sacrificial lamb too many even for our meek excuse for a Congress?

  8. Cloned Poster says:

    1. I wish to make the following point!
    Why were Democrat representatives allowed to slander and make up stories about Freeman?
    For the all the Obama apologists that come here and post (scarce here), there is something called the “whip” in UK politics.
    That’s a provocative post Col Lang.
    Watch your back.

  9. 1. The Freeman case was intended by the Zionist Lobby and its foreign- based superiors (in Israel, London, and elsewhere) to send a message: a message to those in the US government and a message internationally.
    2. Judging from key indicative votes over the past two decades, the Zionist Lobby can usually muster about 400 votes in the House of Representatives and say 90 or so in the Senate.

  10. Redhand says:

    This is reminiscent of the analytic technique of the neocons in the campaign to sell the Iraq War to the American people.
    The “Israel First” crowd want a US national estimate that will justify and virtually require a US attack on Iran. There will be a strong effort made to appoint a chairman for the NIC who will preside over the creation of such an estimate.

    I do not seek analytical excellence in my comment, just a forum to express my deep fatigue with the whole American-Israel relationship.
    I’m fed up with Israel, and politicians like Chuck Schumer who support it no matter what. I’m tired of idiotic and downright malevolent neocons like Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthamer and Paul Wolfowitz, whose ethnic identification with the State of Israel has truly blinded them to independent American interests, or (apparently) even the idea that such interests exist.
    We’ve already wasted trillions of dollars and tens-of-thousands of American lives in Iraq, largely at the behest of a neocon cabal that still seems to believe “What’s good for Israel is good for America.”
    I’m just tired of it. And I think I can say it without being anti-Semitic (which I’m not).
    I can’t imagine an anti-nuke, preemptive strike against Iran undertaken with US blessing. Isn’t the best deterrent to Iran’s use of a nuke against Israel (if and when they ever get one despite our diplomatic efforts to prevent it) a clearly communicated message to Iran that if that happens, the US will consider it an attack on the USA itself. Seems to me that strategy worked pretty well against the USSR in the Cold War.
    Then again, what do I know? I’m not a foreign policy genius like Paul Wolfowitz.

  11. Andy says:

    I am not too concerned about Adm. Blair, but I think it’s pretty clear that the opposition to Freeman is rooted in the 2007 NIE which emasculated political support for any attack against Iran’s program. The Isreali’s and their supporters understand that the NIE will probably be updated soon and want to do what they can to bring about a conclusion that would provide some support for action.
    The wording in Adm. Blair’s testimony this past Tuesday is telling (emphasis mine):

    We judge in fall 2003 Tehran halted its nuclear weapons design and weaponization
    activities and that the halt lasted at least several years. We assess Tehran had not restarted these activities as of at least mid-2007.

    The DNI repeated this almost verbatim when questioned by Senator Levin.
    Mid-2007 was almost two years ago. I’ve looked, and there are is no information or leaked analysis to indicate either a continuation of Iran’s suspension of weaponization efforts or its resumption. This tells me that another NIE on Iran’s program may be in the works already and could explain the blatant effort employed to kill this nomination.

  12. Andy says:

    Tom Rick’s agrees with you:

    I do wonder if this whole incident was a kind of warning shot across the bow of retired Admiral Dennis Blair, the new director of national intelligence. The U.S. military long has been less enamored of Israel than has the U.S. Congress. Navy intelligence types in particular have been wary of Israel since the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty in 1967, which left 34 sailors dead.

  13. Got A Watch says:

    I’m sure no one here is surprised.
    Obama does not have to do anything, just standby to receive orders from his masters in Tel Aviv.
    Business as usual. Change you can believe in.

  14. There is some indication that the TEAM of RIVALS concept apparently adopted by OBAMA might not work for him the way it worked for Lincoln. The power to select and appoint and vest with power, sometimes shared under the Constitution with the Senate, is the real Presedential power manifest. Just out of curiousity, how does OBAMA find, name, and select appointees or is he relying on White House Personnel Office to feed him what he needs? Beleive me when I state firmly that if the latter he won’t get what is needed for him or the country!

  15. Gene says:

    In response to AP’s “None of these claims or assertions on the part of the pro-Israel faction pushing a war with Iran makes any sense.”
    Israel’s antagonism with Iran makes sense in the context of its will to colonize its neighbours’ land and implement the plan for “Greater Israel”. What lie in its path are Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Occupied Territories, both of which receive if not material, certainly ideological and moral support from Iran.
    I think there’s also the point that good relations between Iran and the US would mean a less important strategic role for Israel and therefore diminishing leverage on US policies, and consequently – and I believe that is important – less leverage on its so-called ‘moderate’ Arab neighbours.

