Benjamin J. Rhodes was just a run-of-the-mill New York prep school kid working on a novel, when the events of 9/11 changed him forever. Now an intervention-favoring deputy national security adviser for the President, Rhodes, 35, is filled with anguish at the suffering of people the world over, trying to be free:
"It's hard for Ben in the same way it's hard for the president," said Denis R. McDonough, the White House chief of staff, who worked closely with Mr. Rhodes in his previous job as the principal deputy national security adviser. "He cares about people. You can't see what's happening in Syria and not be torn by it. At the same time, he's very realistic."
Rhodes, who moved to Washington in 2001, apparently has the President's ear when it comes to policy, and has favored such can't-miss policies like arming the opposition to Qaddaffi in Libya (which has totally worked out for Mali), and now is pushing the President towards arming the Syrian opposition. Nowhere in the glowing New York Times profile does it mention his support of drone strikes, the collateral of which probably appeals more to his realistic side, than the "caring about people" one.
Rhodes is currently helping to prepare a speech that Obama will give in Jerusalem next week that will reiterate the United States' "unshakable support for Israel."
His novel, "Oasis of Love," which is about "a woman who joins a megachurch in Houston, breaking her boyfriend's heart," remains unfinished.