The deep meaning of Ben Rhodes

Obama national security adviser and voluble liar Ben Rhodes declined the invitation to appear before the House Oversight Committee to testify on “White House narratives on the Iran deal” last week, but Michael Doran accepted. The hearing was occasioned by David Samuels’s illuminating New York Times profile of Rhodes.

You may recall that White House flack Josh Earnest asserted that committee member Ken Buck and others were lying about the deal because they asserted Iran would receive a (non)signing bonus of $100 or $150 billion in connection with the deal. Yet the administration’s friends in the Iranian regime support this widely reported fact, as the Washington Post noted in “Iran claims $100 billion now freed in major step as sanctions roll back?

Who zoomin’ who? Well, I think that’s one question to which we know the answer.

The text of Doran’s written testimony is posted here. The video of the hearing in its entirety is below.

With a little help from our friends at IsraellyCool, here is a helpful summary of Doran’s testimony:

The strategic goal of the President, Doran says, was to end the conflict with Iran in order to extricate the US from the Middle East and make Iran part of the “security architecture of the region.” To do this, he misrepresented not only what was in the deal itself, but everything around it.

Doran identified five components of the deception:

Conjuring moderates within the Iranian government. This created a false moral equivalence between those opposed to deal in the US and Iranian hardliners, as well as a false sense of security about the concessions the US has made.

Falsifying the chronology of negotiations, which started prior to Rouhani’s assuming office.

Erasing US concessions.

Hiding the regional cost, in particular with respect to Syria. Rhodes, Doran argues, tried to prevent people from connecting Obama’s Syria policy to his Iran policy (as Doran correctly identified over a year ago).

Blaming the US’s Sunni Muslim allies as well as Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Finally, Doran points out that even today, we still don’t know the full terms of the deal.

This all follows Doran’s indispensable 2015 Mosaic essay “Obama’s secret Iran strategy.” Tom Nichols now seconds Doran in the Federalist column “The Iran deal wasn’t about nukes at all.”

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