  16. doug says:

    That the Chas flail has been about potential Iran NIEs was briefly alluded to in “Contentions” but has largely escaped notice from both sides. Thanks for noticing.

  17. By providing a warning, your blog does us all a real service. Now the question is, what will Obama do?
    It is really very important for Americans to rise above the propaganda of the rightwing, militant Israeli ruling elite and consider that Israel is a whole country with a wide range of viewpoints. Those who are surprised need only take a look at the outspoken Israeli press, where freedom of speech is taken much more seriously than in the U.S. media. What is my point? Protecting Israelis in no way equals swallowing the expansionist line of the elite factio n that has captured control of Israeli politics. Obama should appoint an advisory board on relations with Israel, to give him political protection, and include as many first-rate Israeli thinkers (not political hacks) as possible. Two obvious candidates at the top of the list would be Uri Avnery and Ilan Pappe. Then, he should put U.S.-Israeli official ties on hold pending a review by that board of how best to protect the people of Israel…from all the threats that challenge them, explicitly including the threat of Israel forsaking democracy and transforming itself into a garrison state.

  18. harper says:

    There is only one appropriate reply from the U.S. intelligence community to this frontal attack on their integrity and independence: crack down, hard, on all of the Israeli spy networks that have been allowed to operate with impunity. Let a thousand Steve Rosens bloom, and let the penalty be so overwhelming for this intrusion into the U.S. intelligence community, that it will never happen again. Think about it. A radical, to be blunt, Jabotinsky fascist element within Israel decided that they had the authority, through their apparatus of spies (Rosen) and dupes in America, including in the Halls of Congress, to veto a decision that was made at the top of the OFFICIAL U.S. intelligence community. No chest thumping allowed. Only a penalty of such severity that it will sting for a century is going to have any impact. The Pollard case was a devastating shock to Israel and their allies and assets in America. 25 years later, they think they can push us around again. Not a good idea to let this stand. Those of you familiar with the duties of the DNI and the head of the NIC know that this is one of the most important intelligence functions of the U.S. government–providing the President of the United States with strategic estimates AND the daily intelligence briefing. Do we have veto power over who is named head of the Mossad or IDF intelligence? This is no small matter, if allowed to stand and go unanswered.

  19. Mad Dogs says:

    The “Israel First” crowd and their less-than-subtle tactics with regard to Chas Freeman may have done themselves more harm than good.
    Yes, they “won” this battle, but have they “lost” the war?
    Going just by the reactions of Intel professionals like Colonel Lang and Larry Johnson, can we imagine what the reaction is among the folks who populate State’s INR, DoD’s DIA, the CIA, and most certainly in Admiral Dennis Blair’s ODNI itself?
    I’m betting these Intel folks have long memories and that they are not liable to forget this attempt to railroad US Intel and Foreign policy.
    At the least, I’m betting that unlike the Neocons in the Bush/Cheney Administration maintaining an open and revolving door policy for the Israel First crowd, these civil servants will find ways to turn a deaf ear to their braying hysteria.
    So to the Israel First crowd, make the most of Chas Freeman’s bloody scalp because it may be the last trophy you’ll be able to worship.

  20. Mark Logan says:

    It may already be underway.
    I “googled” the Admiral, and the Wiki link decided
    to highlight the stuff about Timor, and it’s from the middle of the Wiki page. Does this indicate recent editing? Has anyone
    checked out his Wiki page before and can tell if anything was recently changed?

  21. Harper, All,
    I suggested on another thread a method of hammering the ZLobby by increased counterintelligence pressure, legal action in AIPAC spy case, a new NIE on Israel with counterintelligence issues included and etc.
    It has been interesting to see the Zionist Washington Post editorialize in recent days: 1) against Chas Freeman, and 2) for dropping the Justice Department AIPAC Spy Case.
    The Washington Post was purchased back in 1932 by Eugene Meyer, a Wall Street financier type whose family was linked with the “cosmopolitan” Lazard banking interests. In the 1920s, 30s and 40s, the French Lazard bank supported Fascism as did the British branch. Katherine Graham was Meyer’s daughter.
    Evidently, the Zionist Lobby is terrified about the possibility of the institutional machinery (intelligence community, law enforcement community, etc.) of the US government being used to defend our Republic from international Zionist penetration, manipulation, and subversion.
    Of course, defending our Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic is precisely the oath some of us in Federal service have taken. Personally, I don’t see myself released from that oath until death (or maybe later).
    Knowing the possibility for an increased institutional reponse to international Zionism’s subversion of our foreign policy and defense policy process, the Lobby has moved sharply to forestall this by its campaign against Ambassador Freeman.
    Because the Zionist Lobby is so entrenched in the US, the ONLY method for an authentically patriotic President who seeks some independence from it for national security sake is to hammer it through Federal counterintelligence and law enforcement operations.
    As I have often said at SST, Ike was the last president to challenge the Zionist Lobby. Truman, and Ike’s successors, fell into line. We shall see about the current President and I wish him well. He should have held on to Amb. Freeman, however.
    The Freeman case is useful, however, pedagogically as now the world has yet another quintessential example before it of the reign of international Zionism and its agents and assets in the US.

