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View Diary: The Three Word Legacy of George H.W. Bush (13 comments)

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  •  41 was Dir. of CIA during Ford admin. Makes ya (2+ / 0-)
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    Larsstephens, IreGyre

    wonder though, what influence he had and where he had it, but then there are a lot of things that make you go hmmmmmmmmm.

    "It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment." *Ansel Adams* ."Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."*Will Rogers*

    by Statusquomustgo on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 04:22:30 PM PDT

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    •  J. Edgar used to know where the skeletons were (1+ / 0-)
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      Statusquomustgo

      but I think since then the CIA, the NSA and other assorted spook and intelligence outfits have gone far beyond the old FBI political blackmail and intimidation. And it is uncanny how often the "intelligence chiefs" in a lot of marginally democratic or just plain non-democratic govts. and regimes become the new "president" or try to be... And how often they succeed and how often they get purged just because they get to powerful and audacious...

      Stalin got that and purged people like Beria etc. on a regular basis... And now in Russia we have Putin a former intelligence spook... but it is not all bad... the USSR had KGB head Yuri Andropov become the supreme leader and who was actually a reformer of sorts... in his own way who had a better understanding of many issues/ broader world view but did not live long enough to do much good (or bad).

      The track record of Intelligence chiefs who become president or whatever chief of state title is locally used... is a very mixed one. And red warning flags should go up anytime one gets close to taking over the top rung on the ladder of power. They know too much about things the public is unaware of, have too many leverage points to use on other people in positions where they would normally be a check or balance.

      the James Blish Sci Fi trilogy, "Cities in flight" had the USA become a dictatorship after "Francis X. MacHinery" a former CIA head becomes president... the last president since in that version of the future the Soviet Union is much better at running a totalitarian state and are able to co-opt MacHinery and just step in and carry on with the regime he unwittingly set up. As we know the Soviet Union was much better at propaganda than actually sustaining some form of Stalinism and in the end their propaganda about their power and success was taken more seriously by more of the West than Soviet citizens... That said, Western intelligence understood far better the threadbare nature of the threat they posed but was overruled by Reagan and others who needed a big scary adversary to justify huge military buildups.

      But in the end it seems clear that Intelligence heads can be a danger to a democracy if they rise to supreme executive power. There is little to check the inherent extra leverages on power they will have on gaining office. So simply relying on their good nature and intentions is perilous. Bush I could have done a lot more harm and did not... but that does not mean he did not further lay the groundwork for what came next and further he was the first de-facto president... sort of the proto-Cheney. And explains why he chose a total lightweight as his Veep... he did not want anyone to even begin to approach the power that he had as the power behind the throne... which begs the question, who would have been the power behind Quayle if he had somehow become president?... the whole thing gets rickety until Bush II got Cheney.

      the whole Secy of Defense or CIA head later becoming president is unsettling... the American people will almost certainly be an afterthought to those whose focus has been intelligence or running the military. So, Petraeus anyone?... he is definitely on the prowl to move up... Not a good idea. Eisenhower was in many ways a good version of the military becoming president model but the bad thing was he could not control the Military industrial establishment and the CIA was out of control under him... it come out of WWII alongside him and many people who served in important roles during the war naturally continued in new similar roles in government... and with the cold war growing there was little reason to hold them back or keep them in check. So in a way the course was set and over the years the recurring house cleaning at the CIA probably involved a lot more power struggles and turf wars than we realize and the outcomes probably were not in the best interests of democracy... that is not to say that the CIA is not staffed by many effective people and that they do not carry out successful and needed operations etc... whether we hear about them or not.... just that the political use and overall direction can be perverted by those that control it.

      Top Spooks and Military chiefs (and also the ultra wealthy) should be the last choice for presidential material... just too risky.

      Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

      by IreGyre on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 03:11:30 AM PDT

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