Milbank's Mountebank Defense of Samantha Power
by DIANA WESTJuly 13, 2013
On July 3, Frank Gaffney organized a press conference at the National Press Club to oppose the nomination of Samantha Power to become US Representative to the United Nations. In addition to Gaffney, Lt. Col. Allen West (USA ret.), Amb. Jose Sorzano, Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin (USA ret.), Mort Klein of the Zionist Organization of America, and I made separate arguments opposing the Power nomination.
CSPAN covered the press conference, which may be watched here.
So did the Washington Post's Dana Milbank, who wrote about it in his next day's column:
Their technique was clear: They would impugn the patriotism of the Irish-born nominee. ...
I was unaware that she was un-American. ...
I asked the speakers whether they really believed she was an enemy of the United States or whether they merely disagreed with her politics.
Milbank's technique was clear, too. There was no substance here; no reflection on why, for example, Samantha Power's "humanitarian" concerns never include violence against Christians or Jews throughout the Middle East. There were only quotations out of context and 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!
(More on "patriotism" below.)
When Milbank did venture into substance, he misrepresented it, perhaps to keep his readers angry at those "impugning" conservatives.
Their support for these accusations was thin, principally a 2002 interview, since disavowed by Power, in which she called for aid "not in servicing Israel's military, but actually investing in the new state of Palestine," and said that she might recommend a policy that would involve "alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import."
To have written such a statement in good conscience, Milbank must have stuck his fingers into his ears during Mort Klein's presentation as Klein read a list of other Power statements. Even focusing on the 2002 statement, however, Milbank omitted quite a lot.
Power was calling for "billions" in aid for a Palestinian state, and, as Klein pointed out, she made this comment during a horrendous time of Palestinian intifada terrorism against civilians in Israel.
More important, though, Milbank "forgot" to include the part of Power's quotation, referenced at least twice during the press conference, where she discussed the need to introduce "a mammoth [US] protection force" to protect Palestinians from Israelis.
For the record, Power went on in that 2002 quotation: "I mean, it's a terrible thing to do, its fundamentally undemocratic, but, sadly, we don't just have democracy here, either, we have a liberal democracy, there are certain sets of principles that, guide, you know, our policy, or they're meant to anyway and its essential that some set of principles become the benchmarks rather than deference to people who are fundamentally politically destined to destroy the lives of their own people and by that I mean what Tom Friedman has called ‘Sharafat.' "
Egregious equivalence between the Israeli prime minister and an arch terrorist aside -- Power's ever-present inclination to intervene on behalf of "some set of principles" -- Power's -- is one of the things that should give pause to lawmakers charged with considering her elevation in the US national security power circles.
To Milbank, however, raising such flags is automatically impugning her patriotism, and, thus, raising such flags is wrong.
I would like to know how "patriotism" became the fulcrum of Milbank' discussion in the first place. If, as it seems eminently fair to say, Power seeks to increase the powers of global government at the UN, she is also simultaneously seeking to decrease the powers, the sovereignty, of the USA. Does such a policy even come under the rubric of "patriotism"? If so, how? Perhaps we denizens of what some describe as "Post-America" should be discussing whether a "globalist" can also be a "patriot." Then again, that might take us too close to a clear definitions of globalists and patriots, collectivists and individualists, central control and liberty. As Saul Alinsky in our time (like Lenin in his) knew, clarity impedes radicalism's (read: globalism, collectivism, totalitarianism, Marxism...) advance.
Better to keep everything fuzzy, either on purpose or as a reflex, and offer "patriorism" to globalist Power as her refuge from criticism.
He went on:
Critics of Power won't get far simply by saying they disagree with her philosophy because it closely tracks that of the president.
This is probably true. But whether crtiics "get far" has nothing to do with delegitimizing the case against Power -- which is also the conservative case against UN global governance, and for American sovereignty and the Constitution. Not incidentally, both American sovereignty and the Constitution are undermined and eroded by enhancing the powers of the UN as Samantha Power hopes to do. That's a non-impugning fact.
Here is some additional evidence of what a UN Amb. Power might try to bring about if confirmed. It comes from an excerpt of CSPAN call-in show on which Power appeared in 2004.
1) Increase powers of UN:
Samantha Power: The extent to which the UN is actually a building rather than an actor in and of itself is worth stressing. I mean, It's a building where states come together to decide what they want to do ultimately and that should change but it hasn't changed yet.
