13 July 2005

Swerve right

While working out in the gym the other day I ended up watching Fox News. In one of the station's characteristic tirades, an announcer claimed that deserved a medal for outing Plame. I couldn't believe my ears. At long last, I actually agree with someone on Fox! (Hopefully, this doesn't mean I'll have to change my blog's moniker to Swerve Right.) I also think Rove deserves a medal. (He's got a cool first name after all.) And while we're at it, we should give all who identify CIA agents medals. We can then compile the names and place them in a large file under the heading Active CIA Agents on Google, along with a list of the CIA's current activities. Because when all is said and done, we don't need CIA agents or secrets. Covert activities are for police states like China or tiny Orwellian states like North Korea. The U.S., which is the most armed state on the globe and which is purportedly a democracy, doesn't need to carry out activities away from the watchful eyes of its citizenry. Perhaps with better supervision, we can prevent idiots from supporting the likes of Noriega, the Taliban, or Saddam. So all you on the left, you need to swerve right a bit and give this Rove fellow a gold medal!


Glen Dean said...

Karlo, I respect your principled consistency. I may not agree, but I like the fact that your consistent.

Karlo said...

Thanks. This is also one of the reasons I keep you on top of my blog list in spite of our ideological differences. I feel that you're sincere and not simply partisan for the sake of being partisan. (And on rare occasions, I actually agree with you on something.)

The Continental Op said...

I do agree with you that outing CIA agents is a good thing. (I used to know Phil Agee's son pretty well!) But I'm curious to know what the Fox commentator's reasoning was for suggesting that Rove deserved a medal.

Glen Dean said...

Rare occasions :)

Eric_Jaffa said...

The Continental Op-

John Gibson of Fox News said that Ambassador Joe Wilson is a "peacenik," and a peacenik shouldn't investigate weapons claims.

Since Valerie Plame recommended her husband to look into documents (which turned out to be forged) about uranium in Africa, it was great for Rove to ruin her career, according to John Gibson.

John Gibson is a sexist who called Valerie Plame "little wifey."

More at:
Digby's Hullaballoo

Corruption Exposer said...

Well, since you put it that way, I agree that he should get the medal... and be allowed to keep it in his prison cell for the rest of his life.

(assuming he's not a death row inmate)

Karlo said...

We'll have to take him out behind the White House and whoop his ass just for being so damn ugly. But he still deserves a metal.

jj said...

My take on this. As much as the Rerplicans want to make this about Wilson,this is about a CIA NOC that that had a energy front company and was working on WMD issues. This is about National Security and the fact that Rove puts politics before NS.

Breaking News Funny anyway

fzian said...

As much as your zeal lies with exposing intelligence agencies, you do realise that the your 'watchful eyes of its citizenry' may consist of terrorists within the state, among other elements of irrationality?

In pursuing your world without secrecy, you forget that compiling "the names (of CIA agents) and plac(ing) them in a large file under the heading Active CIA Agents on Google, is unfair to those agents, making them sitting ducks to enemy intelligence and terrorist alike. Is that a price we are willing to pay for non-secrecy?

Step back and think: Are you over-simplifying the issue and pursuing the issue as an ends in itself?

Karlo said...

There's no denying that there's a bit of Abby Hoffman-type antics in my post. Putting the humor aside, I think we have to consider whether it's a good idea to burn the house down to kill the termites. Is it worth having CIA agents carrying out secret activities worldwide when these very activities create a deep cynicism about American attentions and thereby fuel terrorist recruitment? There's also an issue regarding democracy: It's difficult enough for the average citizen to evaluate the activities of government, but virtually impossible when many of these activities are hidden. While the threat of terrorism may escalate in the future, I think that it's been extremely exaggerated up until now. Is it really necessary to have an extra arm of government (the intel community) operating outside of public scrutiny, who often not only acts against U.S. public interests but also works to undermine democratic decisions in other countries? Perhaps the best argument against having a CIA is simply the record of its activities up until now. It has a long history of funding dictators, supporting corrupt leaders, thwarting the will of other countries' populations, and so on. Its legitimate role of collecting information to facilitate policy decisions could be done through the analysis of open source materials. Ultimately, U.S. intelligence agents pose a greater threat to the destruction of U.S. democracy that foreign operatives do.

fzian said...

Forgive me if I'm being naive, but I am assuming that you are talking about 'covert activities' as a whole.

True, CIA has a history of supporting the very terrorists they are currently fighting with. True, the CIA has a history of supporting the corrupt Batista regime. True, the CIA is known for its Machiavellian games with the Kurdish-Iraq government.

However, I think the question is really about the pro and cons of having intelligence agencies as a whole. Believe it or not, intelligence agencies has proven useful from the successes of Mi6 in coordinating resistance in the World War 2. Even the ineffectual CIA proved useful in preventing the October Putsch (1993).

It is ridiculous to genaralise that covert activities are for 'police states' and 'Orwellian states' just because the CIA is a huge screwball.

Karlo said...

I would agree that intelligence (the acquisition of knowledge) has a vital role and that in a world of separate states, occasional military intervention has a role. And I would concede that these two functions are enhanced through covert intel-collection and secret interventions. My criticism is with the cost (social and otherwise). I think there is something inherently problematic about giving any group of people tremendous power and a monopoly on certain types of information within a democracy. Put simply, anyone trying to do something in a democracy would love to do it away from the watchful eye of the public. But the whole purpose of a democracy is to ensure that government activities precisely reflect the will of the people.

fzian said...

I agree that intelligence can be undesirable, in some scenarios – as I have pointed out earlier. Indeed, in a perfect world with a perfect democracy, there may be no need for intelligence agencies.

However, I caveat: -
1) The concept of democracy is essentially contested. It is difficult for one to simply claim that the purpose of democracy is to ensure that government activities precisely reflect the will of the people.

2) Even in a perfect democracy, this may not be possible. In a game theory matrix of intelligence and counter-intelligence, it should be clear that the strategy equilibrates with the mass establishment of intelligence agencies. In this case, intelligence agencies may – ironically – be the imperative of democracy.

3) You could argue that democracy should hence be imposed on non democratic states, though that such an act will be, at best a paradox, and at worst, a breach in all canons of democracy.

Tetsuo said...

Turd Blossom is the most fantastic nickname of anyone ever connected with politics.

Bless the CIA, for without them there would be no justification for a $500 billion defense budget.

Karlo said...

The CIA is a sort of welfare state within the state.