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Robert Gates Main Qualification for Secretary of Defense

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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-09-06 10:53 PM
Original message
Donald Rumsfelds most obvious contribution to the office of Secretary of Defense was perhaps the demonstration of how it can be used to mold intelligence data to conform with administration priorities rather than reality. This process, as described in detail by Seymour Hersh in Chain of Command, produced a great deal of evidence that was in tune with the Bush administrations desire for war with Iraq and greatly facilitated the molding of public opinion to support that war. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that George Bush has tapped as Rumsfelds successor a man who has proven, during his many years of service with the CIA, his ability and inclination to utilize the CIA for the propaganda producing purposes which George Bush will need to drum up support for his foreign policies, thus continuing in Rumsfelds tradition.


Gates role in manipulating intelligence data for the Reagan administration

Robert Gates commenced his experience in the art of manipulating CIA analysis for use as propaganda during the Reagan/Bush administration, when he was appointed by CIA Director William Casey in 1982 as the Deputy Director for Intelligence. His activities in the Bush/Reagan CIA are described in detail by Robert Parry in his book, Secrecy & Privilege Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and in his more recent article, The CIAs DI Disgrace.

Ronald Reagan was very similar to George W. Bush in his strict adherence to ideologies, and the consequent dismissal of any evidence that conflicted with those ideologies. The central theme of his foreign policy was that the Soviet Union was an Evil Empire, intent upon sponsoring international terrorism, planning a preemptive nuclear strike against the United States, and gaining a foothold in Central America in order to facilitate its imperial ambitions.

But the CIA analysts in the Directorate of Intelligence (DI) posed a big problem to Reagans theme because their intelligence contradicted it. As discussed by Soviet CIA analysts Carolyn Ekedahl and Melvin Goodman, they could find no evidence that the Soviet Union was considering a nuclear strike against us, and far from sponsoring international terrorism, the consensus was that the Soviet Union actively tried to discourage acts of terrorism by their clients because of the bad publicity that it entailed.

That kind of information was greatly frowned upon by Ronald Reagan and William Casey. Not only did it conflict with their ideological views, but it impeded their ability to obtain cooperation from Congress in their attempts to assist right wing governments and paramilitaries to keep and gain control of Central American countries such as El Salvador and Nicaragua, respectively.

Thus, in his efforts to change the functions and purpose of the CIA, William Casey enlisted the help of Robert Gates by putting him in charge of the DI. The strategy was fairly simple. Just make it clear that ones career depends upon producing intelligence that conforms with the administrations views. And purge those who either fail to understand this basic idea or who fight against it. In other words, though it was never put in these words, objectivity independence were not prized characteristics in a CIA analyst. Gates translated this philosophy into Orwellian action with his severe criticism of analysts who displayed a pronounced tendency to confuse objectivity and independence with avoidance of issues germane to the U.S. government policymakers.


Consequences

The consequences of the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld manipulation of intelligence data was a disastrous war in Iraq and a skyrocketing national debt. Similarly, the consequences of the Reagan/Bush/Casey/Gates manipulation of intelligence data was the long continuation of a disastrous war in Central America and the skyrocketing of our national debt.

In our financial support and military training of the Contras and other right wing causes in Central America we sponsored groups with abysmal human rights records and little support among the populations that they desired to lead. The trillions of dollars that we put into military spending, including the unworkable missile defense system known as Star Wars, probably did our country little good, while leaving two future U.S. presidents with a massive national debt to deal with. And our interest in helping Islamic fundamentalists to counter Soviet interests in Afghanistan led to our training of the Islamists in the techniques of terror and our ignoring of Pakistans move towards becoming a nuclear power, both which have now come back to haunt us, with Pakistans facilitation of North Koreas nuclear program and the terror threat posed by al Qaeda.


How would Robert Gates perform as Defense Secretary?

