An intriguing comment from Michael Goldfarb in this American Prospect roundtable on the future of the Air Force:
I love the bit about taking apart government institutions that “outlive their usefulness or fail as experiments,” and I’m loathe to discourage the Prospect from staking out such a bold, Reaganesque position, but the Air Force makes a lousy target for our new consensus push against useless government bureaucracies. Maybe we could first go after the CIA or the Department of Education?
Did I miss the memo where the right wing declared war on the CIA? I understand there was that whole Valerie Plame unpleasantness, but this is the first I have heard even jokes about dismantling the CIA. Is this a new thing, or was I not paying attention? I remember rumblings about there being an ‘internal war’ at CIA and State, but I dismissed that as the crazies who just have a tantrum every time anyone even dares question the wisdom of Bush and his inner circle.
Or have the neo-cons just decided that intelligence gathering agencies run by people more scrupulous than Doug Feith get in the way of launching wars, and as such, need to go?’
*** Update ***
BTW, Daniel Larison points out that the recent poll stating 52% of the public supports a military strike against Iran is actually a dip from just 9 months ago.
You must not have been paying attention. The standard right-wing line for years has been that the CIA is a bunch of wild-eyed hippies trying to undermine the Commander in Chief at every turn. That’s why Cheney had to put together his own intellgence agency to feed him answers he liked.
We liberals were confused at first, since we’d not generally viewed the CIA as being on our side. Things became even more confusing at some point after the war started going badly, when suddenly the right-wingers turned 180 degrees from saying the CIA was refusing to admit that Saddam had WMDs to saying the whole WMD idea was the CIA’s fault. Regardless, the CIA in the right-wing worldview has been opposed to Bush, and thus by definition liberal, for years.
I thought the standard right-wing line was that the Cole bombing was a direct result of Carter and Clinton gutting the CIA, which made us look weak, which is the Islamofascist equivalent of waving a red flag in front of a bull.
Now the True Believers want to defund the Cool Secret Agent Guys? Haven’t they read any Tom Clancy lately? Clearly, their fondest dream is that any day now Osama will sneak up behind your wife and shove a burqa on her just like Borat did to Pamela Anderson.
Because he knows we’re weak.
Republican – Intelligence! Some things just don’t go together.
So, YEA, I get why the Republicans want to get rid of the Central INTELLIGENCE Agency.
There’s been a meme about the CIA being composed of a bunch of rogue, anti-Bush elements for several years now. It’s why Porter Goss got brought in to clean house.
Cripes, John, if these people have no compunction about outing someone who was running the intel network that was tasked with seeing if Saddam still had any workable WMD left from the stockpiles Ronnie and Rummy gave him (not to mention publishing your private info!), what does give them pause?
That’s what really torques me about the whole Plame thing: When they trashed her, they destroyed the one group of people that was doing the most to actually validate their pretext for invading Iraq. (Oh, and the lives of any Iraqis who knew Plame or any of her contacts in the Middle East probably weren’t worth a plugged nickel once Dick Cheney declared her “fair game”.) That tells me that they really didn’t give a rat’s ass about WMD or Saddam or anything else but whipping out their schlongs and smacking people in the face with them.
maxbaer (not the original)
Bush and the neocons don’t need no steenking intelligence. They just ask God who to bomb next.
Duh John this is also part of Junior’s need to one up daddy. After all Daddy headed the CIA so let’s trash it too.
What max said. The CIA did two things. Analysis and Operations.
You don’t need analysts to tell you that Iran is the greatest threat since sliced bread. Policy is better set by Hoover, AIPAC and the Weekly Standard.
As for operations, Rummy took that over a long time ago and made a new agency. We don’t even know where or what that is now.
A link for you to catch up on:
Yup, Daddy Warbucks Bush ran the CIA, so it is a given that Sonny Boy Bush loathes them. Intelligence? They have their own neo-con intelligence, thank you. They create their own reality, and we are to sit back and study it (and be in awe). I have heard lots of right wing rumblings against the CIA, and they had the audacity to revolt against Porter Goss. All he was trying to do is stack the deck at the CIA, and the
intelligent peopleBush haters there fought back.
Bush, Cheney, the neo-cons and the social conservatives have basically destroyed the republican party. It is a mish-mash of backwash now, nothing cohesive, weak and ineffective.
I don’t know if the republican party will recover, but I can bet that as long as the social conservatives have their way in the party, there is no chance of it recovering.
The only thing that may save it right now is another 9-11. I don’t like that.
