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03 November 2019

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Kilo 4/11

Part of the appeal of you site, Colonel, is the wondrous fauna that show up from time to time. Each new column holds the promise of these surprises, like walking with Darwin through Galapagos.

turcopolier

kilo 4/11

maybe we should have a category for cryptid fauna; lake monsters, forest manbeasts, etc. Too many solemn people here. Solemn is different than serious.

BABAK MAKKINEJAD

Evidently, neither do you.

prawnik

IMHO, almost any system can be made to work, as long as it is not run by sociopaths.

Moreover, the entire principle underlying modern systems of government can be summed up as "keep power out of the hands of sociopaths". In fact, the reason the representative democratic republican system was as successful as it became was because of its relatively better track record at the same, at least compared to the autocracies and oligarchies that it largely replaced.

Read "The Prince" - Machiavelli took great pains to explain that he described not what princes should be like in an ideal world, but what they actually did. In fact, the old systems were pretty much sociopath factories, and those princes and oligarchs who weren't prepared to do whatever it took to keep their thrones were quickly replaced by more ruthless sorts. The sad life of Henry VI of England is quite instructive.

Now, would a randomocracy work better? I don't know. I recall that the ancient Athenians used it for a time.

Leith

USPHS has been around for over a hundred years. And their roots go back to Presidents Jefferson and Adams.

Factotum

Diana, ITA - loving one's subject matter is the key to successful teaching. It is infectious. Yes, you do write well.

Max G.

A most provocative essay, Pat, but there is wisdom in the provocation. The National Security Act of 1947 was adopted was adopted to deal with the challenges provoked by what came to be called the "Cold War." When the Cold War ended in 1979, we might have asked which elements created by that act still needed to be retained. But we didn't. Rather, the key question was what other threats remained out there for our vast national security establishment to deal with, and we found them in spades. The fact was that in the post-cold war period (1990s) the US emerged with almost no "serious" threats like that posed by the Soviet Union and the appeal of communism. That didn't mean the dismantling of everything, but a serious review of what remained necessary could have been undertaken. There was the effort, you remember, for everyone to cut their budgets by 17 1/2 percent, a rather thoughtless way to realize the "peace dividend." I remember everyone gnashed their teath about that. Bureaucracies have a way of seeking to be self-perpetuating, and we all floundered for a time. 9/11 proved to be a blessing in disguise. The "war on terrorism" proved to be a budget bonanza. We had found our new cause. However hateful 9/11 was, it was not a threat like that we faced during the Cold War, and even that was probably exaggerated. We are still organized to fight the Cold War, and indeed we seem to be bringing it back into existence by perceiving threats in every little corner of the globe. I think your call for a review of our national security requirements is long overdue. I have never worked at a pay grade where I could have much impact. It was the politicians of the day (Acheson, Marshall, Forrestal, et.al. who put the current structure in place, and it is likely the current politicians of the day who will have to change it. Will they? I doubt it.

turcopolier

All

Max G is an old friend.

lordkoos

"Unproven" if you want to ignore millenia of observing human behaviour. That phrase is very old.

catherine

''run the government like a successful corporation. None of the secrecy, insubordination and subversive activity would be permitted in a successful company. ''

You mean like AIG or Texaco or Pacific Gas and Electric Company or Bear Sterns or General Motors or Pan Am?...lol

gaikokumaniakku

Dear sir, in response to your query:

Where does Commitment to the Enterprise, i.e. Well-Being of the Country, any country, come into play? You cannot run a country staffed by men who fancy themselves as little don corleones.

I submit that in the past, the USA has had people who were wise and competent in their struggle to preserve the republic. A few of them were:
Smedley Butler
David Hackworth
Ron Paul
Bill Binney
Karen kwiatkowski

These people sacrificed their personal comforts and ambitions to uphold the good of the USA. If we have such people and if they prevail then the republic will survive. On certain anonymous "committees of correspondence," we flatter ourselves by calling ourselves autists, and we make the bold claim: "The autist is the natural enemy of the psychopath." Let us hope that the psychopaths will soon be exposed and defeated.