  22. Jesse says:

    I just wanted to state my support of William deB. Mills point. Although I hear varying reports on the opinion of the Israel public, I am certain a broader discussion could only improve the current state of affairs, and it would be difficult for any “Israel first” lobby to justifiably suppress.

  23. fanto says:

    the main news media mentioned Freeman briefly, yesterday on NPR (3 or so minutes on “all things considered”), today on CNN with Wolf Blitzer, again brief mention, with showing Joe Lieberman talking about Freeman’s China link… Otherwise, only silence.
    But the blogs – even DailyKos has a huge discussion in one of their ‘side branches’

  24. fasteddiez says:

    Harper and Mad Dogs:
    The FBI’s CI folks are the ones responsible to make “a thousand Cohens and retired Katsas” bloom. It is their mission, if they chose to accept it.
    What is painstakingly problematic, though, is the fact that they follow the orders of the Attorney General, who takes his orders from Mr. Emmanuel, who takes his orders from……..; oh, never mind.

  25. Homer says:

    PL: “The vicious clique that deprived us all of the chance to have Charles Freeman as chairman of the NIC had as its principal goal the ability to control the content of US national intelligence estimates of concern to Israel.”
    Fully d’accord PL.
    Perhaps we may agree that the mantra of the Israel First Crowd is `Onward Christian Soldiers!!’
    Hope those Christians in the Red States, i.e. those who are unknowing victims of low information, will soon realize they are nothing more than canon fodder for Israel First Crowd.
    Enough is enough.

  26. doug says:

    Mark Logan,
    Your question re Chas’ Wiki page is easily researched. Wikipedia keeps a historical record of page edits. Check the menu on top of the page of interest.

  27. Castellio says:

    Avnery and Pappe are more likely to find themselves on a no-fly list than on a commission to advise the US government on Israeli-American relations, no matter how much we may respect them.
    I am not defeatist, but that is the reality of the moment.
    Kiracofe’s points are all too germane. The fight for American independence calls for firmer stuff.
    It means organizing money, time, media and votes… for many many years. Hence, it needs endurance… the ability not to fold, to go on.
    How have the universities lined up? No, you don’t want to think about that.
    Meanwhile, in a twist that is bitter for all those who voted for the ‘progressive’ Obama, the Wall Street types are paying themselves out of the public purse. Billions. Hundreds of Billions.
    Lets take a specific example. Canwwest media, strongly and unabashedly Zionist, buys Alliance-Atlantis, Canada’s largest film and television production-distribution unit. Not a small deal. They use Goldman Sachs money to do it, but Canwest gives it the necessary Canadian ‘cultural’ front.
    But now Canwest is losing money. But that’s okay, Goldman Sachs is being bailed out by the American feds. They can help figure out a way for Canwest to hold onto Alliance-Atlantis.
    You don’t think the politics matter?

  28. Cieran says:

    I would second Professor Kiracofe’s suggestion:
    I suggested on another thread a method of hammering the ZLobby by increased counterintelligence pressure, legal action in AIPAC spy case, a new NIE on Israel with counterintelligence issues included and etc.
    An NIE on Israel would be an excellent way to inject some candor into the discussion about the role of Israel in US international relations. It also affords a perfect venue for “smear-proof” discussions, as questions such as “does Israel possess a clandestine nuclear WMD program?”, “has Israel proliferated nuclear technology?”, and “what kind of threat does this WMD program pose to American interests?” can be readily answered, and the veracity of those answers can be made indisputable.
    The usual AIPAC-orchestrated smear campaign revolves around tarring its potential victims with false charges of anti-semitism or worse. But these NIE-related questions about Israel’s WMD programs are matters of fact, not of political belief or opinion. Thus they have simple answers that transcend political considerations.
    In other words, it’s proved too easy so far for AIPAC and its fellow travelers to stifle dissent of Americans by calling them anti-semitic. But it’s infinitely more difficult to accuse physical reality of anti-semitism and then make that charge stick well enough to matter.
    That’s why an NIE regarding the state of Israel’s nuclear WMD program is a good entry point for restarting the sort of informed discussion of U.S. interests last seen in the Eisenhower administration. If we need an NIE for Iran because of its potential for nuclear shenanighans, then we need an NIE for Israel to clarify its nuclear capabilities as well.

