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Parricide at the CIA

Sidney Blumenthal has a fine piece in Salon today that demonstrates that Bush and Cheney have essentially, and quite deliberately, destroyed the CIA.

Others have hinted at this, but the Goss debacle and the Hayden nomination add much to the story, and Blumenthal knits it all together well. But what he doesn’t touch on, and I’ve never seen mentioned in any previous discussion of Bush and the CIA is the element of parricide involved.

We all take it for granted that Bush’s feelings about his father had something to do with the compulsion to invade Iraq. It could have been the genuine loyalty of a loving son -- Bush supposedly said of Saddam, "he tried to kill my father," sufficient proof that Saddam was evil. Or it could be a lot more complicated, such as a desire to prove to his withholding father, after decades as the inadequate older son, that he could accomplish something, something that had eluded the father himself. Or perhaps to stick it to the father for his perceived loss of nerve in not finishing the job. It’s all fodder for the psychobiographer in every one of us.

But why wouldn’t a similar analysis apply equally, or moreso, to the CIA? The elder Bush was director of the CIA when W was in his late twenties, roughly the period when he had the legendary confrontation with his father over his drinking and general loser-ness, and challenged the father to fight him, "mano a mano." The CIA building is named after his father. And I believe there is some reason to think that the elder Bush’s connection to the Agency predates his appointment as director (without buying the LaRouchite theory that places Bush 41 on the grassy knoll in Dallas). The CIA is a presence in the Bush family life in much the way that Yale is, another institution toward which Bush 43 holds a weird hostility -- and, of course, those two institutions are themselves linked.

I don’t have a very specific theory here, but it seems natural to wonder whether this almost inexplicable hostility to the CIA as an institution has some deeper roots in Bush’s complex relationship to his father.

 

Posted by Mark Schmitt on May 11, 2006 | Permalink

Comments

Mark, nice post. Isn't it odd that W has spent most of his political life trying to become the way Clinton began--a fatherless southern Bubba?

Posted by: Jim Mahon | May 11, 2006 4:33:55 PM

Perhaps the demise of the CIA has more to do with this administration's incompetence - a simpler, broader theory. And how does Barbara Bush fit into your oedipal story line?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 11, 2006 7:51:57 PM

Is there CIA-specific legislation or regulations that don't apply to skullduggery if military or others do it?

Posted by: MT | May 11, 2006 8:00:17 PM

If you're serious, I'd suggest the destruction of the CIA is rather simple to explain. The Bushies could not control what the CIA would say in the run up to the Iraq war. They could not guarantee 100% that someone in the CIA would rain on their parade and make it impossible to invade. So they built an internal Pentagon intelligence capability then took steps to neuter the CIA. If I were the Bushies, and I was hot to go to war, that's exactly what I would do: cripple or destroy my enemies/threats while creating supposedly objective validation for my cause.

Posted by: Fred | May 11, 2006 10:39:22 PM

O, thanks, anonymous for the Barbara Bush line. Now I have to go stab out my minds eye.

Posted by: buckets | May 12, 2006 8:42:39 AM

I don't entirely buy Blumenthal's analysis, because people forget that Bush the son wasn't the first Bush to wreck the CIA; that would be Bush the father. When Gerald Ford put him in charge, he didn't like the analysis the CIA was putting out on the Soviet Union, because it didn't quite fit in with the hard right view that the Russians were ten feet tall, planning to take over Europe, win a nuclear war and take our precious bodily fluids.

So he brought in a bunch of people from right-wing think tanks, headed by Paul Nitze, and called them "Team B", and had them redo all of the CIA's analysis. The new analysis showed, sure enough, that the Russians were ten feet tall and threatening as hell. This "information" was used to undermine Jimmy Carter and portray him as dangerously soft.

Furthermore, setting things up so it was bad for your career as an analyst to underestimate Soviet capabilities was probably the main reason why the fall of Communism came as a complete surprise to the CIA.

Of course, the other major incident we tend to forget is Poppy's invasion of Panama. W wasn't the first Bush to invade a country without justification to knock off a foreign leader, though Dad was rather more successful at it.

Posted by: Joe Buck | May 14, 2006 10:55:14 PM

All I can say is, I'd hate to be a Yale trustee at this juncture.

Posted by: West of East | May 15, 2006 1:07:43 AM

W is surely a loon, too bad the pre-election vetting didn't catch this.