The Other Steve
Allow me to introduce you to Team B
What was Team B? A group of people who claimed the CIA vastly underestimated the threat of the Soviet Union.
Who was on Team B? Well you probably will recognize Paul Wolfowitz, and Douglas Feith was a staffer… and Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were a big fans.
I’m surprised you’ve never heard of this. Hugh Hewitt remembers it fondly
History has shown Team B was wrong.
In the minds of the Right, neither agency serves a useful purpose despite pimping both for more tax dollars on projects key GOP supporters benefit from.
The thought police have come and boy are they dumb.
The Other Steve
As far as the Air Force is concerned, they’ve long had an identity crisis.
The problem is, it’s composed of a bunch of people who dream of being Snoopy fighting the red baron in the sky. I think it would be a mistake to dismantle the Air Force, but there ought to be an effort to have them work much more closely with the Army.
The Army has for years tried to eliminate the Air force by working on chopper designs like the Apache, which turned out to be utter failures compared to the A-10. Ohwell.
Don’t mess with the spooks. That’s how president’s up end up…well you know, just ask JFK.
The only thing that may save it right now is another 9-11. I don’t like that.
Between the considerable percentage of the American population who suspects that 9/11 was, if not an inside job, at least avoidable if the people in the Oval Office had been paying attention, and the Heartlanders who voted for Bush in 2004 “because he’s the only one who can prevent another 9/11″… Well, if there’s another successful terrorist incident on American soil before January 2009, pitchforks & torches outside the White House security barriers would not be a surprise. Which doesn’t mean the remaining ratfckers would be too squeamish to *try* it, but then again, everyone who might possibly be smart enough to carry out a(nother) false-flag operation without ending up on “Cops”, or possibly “America’s Funniest Home Videos”, has already left to spend more time with Andrew Card’s family.
The AF would have loved to get rid of the A-10 before. The Army could only build choppers, so they overshot trying to build things to lesson their AF dependency. Now we have a struggle between the AF and Army over UAVs.
The ‘Fighter Mafia’ that runs the AF is more interested in building billion-dollar paperweights (F-22, F-35) against non-existent threats, ergo, they should go the way of the dodo.
There’s been a saying for awhile that “the last fighter pilot has been born”. Can’t come a day too soon.
Apparently there are more than “rumblings” at State. Did anyone catch Countdown tonight? About 200 veteran foreign service people received notices that they would be subject to assignment to the embassy in Bagdhad and if they refused such posting, they could be fired. There was quite a revolt at the State Department. It seems they think this posting could be dangerous and wonder why the embassy has not been closed down. Go figure.
From what I have read, the USAF academy in Colorado is turning into a theological home for the social conservatives to raise the next Air Force for God.
I am a member of other forums (not politically related), and I have seen several USAF academy members signatures are ‘very religious’, lets say. It goes with other things I have been reading regarding the academy in Colorado.
Nothing against religion, but with some christians intent on making the second coming happen (apocalypse and all), I really am uncomfortable with that.
CIA has been on the rightwing hitlist for some time. Yes, you haven’t been paying attention.
For someone of your standing not to be aware of the 3 decade old war between the neocons and the CIA is somewhat embarassing, John. The whole thing started under the Ford administration; one juicy tidbit involves a war between the then Secretary of Defense and the then head of the CIA: Donald Rumsfeld and George H.W. Bush….
The whole sordid story is pretty well documented. Unfortunately, the right seems to view any mention of the word Neo-con as some kind of commie code word, and thus refuses to look into the very real past of figures like Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Kristol, etc…
You can’t understand what’s happening today without understanding the CIA-NeoCon war.
Michael van der Galiën
John. John. John.
You don’t get the memos anymore. You joined the slightly darker side of the force.
Or have the neo-cons just decided that intelligence gathering agencies run by people more scrupulous than Doug Feith get in the way of launching wars, and as such, need to go?
Yes. And they don’t care if they jeopardize the actual war against Al-Quieda in the name of clearing out their fantasy fifth columns who are, in fantasy, keeping them from Final Victory over the Forces of Darkness.
Ironically, we were saved from the final gutting of independent intelligence and its total assimilation by the DOD by the FBI, who found out that Porter Goss’ pet flunkies were mixed up with Duke Cunningham.
John — I have to third it — you have been missing the memo. The hard right has been against the CIA and any institution of political expertise on foreign countries that does not immediately result in recommendations of ‘over throw them’ or “Bombs Away” since at least the late 40s. The HUAC inspired purge of the State Department’s China specialists helped convince the US that no way would Mao win, and that the KMT/Nationlists were the ones to back in the last stretch of the Chinese Civil War. There was no one left who knew the language and the people involved as those people may have been ‘fellow travellers’ and Commies for recommending that the US reach an understanding with Mao et al.