  29. J says:

    A new spanner is in the works — IDF chief is enroute to D.C.
    IDF chief heads to Washington to stress Iran dangers to U.S.
    Israel Defense Forces Chief-of-Staff Gabi Ashkenazi on Thursday left for an official visit in the United States in which he is expected to warn American military officials about the efforts in Iran to develop nuclear weapons.
    During his five-day visit, Ashkenazi is scheduled to meet James Jones, U.S. President Barack Obama’s newly-appointed national security adviser, Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff and Dennis Ross, whom U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has appointed to be her Special Advisor for the Gulf and Southwest Asia.
    In addition, Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi will meet with senior American journalists and with the heads of AIPAC, the American pro-Israel lobbyist group.

  30. jr786 says:

    The stakes are an attack on Iran and an ensuing civilizational war with Muslims. That’s it. Dissenting voices will be hounded out in favor of a unified war front, giving Obama the chance to say “I followed the advice given to me”.
    I hope Mr. Freeman becomes a voice from the outside. There are certainly plenty of people who’ve come to their senses because of the treatment he received. Maybe a counter-zionist movement is now possible.

  31. curious says:

    ok. things about to hit the fan. The parade of israel generals has begun.
    if this followed by usual foxnews/rightwing pundit/congress whining about war. Funny reports/think-tanks papers….
    then everybody better gears up for gigantic mess in the middle east.
    1. Escalation of Israel-Iran rethoric
    2. Pakistan-afghanistan mess (at this point. I for one think, we should get out. Because we simply does not put our head in afghanistan pakistan. With the way things are handled we might as well be a frog being slowly boiled in afghanistan.
    3. Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine. The usual Israel related shenanigans.

  32. Castellio says:

    Hey, I really think Homer is on to something –
    “Onward Christian Soldiers” brought to you courtesy of AIPAC !
    Gets a point across rather nicely.

  33. The Zionist Lobby seems right at work in US-UK relations.
    Brits are now being officially scolded by Team Obama for daring to talk to Hizbullah.
    ” But the first serious policy disagreement has emerged over Hezbollah, the Lebanese movement which Washington brands as a terrorist organisation, following the Foreign Office’s announcement last week that it would talk to the political branch of the militant group.
    A senior US government official said that he would like to ask the British to “explain the difference between the political, military and social wings of Hezbollah”, adding, “we don’t see a difference between the integrated leadership that they see”.

  34. G Hazeltine says:

    What changed?
    “A senior U.S. official said Thursday he was unhappy with a British decision to open low-level contact with Hizbullah and suggested London only indirectly informed the new administration ahead of time.
    The remarks contrasted with those last week from the State Department which said U.S. officials had been informed about the move in advance and gave no sign of displeasure — even if Washington was not ready to follow London’s lead.
    The senior U.S. government official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to a group of journalists in Washington, clearly expressed discomfort with the British decision.
    He said he would like the British to explain to him “the difference between the political, military and social wings of Hizbullah because we don’t see a difference between the integrated leadership that they see.”
    In London, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said March 6 that Britain had authorized low-level contact with the political wing of Hizbullah to stress the urgency of disbanding militias.
    The U.S. government official, when asked if London consulted Washington ahead of time, replied: “I would say informed under a previous administration is a more accurate description.”
    He was apparently referring to the administration of President George Bush, which was succeeded January 20 by that of President Barack Obama.
    The official also objected to the glorification in the Hizbullah stronghold of south Beirut of Imad Mughniyeh, the Hizbullah military commander who was killed in a Damascus car bombing in Feb. 2008 that the movement blamed on Israel.
    “For years Hizbullah denied having any knowledge of Imad Mughniyeh, for years Hizbullah pretended that Imad Mughniyeh and that whole era of Hizbullah was not really Hizbullah, it was something else,” the official said.
    “And now all over south Beirut are all these posters extolling the virtues of Imad Mughniyeh,” said the official of the man who made America’s most wanted list for his role in anti-U.S. and anti-Israeli attacks in the 1980s and 1990s.
    When a journalist suggested he did not sound happy with the British decision, he replied: “No.”
    Last week, Gordon Duguid, a State Department spokesman said “we are not ready to take the same step” that the British took, declining to either praise or criticize it.
    However, the Obama administration, which has talked about engaging states hostile to the United States, seemed interested in the results of the British contacts with Hizbullah when Duguid said “we will watch how that proceeds.”
    And in sharp contrast to the senior government official, a State Department official told reporters on the condition of anonymity last week that Washington envisioned possible benefits from the British decision. (AFP)”
    Glen Greenwald had a piece in yesterday on this pernicious anonymity,
    as well as good pieces on Freeman and particularly Schumer in the last few days.

