Blogs > HNN > CIA: Finally doing what it's supposed to

Aug 25, 2007 5:27 pm

CIA: Finally doing what it's supposed to

The morning news that the CIA has offered a realistic picture of the leaders of Iraq is welcome news for anybody who believes truth matters.

Too often the government has lied to itself as well as the American people. Now at last the government seems to be willing to tell itself the truth.

This is a break with tradition.

In 1964 CIA Director John McCone told the truth about Vietnam to LBJ. He told the president the war was being lost despite optimstic statements by Secretary of Defense McNamara's Pentagon. Vietnam's leaders lacked public support. The insurgents were well-organized. Our strategy was failing. LBJ's reaction was to freeze out McCone, much as Colin Powell was frozen out by President Bush after he made his contrary views known about the Iraq War. For months on end the president of the United States declined to see the director of the CIA. McCone eventually resigned--a loss to the American government. McCone had been a great asset. In the Cuban Missile Crisis it was McCone who decried the invasion plans backed at first by JFK.

In 1967 the agency was under the leadership of Richard Helms. Helms was pressured by Walt Rostow and others inside the government to sanitize reports about Vietnam. One report had concluded flatly that we were losing the war. Helms was forced to rewrite it to say things were improving. At the same time Helms produced a highly confidential memo to President Johnson which said flat out that the US was losing the war and was bound to lose it because in wars of this type--wars involving well-supported and popular insurgents bent on revolution--the United States cannot employ the necessary means to achieve victory. LBJ ditched the report.

We should be grateful the CIA is now telling the president and the world the truth about our latest war. We need to know that the leaders of Iraq whom we have backed are not sufficiently strong to succeed. It is vital to speak the truth to avoid another Vietnam. We have had enough of wars based on lies that go on endlessly at a cost of tens of thousands of American lives (not to mention the millions of lives lost in Vietnam and the hundreds of thousands* lost thus far in Iraq).

*Of course, this is an estimate.


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Bill Stevens - 8/26/2007

With this administration, no matter how many layers of tin-foil you add to your hat, it is never quite thick enough. So when a government agency "breaks with tradition" it is time to look for the conspiracy. And one needn't look too far, as the story line from all of official Washington has suddenly soured on the current Iraqi Prime Minister. Please see Glenn Greenwald's excellent write up (;aim=greenwald) on why this sea change should be looked at with great suspicion. It is less a break with tradition, and more to do with the $250,000 payments to lobbyists. Policy being decided by payoffs and profits. Not a break from tradition, but rather Standard Operating Procedure for this administration.