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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Letter of the Week

Tim Weiner to The New Yorker.  Can't resist printing whole thing:
Steve Coll, in his article on drone warfare, cites my history of the C.I.A., “Legacy of Ashes,” in noting that American Presidents from Eisenhower to Nixon used the C.I.A. to oust foreign leaders (“Remote Control,” May 6th). Not one of the C.I.A.’s assassination plots against a foreign leader succeeded. Since then, President Bush and President Obama have made the C.I.A. a killing machine for counter-terrorists. Murder, however, is not the role of an intelligence agency in a democracy. Its role is to conduct espionage in order to know our enemy’s thinking, intentions, and capabilities. The C.I.A. should give the Pentagon back its missiles under the laws of war and return to its true mission. Know your enemy: that’s intelligence. The C.I.A. failed in that mission in Iraq and in Afghanistan. If it now botches its mission in Syria, no sniper’s rifle will save us from our inability to harmonize our military, diplomatic, and intelligence instruments of war. If we go to war in Syria, the goal will have to be the death of President Assad. Killing foreign leaders is a bad business; so said Richard Helms, who ran the C.I.A. under Johnson and Nixon. If you try to kill theirs, he said, why shouldn’t they try to kill yours?

Tim Weiner
New York City

1 comment:

Laurence Glavin said...

Eight years ago, there was an assassination attempt on George W. Bush in Tblisi Republic of Georgia. A hand grenade was thrown at President Bush, but it failed to go off. We almost had a President Cheney! In 1996, the Secret Service altered President Clinton's motorcade in Manila because they had picked up "chatter" about explosives on a bridge they would otherwise have used. We almost had a President Gore. Come to think about it, we almost had a President Gore four years later.