  35. J says:

    There are wonderings if this ‘meet’ between the IDF chief is a ‘liase’ meeting for a Israeli/U.S. joint strike on Iran, or a coordination for an upcoming Israeli strike on Iran.
    Or is he in town to collect more intel from his AIPAC espionage stooges? Or is his trip to D.C. to try and ‘brow beat’ the DNI and our IC into submission to his Israeli nonsensical whims regarding Iran?

  36. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    Surely some high falutin’ person in this great land of ours has the wherewithal to know how to turn the Freeman resignation to the strong advantage of the US. I mean, geez, all them people with fancy cars and law degrees and the such from Georgetown, you’d think…
    Of course, a high falutin Washington type would charge at least 700 dollars an hour and that’s low ballin’ it. And therein lies one potential problem, I suppose. Non group thinking ain’t high falutin’, I am sad to say.

  37. Ralph Hitchens says:

    I’m with those who think that Freeman pulled his own plug. It would have been good for Obama to step up to the plate and stare down the critics, but I really think it’s more a case of Freeman doing a Bobby Inman than the administration kowtowing to the infamous lobby.

  38. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You guys are blaming the usual suspects.
    You are wrong.
    You should direct your ire at Portestant Christians who still think that there is a margin in fighting Islam – or perhaps – they are playing at being Persians a la Cyrus the Great!

  39. stickler says:

    Well, sure, if the President were GOP. But he’s not, and for the most part, organized Protestant wingnuts didn’t vote for him and aren’t part of his electoral coalition.
    But Rahm Emanuel is. Thus the conspiracy theories. Obama’s either playing them (the Likudniks among us) in a long game of chess, or he’s one of them.
    Hard to say which, and Obama’s given us precious little evidence either way to decide.

  40. graywolf says:

    I don’t know how this became so complicated.
    Iran is an enemy of the United States.
    Iran is developing a nuclear weapon.
    Iran has stated it’s intention to destroy Israel.
    Israel is willing to take a shot at stopping Iran.
    America benefits.
    Case closed.
    All this hand-wringing is just that.
    Inside-the-beltway over-complicating self-importance.

  41. David Habakkuk says:

    I have suggested, on other threads, that the directions in which Israel is heading will cause Jewish communities outside the country to split.
    Some remarks from Ambassador Freeman’s interview with Richard Dreyfuss in The Nation reinforce this conviction:
    ‘The only thing I regret is that in my statement I embraced the term ‘Israel lobby.’ This isn’t really a lobby by, for or about Israel. It’s really, well, I’ve decided I’m going to call it from now on the [Avigdor] Lieberman lobby. It’s the very right-wing Likud in Israel and its fanatic supporters here. And Avigdor Lieberman is really the guy that they really agree with. And I think they’re doing Israel in.
    ‘I had a really amazing outpouring of support, privately, not just from individuals, from Jewish-Americans of other views who hope that this was going to open up room for a discussion ….
    ‘Q. Have you heard from members of the Jewish community and Israelis?
    ‘A. Yes, of course, quite a few. Including many of those who are themselves concerned about Israel’s settlement activities and other aspects of the occupation. What it shows is that despite efforts by the ‘Lieberman lobby’ to make it seem like members of the American Jewish community speak with one voice, on behalf of Liebermanesque policies in Israel, in fact the American Jewish community has a broad diversity of opinion, and a good deal of it, maybe a majority, doesn’t agree with this particular perspective and feels terribly afraid that it can’t speak out without being trashed. So you’re either anti-Semitic or you’re a self-hating Jew. Either way it’s an awful accusation to have to endure.’
    What does puzzle me is why anyone should any longer regard the accusation of being either ‘anti-Semitic’ or ‘a self-hating Jew’ as in itself particularly awful.
    As the arguments made against Freeman and his supporters very well illustrate, these accusations are very commonly now either patently disingenuous, or delusional, if not indeed frequently verging on the deranged.
    If people have reason to believe that the charges have substance, in their own case that is one thing: they should indeed be ashamed of themselves. For my own part, I do not, and the likes of Pipes, Dershowitz and Chait, together with their British equivalents, simply inspire contempt.

