Something a little different: Instead of writing a column opposing the nomination of Samantha Power to become U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, I appeared on a panel in Washington, D.C., last week to state the case. My co-panelists were some very illustrious Americans, including organizer Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy, retired Army Lt. Col. Allen West, former U.N. Ambassador Jose Sorzano, Lt. Gen. William G. “Jerry” Boykin (U.S. Army retired) and Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America.
C-SPAN covered the press conference, which may be watched at the C-SPAN website. So did Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, who wrote: “Their technique was straightforward: They would impugn the patriotism of the Irish-born nominee. … I asked the speakers whether they really believed that she was an enemy of the United States or whether they merely disagreed with her politics.”
Milbank’s technique was clear, too. He would use push-button terms to fry the mental circuits of the reader: How hateful conservatives are for impugning the patriotism of anyone they merely disagree with!
When Milbank did venture into substance, he misrepresented it, maybe to keep readers a-boil over those “impugning” conservatives. For example, regarding a statement Samantha Power made in 2002 – by the way, a horrendous time of Palestinian intifada terrorism against civilians in Israel – Milbank forgot to mention that besides calling for “billions” in U.S. aid for “a new state of Palestine,” Power also called for “a mammoth [U.S.] protection force” to protect Palestinians from Israelis.
Power acknowledged such measures would be “fundamentally undemocratic,” but, she said, “it’s essential that some set of principles become the benchmarks rather than deference to people (in Israel and the Palestinian Authority) who are fundamentally, politically destined to destroy the lives of their own people, and by that I mean what (columnist) Tom Friedman has called ‘Sharafat.’”
Egregious equivalence between then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat aside, Power’s ever-present inclination to intervene on behalf of “some set of principles” – her own – is just one of the things that should give pause to lawmakers as they consider her elevation in the national security hierarchy.
Milbank, however, says raising such flags impugns her patriotism and is therefore wrong.