"For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the sense we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth."
I love thinking of animals as other nations. Well, we see how well we are doing there. No wonder we struggle so with the difference between a meaningful hierarchy and domination and aggression. Aggression leads to aggression. What a surprise!
I place the first page of an editorial from the NY Times here. I continue to find it disturbing to see how Bush destroys to hide his mistakes.
Spy vs. Spy
by THOMAS POWERS
Published: May 10, 2006
South Royalton, Vt.
THE resignation of Porter Goss after 18 months of trying to run the Central Intelligence Agency and the nomination of Gen. Michael Hayden to take his place make unmistakable something that actually occurred a year ago: the C.I.A., as it existed for 50 years, is gone.
Once the premier American intelligence organization, the agency has now been demoted to a combination action arm and support service for the rapidly growing Office of the Director of National Intelligence, headed by John Negroponte.
The C.I.A. used to coordinate, write and sign all "finished national intelligence" — no longer. The C.I.A.'s director used to lead the meetings of the heads of the numerous organizations that make up the "intelligence community" — no longer. The C.I.A. used to have final say on many aspects of intelligence "tasking" — no longer. Last to go was the role that made the agency pre-eminent, responsibility for briefing the president. Now that job belongs to Mr. Negroponte, with his $1 billion budget and staff of 1,500.
What finally humbled and gutted the C.I.A. after decades of Washington bureaucratic infighting was a loss of support where it counted most: the refusal of the Bush White House to accept responsibility for the two great "intelligence failures" that prompted Congress to reorganize our services.
The first failure laid at the feet of the agency was the inability to prevent the surprise attacks of 9/11. In fact, the C.I.A. (and others) warned the White House often during the first eight months of 2001 that an attack was coming and where it was coming from, but the Bush administration did nothing. For reasons of broad national psychology, the White House's failure to stir itself was simultaneously overlooked and forgiven by the public, while the C.I.A. (and others) got held to strict account for failing to predict the day and the hour.
The second failure was the claim — "with high confidence" — in a National Intelligence Estimate sent by the C.I.A. to Congress in October 2002 that Iraq was making vigorous progress on programs for weapons of mass destruction. But this finding was in effect dragged out of the agency by the White House and the Pentagon. Agency analysts working on the issue assumed that Saddam Hussein was up to something, but they knew their evidence was thin and ambiguous; many of their superiors knew about contrary evidence but suppressed it.
Everybody at the C.I.A. — from George Tenet, then the director, down — knew the agency could not tell United Nations weapons inspectors where to find anything over a period of months. The C.I.A. knew it didn't know what sort of weapons program Iraq really had, and absent White House pressure the analysts would have written an intelligence estimate reflecting their uncertainties. (It is worth noting that the Senate Intelligence Committee, despite a promise to do so, has been conspicuously reluctant to examine the source of the pressure for the drumbeat of alarming weapons intelligence, or how the White House made use of it.)
President Bush might have accepted responsibility for these two failures. He might have followed the example of President John F. Kennedy, who took the blame for the disastrous C.I.A. attempt to put a rebel army ashore in Cuba in 1961. Instead, the administration hid the existence of the pre-9/11 warnings for as long as possible and continued to insist for many months after the Iraq war that Saddam Hussein's illegal weapons might still turn up, and it has blocked any official investigation of its role in exaggerating the slender intelligence that existed.
Blaming the C.I.A. for these failures led to Porter Goss being sent to Langley. First on his to-do list was to put an end to what White House perceived as a lack of loyalty to administration policy. This supposed treachery took two forms: leaks of pre-Iraq war intelligence findings that predicted problems the White House is to this day still trying to minimize; and pessimistic reports from the field that contradicted rosy announcements of progress from the Pentagon.
The article goes on, but I figure this is enough. Check it out if you want more.
Thomas Powers is the author, most recently, of "Intelligence Wars: American Secret History From Hitler to Al Qaeda."