MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Logo of Skull and Bones
A leading government official declares that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is made up exclusively of "principled people" and should therefore be trusted. Period. No need to inquire further.
It sounds like President Obama and his staff justifying their use of drones in assassinations that also cause the "collateral damage" of civilians (although those "kill list" decisions come out of the White House not the CIA), doesn't it?
But the "principled people" statement was made by George Herbert Walker Bush to a group of fellow Kennebunk, Maine, area residents at the Sea Spray Inn on September 8 of 1976. At that time, the senior Bush was serving a one-year stint as head of the CIA (although there are many reports that he had served the CIA in other capacities from time to time – and was later likely very deep into the Iran-Contra scandal).
I have a copy of the original article describing the Bush remarks from the York County Coast Star (providing news coverage to the area where the Bush family has its summer compound) in front of me. A BuzzFlash reader sent it some time ago, and I just came across it in clearing out papers.
There was one important distinction between Bush's perspective and Obama's, according to the article. As recorded by the Coast Star in the pre-Internet article, Bush offered the reassurance that the CIA "is not in the assassination business."
But the Obama administration is -- whose victims are given their death warrants by the president or a senior intelligence staffer as so delegated. (And the CIA is back in the assassination business, you can bet your bottom dollar, if it was ever really out of it, which is doubtful despite some prohibitions as a result of the Church hearings in the Senate decades ago.)
Now there is no reason to believe that Bush was telling the truth to his audience in 1976, given that he is anything but a "principled person." Even Ronald Reagan, for whom Bush served as vice-president, warned "to trust, but verify" in relation to the Soviet Union – a policy that one would think should be the right of the US public in relation to government officials.
As paraphrased by the Coast Star, Bush offered the Kafkaesque justification for allowing an elite group to conduct actions that have little but pro forma Congressional oversight:
To be convinced that the CIA was trustworthy, however, the listeners would just have to believe him he said, because, ironically, he simply couldn't go into the details of why it was so trustworthy.
"Take my word for it," then CIA Director Bush told the luncheon crowd in 1976.
But that would be like accepting a hundred dollar bill crom a counterfeiter. Ah, there's the great conundrum.
Now with John Brennan, alleged architect and overseer of the Obama "kill list," holding Bush's former position as head of the CIA, the circle is complete.
The Coast Star ends with the conclusion of Bush's remarks: "At times we have to do things in some areas that are troubling to those who do not understand."
Yes, the more things change the more they stay the same, or get worse, when it comes to the ethics of policing the American empire, regardless of political party at times.
And one of those times, in some key respects, is now.
Trust the elites. They know what's best for us even if it violates international treaties and basic principles of human conduct.