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Chas Freeman, Before and After 9/11

11:21 AM, Mar 7, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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Martin Kramer quotes Chas Freeman, in 1998, explaining al Qaeda's rationale for violence:

Mr. bin Laden's principal point, in pursuing this campaign of violence against the United States, has nothing to do with Israel. It has to do with the American military presence in Saudi Arabia, in connection with the Iran-Iraq issue. No doubt the question of American relations with Israel adds to the emotional heat of his opposition and adds to his appeal in the region. But this is not his main point.

And then he quotes Freeman on the same subject in 2004:

The heart of the poison is the Israel-Palestinian conundrum. When I was in Saudi Arabia, I was told by Saudi friends that on Saudi TV there were three terrorists who came out and spoke. Essentially the story they told was that they had been recruited to fight for the Palestinians against the Israelis, but that once in the training camp, their trainers gradually shifted their focus away from the Israelis to the monarchy in Saudi Arabia and to the United States. So the recruitment of terrorists has a great deal to do with the animus that arises from that continuing and worsening situation.

Kramer explains, "the difference between them is 9/11, when it became the Saudi line to point to Israel's conflict with the Palestinians as the "root cause" of the September 11 attacks....if the National Intelligence Council and its products are to earn the respect of the American people, the NIC director cannot be suspected of ever having deliberately twisted the truth into something else for our consumption, especially on a crucial issue of national security and at the behest of foreign interests."

Another Freeman quote Kramer digs up: "What 9/11 showed is that if we bomb people, they bomb back." Is that the kind of analysis that Freeman will bring to the National Intelligence Council? And who did we bomb to deserve that lesson?

Read Kramer's excellent post here.