« WaPo, NYT spike coverage of Obama Admin Denunciation of Abbas, Palestinian Authority | Graph of the Day for April 10, 2010 »
April 9, 2010
Does it bother anyone that this person is the Deputy National Security Adviser?
Another empty suit in a key Obama Administration policy position was in the news today, as another Obama policy fails. In reading an article today on Russia saying "nyet" to refined petroleum sanctions on Iran, I was reminded of Ben Rhodes, about whom I have written before as part of the coterie of Lee Hamilton acolytes that serve in key positions in the Obama foreign policy and national security apparatus. Rhodes serves as the Deputy National Security Adviser (another Hamiltonian is Denis McDonough, the National Security Council Chief of Staff).
Hamilton's role in this administration has received very little attention, as befits an eminence grise. Recall, that James Baker and Lee Hamilton were chosen to head the Iraq Study Group. They produced a report that advocated outreach towards Iran and Syrian, pressure on Israel, and appeasement of terrorists. Later, Lee Hamilton wrote a very positive blurb for a book that was a paean to Hezbollah.
But back to Rhodes-who was one of the key drafters of the Iraq Study Group final report.
Here is Rhodes agreeing with Russian President Medvedev:
But Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes agreed with Mr. Medvedev that sanctions should not "bring widespread suffering" to the Iranian people or be designed to bring down the Tehran regime.
No...would not want to produce regime change or anything like that; better to keep in place a regime that is the number one terror sponsor in the world, tortures its own people, and is building the Bomb.
Who is Ben Rhodes and what qualifies him to be the Deputy National Security Adviser?
He was Barack Obama's speechwriter (albeit, on foreign policy topics) during the campaign. He also played a role in the Cairo speech that presented a highly fictionalized history of both Islam (praised it for accomplishments that were not Islam's) and Israel (a legacy of the Holocaust guilt).
Maybe he has a certain talent for fiction. After all, it was only a few years ago that "he was an aspiring fiction writer working on a novel called "The Oasis of Love" about a megachurch in Houston, a dog track and a failed romance.
Rhodes has enjoyed a rapid rise -- because why?
Granted he is quite the wordsmith. That must qualify him for one of the top jobs involving our national security. It must have been a symbiotic relationship -- a talented speechwriter with a talented speech reader.
Does Rhodes have any educational experience or military experience or, for that matter, international experience? No... on all three counts.
His bio, such as it is:
Rhodes had just earned a master's degree in fiction writing from New York University when he was offered a job as a writer for Hamilton in 2002. A Manhattan native, Rhodes went on to write the Iraq Study Group Report and help draft policy recommendations for the 9/11 Commission, which Hamilton co-chaired.
Rhodes keeps in regular contact with Hamilton, who said Obama has thanked him "for making Ben available."
Rhodes said Hamilton still reviews Obama's major foreign policy addresses.
"We run most of the big foreign policy speeches by him," he said. "Just kind of like, ‘What do you think of this?'"
So far Obama's Iraq speech has been the most meaningful for Rhodes. Aides credit him with the part where Obama spoke directly to the Iraqi people. Rhodes is also behind Obama's telling the story of two Marines who died trying to stop a suicide bomber from entering an American military compound in Iraq.
During "the download" Obama had told Rhodes he wanted to end on the troops.
"I literally just spent a lot of time Googling," Rhodes said.
From fiction writing (displayed so well in the Cairo speech and the Iraq Study Group) to Deputy National Security Adviser-and he is all of 32 years old. And he is the Deputy national Security Adviser with grave responsibilities for our security.
But rest assured, it is not like experience or accomplishments matter these days.