  42. rjj says:

    I really think it’s more a case of Freeman doing a Bobby Inman than the administration kowtowing to the infamous lobby.

    Would R. Hitchens please clarify this statement?

  43. jonst says:

    Interesting article from Haaretz.
    Here is a quote from the article that, among others, caught my eye:
    “When I was interviewed once by a reporter from the France 1 channel, a commercial channel, at the doorway of a house in Gaza – where the army had killed the only daughter of a paralyzed mother – and I said that it was these sorts of moments that made me feel ashamed to be an Israeli, my words were not broadcast. The reporter phoned me the next day and told me his editors had decided not to include the quote, for fear of viewer response. When I once published an article in the German paper Die Welt, which is part of the publishing group of Axel Springer, where all writers had to sign a pledge that they would never cast doubt on the State of Israel’s right to exist, the editor told me: “If this critical article about the occupation had been written by a German journalist, we would not have published it.”
    The reach is wide. Why? In the end, I still don’t completely get it.

  44. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think you are missing my point.
    Large numbers of Protestant Christians support Israel and not just the so-called Dispensationalists; little blonde suburban housewives that take summer junkets to Palestine and are so thrilled and impressed by the sight of sub-machinegun totting soldiers.
    [75 years ago, the Protestant America, went whole-heartedly for the cause of the (anti-Catholic) Republican Spain
    My question to them and to you is this: Why are they there taking side in that war? It is not their country, it is not their regions of the world, and it is not their religion.
    This is an emotional attachment of Protestant America to the cause of Israel – you cannot, in my opinion, ascribe all of this to AIPAC, the Jewish Lobby etc. regardless of the party in power. Why that is so, I cannot tell.

  45. Babak Makkinejad says:

    And one could make the following case as well:
    US & Israel want to destory Islam – i.e. the Light of God unto Nations.
    Iran and her allies are resisting the forces of Drakness.
    The Jedi Knights must use all means necessary and available to defeat the Empire, Dart Vader, etc.
    Hizbullah and Hamas are willing to fight and die for Islam.
    Islam benefits.
    God will triumph.
    Case was never open.
    Ah! Yes, “The Belt Way” – a little island surrounded by a sea called Reality.

  46. Castellio says:

    Babak, Protestantism is not monolithic… some of the strongest voices for Palestinian justice are found in various Protestant Churches throughout the breadth of the United States… or have you forgotten that?
    No wonder Graywolf is confused, his first three statements starting with “Iran” are wrong.

  47. curious says:

    hah and the machine turns and turns …
    1. parade of Israel general (check)
    2. strangely timed articles in NYT/Wapo (check)
    3. Fox news, book interview (this should come in the few weeks or so, last time)
    4. congress whining about war, reports/stove piping. (early fall)
    5. Obama scandal, before congress vote that leads to war (early next year)
    6. drum of war (run up to mid term)
    If Iran wanted to ease jitters, it could do something very simple: turn its enriched uranium into reactor fuel.
    “We’d hope they’d do it unilaterally, and maybe they will,” R. Scott Kemp, a nuclear expert at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, said in an interview. So far, though, Iran has foregone that step and keeps the door open to further enrich a growing uranium supply. How fast it can do that has also become grist for debate, even among nuclear experts.
    Iran Watch, part of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, says the process would take only two or three months. By contrast, in a recent paper Mr. Kemp and his Princeton colleague Alexander Glaser put the figure between 9 and 36 months.

  48. Jon T. says:

    Just sent, via the ‘White House’ Website, a note which I expect will not matter one whit, incorporating some of the things said here: Freeman’s departure no good; perhaps Emanuel needs to go and be replaced by a single citizenship person; perhaps have an NIE on Israel performed by a team of visionaries, instead of lobbyists, on Israel’s nuclear capabilities and the relationship of that to world stability and US interests; an appeal to Mr Obama to show he did not play me into thinking we had a ‘new kid in town’ when we just really have a Facebook version of Ariel Sharon’s Nightmare; to listen up: Afghanistan devoured the USSR and it is hard to say, really, how much US$ to the mujahadeen did that and how much Afghani warriors and horsemen just will not give in, even if you kill them all. And lastly a request for a blessing from on high as that is all we have in the end, whether we be Zionists, Christians, Muslims, burn outs, Opus Dei, Dispensationalists, Irish….Welcome home Mr. Hendrix and how was your tour of duty?