Fred

It was much better before the flood of victims arrived to tell us how much better were the societies they had to flee.

Rob P.

A little late to the party. Your questions on reorganization of the intelligence community are very critical at this time in our country's history. Perhaps you will allow more discussions in the future because the subject could not be covered in short answers. How to do it is the other big question. My experience in the IC spanned 35 years and showed me that only failures and catastrophe prompted real changes. And the changes came not from the President but from Congress and its control of the purse strings of all these agencies. Congress has in the past slashed or cut-off funding for agencies and departments. Ending the Vietnam War came about not by military defeat, but with Congress saying no more money. The Church Committee brought to light many unsavory actions in the IC with the upshot being a law that US intel. agencies may not spy on US citizens. Of course, we know how they get around this, like having the Brits or Aussies do it for us and hand over the info. we want. Iran Contra etc. etc. brought some reforms, but not what is needed. With the formation of the Dir. of National Intel. we supposedly gained a means to control the IC. Instead this person has been appointed to make sure the intel. community does what the powers-that-be want--not necessarily what the President, the JCS, or the Congress want. Real reform will only come with an entirely new lineup of agencies, firm means of controlling them, and explicit, utterly clear mission statements. I wish. Not likely to happen, and alas, not until a serious catastrophe.

Babak Makkinejad

And with that, I will generously, let you have the final word.

Babak Makkinejad

Then this is a problem of deficient education, in the sense that the word is used in the Spanish language: educado.

CK

I too am very old, that crap is repeated over and over does not change its essential nature as crap. It has also been said over and over that money = merde, and that just like merde it has to be spread around to be useful.

Florian L.

I recommend strongly reading the book "The Secrete Team" by Fletcher Prouty. There he explains in detail how the CIA was transformed out of the OSS. And he especially describes how the National Security Act was twisted to allow the CIA larger covered operations. Initially the CIA was intended to be an organization to collect and analyze intelligence from the various sources. It was not intended to conduct covered operations (only very limited). Hoover made the CIA to what it became. The politicians/lawmakers knew why they didn't want the CIA to have the power for covered operations.
Prouty describes also how the CIA can take hold on whatever it needs of the military, personell and equipment. A particular problem is that Military personell is switching force and back from military to CIA and vice-versa. That makes the military completely infiltrated by personell that is often more loyal to the CIA than to the military. When they switch back to the military the ties to the CIA do not get lost. And many of them love the CIA, they call it "Fun And Games". That's appealing.
But in this way the CIA is not only infiltrating the military. They infiltrate the civil bureaucracies, politics etc. as well. Prouty himself in the fifties and early sixties was a so called briefing officer. He briefed some of the top-tiers in Pentagon and White House. They are nearly always coming from the CIA, so Prouty.

Here I can give only a very short sketch about the contents in Proutys book. He gives an ample insight of the history and the inner workings of the CIA. And it is not just another of those hide and seek spy story books about the CIA. Prouty draws also the connection to how the CIA is embedded in the society and how it is used as a tool in the power play.
You can find digital copies of the book on the internet.

Aurelius

Excellent post and discussion - thanks

turcopolier

lorianL

J. Edger Hoover? He was head o the FBI, not the CIA. Go back to sleep.

Florian L.

Sorry, I mixed it up. It was Allen Dulles of course.

Thibaut

I read your texts and I have a strange feeling because you remind me of Colin Powell at UN, trying to persuade people around the world that Irak has WMD. So now it is not Irak but CIA and FBI that have to be destroyed and are full of bad boys or super villains. The problem is that maybe the crisis is inside the storytelling that you share with your enemies.
In this case, your are speaking the langage of your own destruction.
But this is just a feeling.

turcopolier

Thibaut

"your are speaking the langage of your own destruction." Ah, you think I never left. "Whenever I think I am out, they pull me back." Childish idea. I watched Powell at the UN, knew he was acting the fool and lost all interest in ever talking to him again. Too complicated for you? You are aware that I publicly opposed the war in Iraq?

zaatogg2

Did JFK say something along those lines? Or was he misquoted?

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