Caller: I blame the UN for our problem in Iraq, I blame it for the massacre in Rwanda. These things should not have happened. Every country that belongs to the UN, they should have troops set aside to be ready to go for any problems regarding the United Nations ... how do you feel about that?
2) Favors standing UN army
Samantha Power: ... It sounds like what you're describing actually is not the United Nations as an institution, but is the failure of the states within it to give troops to a merely humanitarian cause -- such as genocide prevention, or nation-building, postwar occupation, or reconstruction. ... You're right, you're totally right that the United Nations doesn't have a standing army. And the only thing I guess I would challenge or ask for further clarification on is, Who is it that is depriving the UN of having those troops at its disposal? And it is, unfortunately, I think, the member states of the UN.
3) Reform Security Council -- remove US?
Samantha Power: What I would say about the UN that does seem very much in need of reform is the fact that we have a Security Council that makes decisions about when ethnic cleansing, let's say, has risen to the level that warrants external, international force. To have on the Security Council Russia, which is arguably committing something bordering of genocide in Chechnya, certainly massive crimes against humanity; China, one of the great human rights abusers of our time; the United States -- not in their category in terms of human rights abuses but as a bypasser of international law and international institutions; France an utter WWII anachronism that has I think overstayed its welcome on the Security Council in terms of actually making it a represntative body, a body representative power, and a legitimate body in the world.
This is a flawed institution that I think really needs work, and attention, rapid attention. And I would agree with you that if we could get a first order of priotirty if we're actually serious about genocide prevention ... that one of the first things we should be doing is rolling up our sleeves and saying what countries now will put their money ... and their manpower where their mouths are? Are we prepared to put at the disposal of the Secretary General of the UN a standing army of five to ten thousand troops? It doesn't have to include Americans. South Africans, Canadianas Swedes. There are a number of countries that have actually equipped themselves very well in peacekeeping situations and who do seem to be ready to put troops on the line on behalf of things that don't directly implicate their national interests because they have a better, a sense of their nations as being a part of a global community and where human interests bear indirectly perhaps in the long term on national interest.
So I'm with you in terms of the importance of a standing army but I just do want to again come back to the fact that it's domestic politics in each of the UN's member states that is having grave bearing on what comes out of the UN.
Sounds as if "patriotism" to Samantha Power comes down to "domestic politics" (the democratic process?), which only gets in the way of the "global community" exercising its might on behalf of "human interests" as undemocratically defined by Power and likeminded global-crats.
Back to Milbank.
Instead, they are using a method against Power that they have often used against Obama: That she is something alien, something other than a patriotic American.
This evasion of the issues at stake -- sovereignty vs. the erosion of sovereignty, the powers of a constitutional republic vs. the powers of the UN Security Council -- does sound tiresome at this point.
Much of the participants' hostility toward Power was better directed toward the United Nations itself, which they see as a threat to American sovereignty. Diana West informed the audience that Alger Hiss was "the person in charge of shaping" the United Nations and that "we have been ill-served by the United Nations, by our involvement with the United Nations."
Hooray! I wonder when the last time Hiss the Soviet agent was connected to the UN in the MSM? Ever? Milbank sees fit not to identify Hiss, who was, as we are conditioned never to notice, a Soviet agent working for Stalin, not FDR, when he oversaw the formation of the UN -- among other nefarious accomplishments as revealed in Stanton Evans and Herb Romerstein's book Stalin's Secret Agents.
She said Power, likewise, supports "an ideology that we call 'humanitarian,' but happens to mesh very neatly and alarmingly so, in my view, with the basis of world governance and these kinds of Marxist-Leninist notions."
Certainly, Power is idealistic, and she believes in international cooperation and humanitarian intervention.
"Idealistic"? "International cooperation"? Such happy talk passes for Washington Post analysis.
The conservatives are entitled to disagree.
But this doesn't make Power a Marxist, or someone "who reviles American greatness," as Gaffney put it in a letter to the Senate signed by the likes of Phyllis Schlafly, Richard Viguerie and Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
The contempt may drip ("the likes of..." ??) but it doesn't strengthen what is at its essence an Orwellian argument: Globalism is patriotism.
Woe to those who point out the difference.