  49. J says:

    ‘But’ — — — ‘behind the scenes’ of the ‘amen corner’ you are speaking of, is — the Israeli government — ‘g-o-v-e-r-n-m-e-n-t’. The Israeli government is ‘using/abusing’ the U.S.’s ‘Amen corner’s’ religious generocities for their own Israeli government specific objectives.
    Just as Israel’s government ‘buys’ U.S., politicians (using U.S. aid to Israel funds), the Israeli government is using the ‘faith’ of ‘some’ normally well meaning U.S. Christians who unfortunately have never talked with a ‘real’ Orthodox ‘Jewish’ (not Zionist but Jewish) Rabbi who will tell them that the current state of Israel as it exists, the ‘Zionist’ State of Israel is a slap in heaven’s face and should be dissolved. Such true Orthodox will tell you that Israel is supposed to be created by the hand of Heaven, not by the corrupted hand of Zionist men as what currently exists today called Israel.

  50. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Indubitably there are Protestants that remain impartial in regards to the antagonists in Palestine. However, it is my opinion that such peeople are a minority.
    I also would add that this affection for the State of Israel is confined to the Protestanism – the Catholics and Orthodox Christians are out of it.
    I might be wrong – however. I am only expressing my opinion.

  51. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You quoated: “We’d hope they’d do it unilaterally, and maybe they will,” R. Scott Kemp, a nuclear expert at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, said.”
    This is an interesting point since, to my knowledge, Iran does not have a working fuel fabrication facility.
    Perhap EU or US would be willing to sell one to Iran?
    Or better yet – perhaps US will agree to supply, in perpetuity, nuclear fuel to any and all Iranian power reactors if Iranians cease their enrichment on their own soil? [This is a sovereign right that US was not willing to give up in her negogiations with India.]
    As I have written before here – “this ain’t about hunting”.

  52. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Individuals make decisions for good or for ill.
    Blaming Israel, the Zionist Lobby, etc. cannot explain why Truman – a nominal Protestant Christian – put all the might of the United States – against strong advice of real [whisky-drinking] men like Marshall – in support of the creation of State of Israel.
    I am making this point again and again here that religious sentiments and opinions are at work in human history – that you cannot understand history on basis of profit & loss motives.

  53. johnf says:

    >This is an emotional attachment of Protestant America to the cause of Israel
    Barbara Tuchman’s book The Bible and the Sword chronicles the long alliance between British protestants and jews. (Protestants, she argues, are mainly Old Testament-centric and identify with the struggles of historic Israel, Catholics are New Testament-centric). The love affair culminated in the Balfour Declaration.

  54. Will says:

    About time someone brought up Admiral Bobby Inman who was nominated by Clinton, vir, for head spy.
    Nomination came under pressure by scurvy, yellow (Safire) NYT columnist allied w/ heartland GOP senator Bob Dole. It was all payback for Bobby denying access to Israel to far reaching satellite data on Arab countries following Osirik data
    leaks from Pollard like spy.
    In a televised press conference,Inman in so many words said I don’t need this shxt.

  55. Will says:

    i checked the wiki entry of Dennis Cutter Blair. Looked at the revisions and by whom by clicking the history tab. It has been fairly stable for 2009.
    An interesting tidbit from the article
    “Blair was born in Kittery, Maine in 1947, and was a 6th generation naval officer and Great-Great-Great Grandson of Confederate Chief Engineer William Price Williamson of North Carolina, credited with first suggesting that the hull of the USS Merrimack be used to build the Confederate ironclad C.S.S. Virginia. [4] He attended St. Andrew’s School (1964), and, as a classmate of Oliver North and James H. Webb, graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1968.

    Maybe Jim Webb will cover his back. This would be certainly an opportunity for him to shine.

  56. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    Jon T. (and all like-minded posters),
    Well done in registering your views with the White House, but might I suggest that you don’t confine your efforts just to the Executive. Your opinion may matter even more to your Senators and Representative, as they have to face your exercise of the franchise sooner and/or more frequently than does the President. Go to these sites,
    utilize the webforms found there, and give them what’s for, too. Let them know not only your views, but that you ADVOCATE for these views amongst your family and friends (a/k/a, voters), and furthermore, that you will make pointed observations about your representatives’ concordance or lack thereof with those views. Let them do the math. Now, the current reality is that incumbents possess an advantage, but primary challenges can disrupt the rubber stamping. Let them worry about that.

  57. Castellio says:

    Babak, the largest American Protestant church, the Presbyterian, voted on selective divestment from Israel in 2004 as a way to influence the Israeli government.
    Then all hell broke loose.
    It is quite the story.

  58. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The largest American Protestant church is the Southern Baptist Convention with 16,306,246 followed by The United Methodist Church with 7,995,456. The Presbyterian church has only 3,025,740 – a distant 8-th among the Protestant churches.
    My source:

  59. castellio says:

    My mistake. Apologies.

