Most Americans agree that the greatest problem America faces right now is a faltering economy. One would never know that by looking at NRO’s Corner from 4:54 pm to 6:21 pm on Thursday, February 26. A visitor to the Corner at that time would conclude that the greatest threat to the Republic is the appointment of the former ambassador to China and Saudi Arabia, Charles Freeman, to head the National Intelligence Council. During that time, Freeman’s appointment was the subject of five posts, two from Michael Rubin, two from Jonah Goldberg, and one from Mark Steyn. The grave threat posed by Freeman would probably come as news to most Americans; indeed, most Americans (I include myself) have probably never heard of Freeman before.
And why is Freeman so awful? Well, Jonah Golbderg quotes Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic referring to Freeman’s “well-known hostility to Israel,” and Goldberg quotes a reader wondering if John Mearsheimer, co-author of a book critical of the Israel lobby, will be Obama’s next appointee. Mark Steyn then argues that “Being on the House of Saud’s payroll, directly or indirectly, should render one ineligible for subsequent government service.”
Funny, I don’t remember Steyn complaining about Richard Perle’s government service, even though an FBI wiretap recorded Perle discussing classified information with the Israeli embassy in the 1970. Nor do I remember Steyn, or anyone at National Review, complaining that Perle, Douglas Feith, and David Wurmser, all of whom served in the late, unlamented Bush administration, wrote an analysis for Benjamin Netanyahu, then the Prime Minister of Israel, arguing that toppling Saddam Hussein would be good for Israel, and later urged the Bush Administration to carry out that policy, a policy that has so far cost thousands of American lives and billions of American dollars. It appears, then, that National Review does not regard close ties to Israel as an impediment to government service. In fact, judging from the hysteria over Freeman, National Review regards such ties as a prerequisite for government service, something the rest of us should keep in mind the next time National Review begins beating the drums for war in the Middle East.