Martin Kramer compiles the wit and wisdom of Chas Freeman on 9/11. Freeman is of course the Obama administration appointee to head the National Intelligence Council. Kramer evokes Freeman’s standing as the Saudi/Manchurian candidate with quotes faithfully toeing the Saudi line on al Qaeda. Freeman baldly contradicts himself like a Communist fellow traveler following the twists and turns of the Soviet Union’s line on Nazi Germany.
Kramer finds himself unable to account for one version of Freeman’s take on 9/11. Kramer describes it as “so bizarre that I don’t know quite how to categorize it.” At a panel discussion that he hosted in October 2005, Freeman pronounced this verdict on 9/11: “What 9/11 showed is that if we bomb people, they bomb back.”
Ed Morrissey comments on Freeman’s verdict as a historical observation and finds it wanting:
Starting in 1993, al-Qaeda conducted a series of attacks on American targets, including the World Trade Center, Khobar Towers, two American embassies in Africa, and the USS Cole. We didn’t attempt to bomb them until 1998, when we missed them entirely, thanks to a collapse in operational security. We didn’t bomb the Saudis or Yemenis at any point, the two nationalities to which Osama bin Laden can lay claim, or Egypt, where Ayman al-Zawahiri was born.
In a sense Freeman’s verdict on 9/11 crudely harks back to W.H. Auden’s absolution of Nazi Germany in “September 1, 1939” just after the invasion of Poland. Auden too sought to unearth the cause of what appeared to be inexplicable aggression. He pronounced: “Those to whom evil is done/Do evil in return.”
However, Auden subsequently repudiated the poem and eventually struck it from the collections of his poems over which he had control. The shame Auden felt over the poem derived in part from his glib attribution of responsibility for the evils of Nazism to the victors of World War I. Whatever Auden’s failures in the poem, they are mitigated by the fact that he came to understand them relatively quickly.
In any event, no one ever nominated Auden to exercise power in a high public office. Freeman’s “bizarre” verdict on 9/11, to borrow Kramer’s description, finds it a fate that America deserved. It is a calumny that among other things renders him unfit for office.
To comment on this post, go here.