consultants are sandburs

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Strib carrying of AP near to soap opera reporting of the Tampa, Florida Kelly family. Luckily we have no such social-climber problematic families in Ramsey. We also have no high profile generals. Just local politicians and land dealings, sometimes wrongly intermixed and overlapped.

Strib, here and here.

One Strib headline says "single spiteful email" but reading the other story, might it have been a good heads up warning? Saying "there may be trouble" is not spiteful, if intended to be helpful in a situation where trouble actually may have been foreseeable.

But personalities play out their near soap opera, and Benghazi events are a backdrop that will ultimately dominate the story. Benghazi and chain of command and turf battles does raise questions apart from family disunity forces and feelings. What the CIA was doing in Benghazi, good and bad, and how long it had been doing it is a question superimposed on how a top State Department person arrived and was met and dealt with. What is the proper role of the FBI in extraterritorial investigation and was it acting properly? What Nixon era legacy of keeping a professional distance between the FBI and the White House exists, and are such thoughts still relevant and without a previously unseen downside? If not the FBI, would you have the CIA investigating and judging its own actions, or the military intelligence folks judging the civilian intelligence folks? It seems an FBI task, by default; and is there really a Nixon-caused "Chinese wall" kept between the FBI/Justice Department and the White House, as claimed now by the White House; and if there is, would revisiting the policy be called for, now?

Finally, with civilian control of the military power an understood goal, is it a good idea to put military people upon their retirement into positions of leading the CIA or holding State or Defense cabinet positions? The retired generals' club can cause enough lobbying mischief retiring from the uniform to the defense industry, and should there be policies regulating that also? Do we ever want another General Haig in the White House as Secretary of State saying "I'm in charge now"? Having a big peacetime standing army is one concern, while keeping it ultimately beneath and answerable to civilian authority is a bigger concern. Ditto for careerists and others, at CIA, NSA, and, again, MIA. Aside from MIA, such careerists are "civilian" in a major sense, but also an inbred elite that needs to be under authority of a larger and more diverse civilian elected elite, not left wholly on their own.

So, the big headline-grabbing surge general is out at CIA, having grabbed his latest and biggest headline. Now what? Years will pass before the military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, impacts on oil and drug markets and trafficking, etc., are all sorted out in balance, but already Bush-era policy is looking misguided and counterproductive with passing time not likely to reverse that appearance.

Interesting online stories of a "have to wait and see" nature, here, here, here and even via the AP, here.

Officials are to be quizzed by House and Senate committees, in closed session. Not knowing the facts has not intimidated some, prone to finger-pointing, and even politicized finger-pointing; but all that is huffing and premature. Will the public ever know how events unfolded and what changes are being made in unreported ways? No, but the public has no choice, only an occasional vote where we need to worry about fair counting, and where some want to restrict access of others to the ballot box, entirely for political reasons but with accompanying trumped-up rhetoric of worry over "fraud."

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