Throw in Team B which has already been mentioned as the original neo-con attempt to go around the national intelligence apparatus and was fought for a while by the CIA as being full of analytical shit, and then the Church Committee reforms ‘validated’ the impression that the CIA was full of liberals…..
I don’t know how this dirty hippy got the memo and you didn’t.
I also wonder if Bush II’s loathing of the CIA stems from fear. They must have rooms full of info on him. Because he’s a jumped up little punk he has to keep sniping at them to prove he’s the boss. When they don’t leak information about his formative years (1946 – 20??) he takes it as proof that they’re weak.
They’ve been waging war on the CIA since at least the Ford administration and the creation of “Team B”.
The reason is simple and it’s the same reason that the Bolsheviks hated and frequently imprisoned or killed engineers and other technical people. Idealistic people dislike empirical people and Idealogical Amateurs often have serious problems with technicians and other empirically minded professionals because the technicians often end up telling them inconvenient facts and otherwise harshing their buzz.
The problem with the CIA is that it is filled with people from the reality based community who think that their job is to make judgements based on observable, empirical, evidence. This stands in the way of people who feel the truth in their gut or otherwise find that the empirical evidence doesn’t support their case.
There is a story from the Gulag Archipelago about a railroad engineer and his successor.
The first engineer saw part of the Bolshevik economic plan and said “You are overloading the cars to reduce trips but this will wear out the rails and cause worse delays. You can’t do this”. He was shot for spreading counter-revolutionary propaganda.
His successor got the message and said “You guys are right. Socialist societies are not bound by the rules of bourgeoise physics. Go right ahead and fill the cars to the gills”. In due course the rails started to break down causing massive delays and seriously undermining the plan. He was shot for being a capitalist saboteur.
Forget Nazi comparisons – I think that the closest parallel to the modern Republican party is ironically the Bolsheviks.
The CIA, like the State Department before it, is seen as a rival to the hegemonic plans of the E ring at the Pentagon.
The Pentagon. in turn, is just the praetorian guard of the Barrack Emperor in the White House.
John, where’s your history? The right has hated the CIA at least since the days of Joe McCarthy, who tried to investigate the agency, accusing it of being a hotbed of commies and pinkos.
The Other Steve
Amen to that.
Ron Paul has called for the elimination of both the CIA and FBI. He cites that the intelligence gathering we’ve had from both has not been worth the money.
Dr Richard Blackmoor
The most worthless government agancy in the USA is the DEA…hands down.
Any organization or individual that participates or supports the War On Some Drugs is damaging to American Freedom, prosperity and justice.
The War On Some Drugs does nothing but make drugs more expensive and dangerous.
Drugs are freely available now so a repeal of prohibition won’t change that but it will stop violence, corruption of politicians and police and help people in pain get the meds they need.
Only those ignorant of the effects of drugs and moralists could still support the most failed public policy in human history…the War On Some Drugs.
And you call yourself a former wingnut? Possibly second only to the traitorous State Dept., the CIA is a known bastion of non-message keeper evildoers. We have always been at war with them. Well, at least since late 01.
Tried to kill them off with Homeland Security. Didn’t work. So the double barreled shotgun was bought up close range: IRTPA (Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, passed just after Bush’s reelection) and Porter Goss.
Goss and his crack staff did yeoman’s work in gutting the agency. Droves not outright fired, resigned or retired in disgust. But if terrorists start a disinformation campaign about pets Eve had in her garden 6,000 years ago, we’re ready. Goss did his best to Liberty U the agency.
While Hayden has a definite authoritarian streak, at least he likes some competence. He’s brought back some Goss chased and put them in top positions.
It took me only a brief glimpse into a former CIA agent’s memoirs to understand why right wingers regard the CIA as a liberal hotbed. Intelligence agents don’t see things in black and white.
If you think in black and white and us versus them, the military is a good place for you. Soldiers don’t waste much time worrying why the enemy is the enemy, the point is, they’re shooting at us and we shoot back. Looking for any more complexity than that is dangerous.
If you love complexity and layer upon layer of convolution, if you think nuance is too simplistic, if you welcome the addition of ever more players to the game because it adds more subtlety and intrigue, then look for a career in an intelligence agency. Such an outlook is not liberal by any means, but it is unlikely to have much patience for a George Bush saying either you’re with us or you’re with the terrorists.