  60. Article on WAPO op-ed about unimportance of the NIC also attacks Blair’s judgement.

  61. different clue says:

    We may not yet be deprived
    of Charles Freeman at NIC. I have an idea….
    Based on the forthrightness of Freeman’s statement of reasons for withdrawing his name, I think he wants the battle over this issue. But he cannot force or wage this battle all by himself. He has lit the flare over the battlefield so we can all see it and those who are able can join the battle. Who can do that and how can they do that?
    This is my idea. How many people could plausibly be on a short list or even a long list to be NIC Chairman? In a community as
    tightknit and everybody-known-to-everybody as the middle and upper reaches of the Diplomatic Corps (serving or retired) has to be; everybody in it must have a good idea of who would be on the lists of plausible nominees. Same for the mid and upper reaches of the Academic and Think Tank/Institute Foreign Policy Intellectual establishment. So…what if
    all these people quietly refused to accept the nomination if it were offered to them? Those not in a mood for the battle citing “family” or “health”; and those in a mood for the battle saying in some polite way that while they are very honored to be offered, they really truly think Freeman would have been the better choice and they just couldn’t bring themselves to try doing a job they know Freeman could have done better? In other words, what if the entire “community” locked arms in a silent secret sit-down strike? And that NIC Chairmanship remained vacant
    until Freeman filled it or until the end of Obama’s term? And what if every serving or retired member of the Intelligence Agencies
    and Departments were to join the secret silent sit-down strike against anyone filling that Chair except Freeman?
    Can unanimous bureau-agency freeze-up force a result? Can filling every lock in every door with elmer’s glue have just as profound an effect as the pull of hidden levers by hidden hands?
    If this idea makes any sense, and if anyone reading this comment has actual connections to people who can spread this idea around to all the people who could actually plan and join such a silent sit-down strike; please feel
    free to take this idea and run with it. If this idea is just silly and would never work in the real world, then I apologize in advance for the time I have caused to be wasted in the reading of it.

  62. David Habakkuk says:

    Babak Makkkinejad, johnf,
    Calvinist Protestants have certainly tended to be strongly focused on the Old Testament: So much so indeed, that on occasion they changed their names to those of Hebrew prophets — like Habakkuk.
    Even after a strong dose of Enlightenment culture, imbibed from an excellent Welsh grammar school and Cambridge, my apparently totally secular father had to be dissuaded by his (Anglican) wife from giving his son the name of another Hebrew prophet (Daniel). The ghost of John Calvin casts a long shadow.
    It is certainly true that this Old Testament orientation has commonly disposed people to like and admire Jews, and can predispose to sympathy with Zionism.
    But of course one potent strand in Christian Zionism is not Old Testament at all, having to do with beliefs about what has to happen prior to the Second Coming of Christ. The readmission of Jews to England in 1656 was linked to the belief of godly Protestants — including Oliver Cromwell — that the conversion of the Jews was necessary before Christ’s return, which they deemed imminent.
    This eschatological aspect is clearly very important in contemporary American Christian Zionism. But are such lunatics reliable supporters of Israel in the long term — or indeed a reliable support for the position of Jews in the United States? What happens when the Second Coming fails to materialise? Perhaps they might start insisting that Jews convert anyway.
    A house built upon sand, I would be inclined to say.
    As to a more mainstream Protestants, opinion in Britain is quite patently increasingly divided, and commonly not on very predictable lines. Not long after the Israeli assault on Gaza I was at a family wedding. I was treated to a recitation of what Henry Siegman calls ‘Israeli’s lies’ by someone I have known for many years, whom I would call a church-going Anglican agnostic.
    A devout Evangelical, who I have also known for years, was clearly very disturbed by the violence of the Israeli assault. And he listened with close attention to my exposition of the disingenuity of Israeli apologias — and when I explained that the claim that Ahmadinejad had talked of wiping Israel off the map was based upon a tendentious mistranslation.
    The fact that events like the bombing of Beirut and the assault on Gaza do not produce instantaneous outrage among everyone does not mean that they have no impact. They have very significant impact, even if it takes time to work through. And the same goes for the appearance of Avigdor Lieberman.
    As I have said before, I think that increasing numbers of British Jews, even among those with traditionally strong Zionist commitments, are going to find it impossible to continue to line up behind an Israel whose face looks increasingly like that Lieberman, and the same goes for British Protestants who have shared that commitment.
    Is the situation really so very different in the United States?

  63. Blair is in hiding now!

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