As Deputy Director of Intelligence, Robert Gates manipulation of intelligence data to support Ronald Reagans views of reality resulted in disasters that are comparable to those perpetrated by Donald Rumsfeld from his manipulation of intelligence data to support George W. Bushs views of reality. In addition to that, Robert Parry also discusses good evidence to support the belief that Gates was involved in several other scandals, including Iran-Contra, the Reagan/Bush October Surprise (in which the Reagan administration conspired with Iranian rulers to withhold return of our hostages until after the Carter vs. Reagan presidential election), and the covert supply of weapons to Saddam Husseins Iraq during their war with Iran. In conclusion, I see little reason to believe that Robert Gates will turn out to be substantially different than Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense.
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williesgirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-09-06 10:54 PM
Response to Original message
1. Same song, same verse, new singer - must NOT be confirmed - recommended
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 02:31 AM
Response to Reply #1
8. Here's a good article by Ray McGovern about Gates' confirmation for
CIA Director:
http://www.antiwar.com/mcgovern/?articleid=5732

One of Gates' former employees testified against him regarding most of the stuff I talked about in this OP.

Apparently most didn't want to hear about it, but still 31 Senators voted against his confirmation.

So Gates was confirmed, and shortly after he began his tenure as CIA Director a good many intelligence analysts resigned because they didn't want to work for him.
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pooja Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-09-06 10:58 PM
Response to Original message
2. I have to agree.. just another face with the same message.
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muntrv Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-09-06 11:03 PM
Response to Original message
3. Same ole' song & dance. BTW, Daniel Ortega is back in Nicaragua.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 12:33 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Yes, I heard
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...

I believe that Nicaragua and much of South and Central America would be a lot better off today if Ronald Reagan and others hadn't thought (or acted like) it was their right to interfere with the rights of the peoples of other countries to determine what kind of government they would be ruled by.
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kenny blankenship Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 12:34 AM
Response to Original message
5. Qualification: he knows where the Bush Family bodies are buried
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dysfunctional press Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 12:38 AM
Response to Original message
6. It's almost as if poppy were still calling the shots...
nahhhh....

it's babs- always has been.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 10:32 AM
Response to Reply #6
11. I don't think so
We would never have invaded Iraq if that was the case.
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dysfunctional press Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 12:23 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. why not...?
because poppy "said" that he didn't agree with it...? Everyone involved with the invasion, with the exception of jr. was a holdover from the poppy regime.
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 01:43 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Just because they were holdovers from Bush Srs. regime doesn't mean
that they were in line with his current thinking on it.

I don't believe that there is any evidence that Bush Sr. approved of his son's Iraq invasion. Furthermore, that decision implied a direct criticism of his decision to hold back in 91. I believe that he had to bite his tongue to prevent himself from criticizing it. And his close associate and former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft did vigorously criticize the invasion.
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w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 01:16 AM
Response to Original message
7. Loyalty to the GOP leadership insiders. (nt)
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 05:21 PM
Response to Reply #7
15. Yes, it's all part of their pattern
They call it loyalty. But in my opinion, what it really is is a willingness to sell your soul for your own political advancement. Cowtow to the rich and powerful to ensure that you will be part of the "in-crowd".

They know that Gates fits that mold.
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flyarm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 05:53 AM
Response to Original message
9. this guy has an incedible memory of where all the bodies are
buried..he is dangerous!!..but show me one of *hes guys who aren't!!

fuck little lord pissy pants..if our dems confirm all his assholes..or any of them....i quit!

fly
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 08:22 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. But wouldn't he have to incriminate himself in order to reveal those bodies?
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flyarm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 11:26 AM
Response to Reply #10
12. the point is he will keep them hidden!! anyone else would expose them if
it were an honest person...this guy will deliberately keep the bones hidden!!
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 05:24 PM
Response to Original message
16. It's good to have a somewhat elaborated version of Digby's post - thanks!
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Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-10-06 06:33 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. Nice article
It all boils down to picking someone who will do whatever the administration wants them to do.
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