Tom Donilon does Brookings

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 3:59 AM

This afternoon I caught the last few minutes of Tom Donilon's talk at the Brookings Institute regarding "Iran's Nuclear Programs". The event took place yesterday. You may not know who Donilon is. He works at the White House as Peace Prize Obama's chief national security advisor. He replaced retired Marine General Jim Jones in that job in October 2010. 

Donilon is a Washington lawyer, a partner at the prestigious, well-connected firm of O’Melveny & Myers. He worked at Fannie Mae as a registered lobbyist from 1999 to 2005. He has no particular expertise in foreign affairs, although he was chief of staff to Secretary of State Warren Christopher in the Bubba Clinton Administration. 

I was already depressed by any number of outrageous remarks made by the Presidential hopefuls in the Republican "debate" last night. They must of necessity dumb-down, shamelessly wave the flag, and speak in harsh generalities when it comes to foreign affairs. But what excuse does Tom Donilon have for spouting nonsense? (Watch the C-SPAN video.) He is not an ignoramus or a politician. 

Or is he? His remarks on Iran amount to a campaign speech on behalf of Obama. In line with the untruths of the Republican hopefuls (excepting Dr. Ron Paul), Tom Donilon's outlook is incendiary and aggressive. That is what the Israel Lobby wants, and both political parties are damn well going to deliver it to reap the rewards.

Donilon was careful never to use the word "weapon" or "weaponry" during the time I watched. It was always Iranian "ambitions" and "programs". He is pretending. It was taken for granted that the mindless, confrontational policy toward Iran, inherited from Bush and Clinton, was the right and noble course of action for America. We are dealing with self-delusion and malfeasance. Or just domestic politics.

The parallels to the Iraq adventure are too glaring to mention. The powers-that-be in Washington must think they can get away with it a second time. They can. Who will stop them? I noted that Kenneth Pollack sat in the front row and was part of the entourage which escorted Donilon out of the room on his hurried way back to the White House. Pollack is the director of the Saban Center at Brookings. The fix is in. It could be just a case of careerism at work. Still, in my book this mischief-making is over-the-top and criminal.