Posted by: jerry | May 15, 2006 8:52:30 AM

Destroying the CIA has been a PNAC goal for years, and both Cheney and Rumsfeld are prominent PNACers. They thought the CIA was soft on the USSR, and more recently, China and Iraq. They may have manipulated Bush' weird Oedipal issues to get what they wanted, but I think the push came at least as much from them as from Bush himself.

Posted by: Rebecca Allen, PhD, ARNP | May 15, 2006 11:21:33 PM

Oh, and by the way, I'm both a psychologist and a psychiatric nurse practitioner, so I like psychological theories as much as anybody. I just think this one was more about control than anything else. I should have added to my previous post that Rumsfeld, especially, clearly wants intelligence centralized in the Pentagon, where he can control it (and make it into a propaganda arm when useful), and that he and Cheney have seen having an independent CIA as an obstacle to this goal.

Posted by: Rebecca Allen, PhD, ARNP | May 15, 2006 11:24:01 PM

Leave no voice of reason behind!
What else would keep the money flowing to the
"defense industrial complex".

Cheney's comments about Russia and his trip
to their borders to "poke them in the eye"
will guarantee strife and therefore profit
in the future.

THEY ARE NOT INCOMPETENT, destruction & strife
was and is their plan!

Their plan established under their puppet Reagan was to break the country so there could be no social spending if they lost control.
Under their puppet Bush, (same controlling people) they not only break the country financially, but encourage strife and war to
set up a "continuing environment" to drain the assets of the country so the corporations
can continue their power and control.

Posted by: old game | May 16, 2006 9:16:42 PM

"Leave no voice of reason behind!
What else would keep the money flowing to the
"defense industrial complex".

Cheney's comments about Russia and his trip
to their borders to "poke them in the eye"
will guarantee strife and therefore profit
in the future.

THEY ARE NOT INCOMPETENT, destruction & strife
was and is their plan!

Their plan established under their puppet Reagan was to break the country so there could be no social spending if they lost control.
Under their puppet Bush, (same controlling people) they not only break the country financially, but encourage strife and war to
set up a "continuing environment" to drain the assets of the country so the corporations
can continue their power and control."

This is both right and wrong!

Right: Certainly control is the goal. Fear is the method. "Be Afraid! Be VERY Afraid! Those wolves are the terrorists. We will keep you safe. The Democrats are too soft to keep you safe." Etc.

But, there is simply NO way that anyone deliberately screws up the way Bushco has. Iraq was supposed to be a walk in the park. We were supposed to be greeted as liberators. That way we could then move on to Syria and other greater things (remember the intense build up in tension and endless right-wing blather about Syria's support of "terrorism" about the time of "Mission Accomplished!"?

Don't hear much about Syria right now do we?

That's because Iraq sucked all the oxygen out of the room. A loss of power.

Same thing about Katrina.

Of course you're right here too. Bushco is opposed to the very idea that government is supposed to function. The federal government isn't SUPPOSED to do anything about Katrina, see? Just give millions of federal dollars to favored campaign contributors who will do nothing but funnel the money into more campaign contributions to the RNC and forget about it! And that's what they've done.

Fixing New Orleans still isn't on the agenda. But, the problem is that their incompetence has made them look bad, thus endangering their continued rule.

The shocking images from New Orleans were EMBARASSING. Bodies floating in the street. Breakdown in civil order. Sure the right spun it as lawless "niggers". But that kind of spin has more than a hint of desparation in it. Something happened on the way to greater profits and forgetting about it. Something scary and dangerous to the elite.

The enduring legacy of Katrina is the U.S. government as a giant with feet of clay, unable to do anything, and not even really caring. I.E. decidedly NOT keeping us safe.

It directly undercuts the message of the wolves ads and led directly to the current ongoing decline in support for Bush and the Repugs in Congress.

The current crew isn't designed to loot everything and then get out of town before the sherrif can arrive. They were NEVER supposed to have to leave town at all!

The Repug. takeover was supposed to be as permanent as Stalin's. Now that it clearly isn't they've all got heavy doses of THE FEAR!

Because it's clearly not going to be any fun when people like Tom Delay have to work for a living and can't just smoke their cigars in restaurants in violation of the law and say when they're told to put it out "I AM the law!"

"L'Etat C'est Moi!" Only it isn't anymore. It's a long way to fall and there's a prison cell waiting at the end of it for some of them.

Posted by: Cugel | Jun 8, 2006 1:23:37 PM

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