The CIA's new banana republic

In its heyday, the CIA was famous for mucking around in the affairs of banana republics, manipulating this, toppling that, and in best cases, achieving the political aims (usually leaders, actually) that the President of the U.S. sought. Iran, Philippines and Guatemala in the 1940s and 1950s were prime examples. But more often than not, these operations went wrong, horribly wrong — Bay of Pigs, Congo, Indonesia, Nicaragua come to mind, leaving the U.S. in a worse position than it started. The CIA may even have been involved in the botched coup d'etat attempt against modern banana republic Supremo Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, in 2002. At least he thinks so.
 
And sadly enough, the CIA's banana—republic fiascos, which attracted a lot of public attention, obscured the real failure of the CIA, which was its abysmal capacity to understand what was happening in the U.S.'s leading enemy, the Soviet Union.
 
But they haven't played that risky covert action card all that much in the past 20 years, and for obvious reasons — the Wall has fallen, and these operations usually don't work.
 
But don't think CIA has changed. Like Aesop's scorpion, it looks like they do what they are going to do. And more to the point, they are showing their incompetence again, this time mistaking an incredibly strong target for a banana republic, pretty much showing that they are even more inept than ever.
 
As we cited earlier, the estimable David Brooks chronicled the CIA's pursuit of its latest target: none other than its own customer, President Bush. Brooks minced no words in calling them an enemy; planting leaks, slanting reports, and doing everything possible to alter U.S. voter perceptions of reality through the news. Not really different from what CBS did during the election that discredited them so thoroughly since. And it's even less different than the CIA airdrops of leaflets on peasants in Guatemala ahead of elections. In short, like the CIA of old, unable to provide meaningful intelligence or covertly destroy their leading enemy, (which now is terrorism), today's CIA substitutes banana republic shenanigans for real results.
 
But they miscalculated their new enemy. Now, the Washington Post  is reporting the biggest personnel shakeup since the Schlesinger and Turner days in the 1970s, which decimated the CIA. Left unsaid in their report is that those fired turned their covert action skills against President Bush and tried to use American voters as their peasants. The result is heads rolling, even as the Washington Post whines about how 'the level of experience and competence will go down' Oh really? I see the normal wreckage of covert operation gone wrong along with the sour blowback. Playing politics against President Bush, did they really think they could succeed at this? Only if they were betting on a Kerry victory — something we reported not even the anti—Bush but carefully calculating French were willing to do. What a fascinating thing that for the first time in their careers, the CIA satraps are being held accountable for their losses. What a shock it must be. Toto, I don't think we're in Banana Republic anymore. 
In its heyday, the CIA was famous for mucking around in the affairs of banana republics, manipulating this, toppling that, and in best cases, achieving the political aims (usually leaders, actually) that the President of the U.S. sought. Iran, Philippines and Guatemala in the 1940s and 1950s were prime examples. But more often than not, these operations went wrong, horribly wrong — Bay of Pigs, Congo, Indonesia, Nicaragua come to mind, leaving the U.S. in a worse position than it started. The CIA may even have been involved in the botched coup d'etat attempt against modern banana republic Supremo Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, in 2002. At least he thinks so.
 
And sadly enough, the CIA's banana—republic fiascos, which attracted a lot of public attention, obscured the real failure of the CIA, which was its abysmal capacity to understand what was happening in the U.S.'s leading enemy, the Soviet Union.
 
But they haven't played that risky covert action card all that much in the past 20 years, and for obvious reasons — the Wall has fallen, and these operations usually don't work.
 
But don't think CIA has changed. Like Aesop's scorpion, it looks like they do what they are going to do. And more to the point, they are showing their incompetence again, this time mistaking an incredibly strong target for a banana republic, pretty much showing that they are even more inept than ever.
 
As we cited earlier, the estimable David Brooks chronicled the CIA's pursuit of its latest target: none other than its own customer, President Bush. Brooks minced no words in calling them an enemy; planting leaks, slanting reports, and doing everything possible to alter U.S. voter perceptions of reality through the news. Not really different from what CBS did during the election that discredited them so thoroughly since. And it's even less different than the CIA airdrops of leaflets on peasants in Guatemala ahead of elections. In short, like the CIA of old, unable to provide meaningful intelligence or covertly destroy their leading enemy, (which now is terrorism), today's CIA substitutes banana republic shenanigans for real results.
 
But they miscalculated their new enemy. Now, the Washington Post  is reporting the biggest personnel shakeup since the Schlesinger and Turner days in the 1970s, which decimated the CIA. Left unsaid in their report is that those fired turned their covert action skills against President Bush and tried to use American voters as their peasants. The result is heads rolling, even as the Washington Post whines about how 'the level of experience and competence will go down' Oh really? I see the normal wreckage of covert operation gone wrong along with the sour blowback. Playing politics against President Bush, did they really think they could succeed at this? Only if they were betting on a Kerry victory — something we reported not even the anti—Bush but carefully calculating French were willing to do. What a fascinating thing that for the first time in their careers, the CIA satraps are being held accountable for their losses. What a shock it must be. Toto, I don't think we're in Banana Republic anymore.