The Senate confirmation hearings for John Brennan to head the CIA Thursday present a rare opportunity for bipartisan unity on Capitol Hill. Each party has its own particular reasons to oppose him: liberals are outraged by his record on interrogation and drones; conservatives are infuriated by his posture of appeasement towards radical Islam and Iran. And there is near-universal alarm at his alleged involvement in security leaks.
It is no secret why President Barack Obama picked Brennan for the job. Brennan has been an obedient political servant for the White House, defending some of its most controversial policies, twisting his own past positions (e.g. on waterboarding) to suit the administration’s talking points. As Steven Emerson documents extensively, Brennan’s eager enthusiasm for outreach to the Muslim world matches Obama’s own priorities.
Brennan perfectly epitomizes the schizophrenia of the Obama administration in the war on terror–itself a term that has been abandoned for political correctness, even as Bush administration policies on surveillance, targeted killings, and war powers have been extended and expanded. The unifying theme is not strategy, but political expediency, as Obama tried to balance a policy of appeasement with an image of military toughness.