Ben Rhodes is Barack Obama’s Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting. Yes, that is his official title and it is a mouthful. Why not just simplify it and call him what he really is? Assistant liar and manipulator.
According to the White House website, Rhodes oversees the president’s national security communications, speechwriting and global engagement. It was Rhodes’ task to sell the Iran nuclear deal and according to a May 5 New York Times bio and article about Mr. Rhodes, written by David Samuels, the deputy national security advisor did a pretty good job. Oh, he didn’t involve himself with what was really within the deal, he simply sold it, and he did so with manipulation and lies.
Rhodes markets what the president sells, and because liar in chief Obama used Rhodes’ words knowing they were untrue, the president manipulated and lied as well. Those two are perfect for each other. In fact, Samuels says most everyone with whom he spoke said Rhodes has a “mind meld” with Obama.
When the nuclear deal was first peddled as a possibility, the narrative was that because there was a more “moderate” Iran, post the crazies who had held office, a reasonable, more malleable element had come into power.
On July 14, 2015, Obama said, “Today, after two years of negotiations, the United States, together with our international partners, has achieved something that decades of animosity has [sic] not.” Samuels calls this misleading, “because the most meaningful part of the negotiations with Iran had begun in mid-2012, many months before Rouhani and the “moderate” camp were chosen in an election among candidates handpicked by Iran’s supreme leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.”
I do not call the president’s words misleading, I call them a lie. Indeed as Samuels reports, in July of 2012, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent her aide Jake Sullivan to Oman to meet with Iranian officials to see if they could negotiate a nuclear agreement.
To Rhodes and his boss, withdrawing from the Middle East (and pretty much the world) was so important, that it justified lying, because telling the truth for truth’s sake was simply not possible. Nuclear centrifuges, Iranian hegemony, being able to trust the Iranians down the line? Nah, not interested. Rhodes actually admitted the US did not believe that those with whom the deal was made would moderate, but would likely stay what they were, the largest state sponsor of terrorism.
Rhodes said, “Look, with Iran, in a weird way, these are state-to-state issues. They’re agreements between governments. Yes, I would prefer that it turns out that Rouhani and Zarif” — Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister — “are real reformers who are going to be steering this country into the direction that I believe it can go in, because their public is educated and, in some respects, pro-American. But we are not betting on that.”
If Obama and his staff didn’t trust the Iranians to change their criminal terrorist behavior, then why in heaven’s name make an agreement with them about the most destructive weapons ever created? Incredible.
To Rhodes, spinning and winning the debate is more important than the substance and cost-benefits of the argument. And to Rhodes, it’s easy to fool the liberal press to have them report things as he wishes. He has no respect for them.
Samuels again: “Rhodes singled out a key example to me one day, laced with the brutal contempt that is a hallmark of his private utterances. “All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus,” he said. “Now they don’t. They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo. Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.
““The easiest way for the White House to shape the news, he explained, is from the briefing podiums, each of which has its own dedicated press corps. “But then there are sort of these force multipliers,” he said, adding, “We have our compadres, I will reach out to a couple people, and you know I wouldn’t want to name them — ”
““We created an echo chamber,” he admitted, when I asked him to explain the onslaught of freshly minted experts cheerleading for the deal. “They were saying things that validated what we had given them to say.””
So, not only had the administration lied about prevention becoming containment, and not only had they lied about whether there would be “anytime, anywhere” inspections (US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said it was part of the agreement, Rhodes said that was never even sought, as if that makes it better), and more, Obama lied about when the negotiations started and about the Iranians moderating.
All for the win, who cares about the danger?
But does it matter? Does it make a difference when the negotiations started, and does it matter that the administration never believed the Iranians would change? Of course it does, or why lie about it? Barack Obama and his fellow liars, Ben Rhodes, Hillary Clinton and Secretary of State John Kerry, needed to feed the American people a narrative that would sell.
Now what about Hillary? After waffling a bit, no doubt looking to see where the wind blew, last summer, the Democratic candidate for president came out in support of the agreement and even took some credit for it. It is not a surprise that she was in on the deceit. Hillary Clinton is an expert liar.
The left liked to shout, “Bush lied, people died” about the Iraq War. One day tragically, it is very possible a nuclear device, perhaps a dirty bomb, will be used somewhere, and the bomb or its components will be traced back to Iran, the same Iran allowed and enabled to continue its nuclear weapons program by liars and manipulators who had more hope than brains, caring more for a win and a legacy, than the lives of those endangered by the worst and most treacherous regime on earth. Will the left shout then? Don’t bet on it.