Ronald Reagan birthed a baby
Since last week was Intelligence Failure Week in America, I thought this selection from Kevin Phillip’s American Dynasty was timely:
At any rate, the national security state was only slightly wounded in the sixties and seventies, rebounding to thrive in the eighties and nineties despite a few bumps after the breakup of the Soviet Union, when the CIA briefly feared for its future. More to the point, two men named George Bush would be CIA director, vice president, or president of the United States for seventeen of the twenty-eight years between 1976 and 2004. In a very real but little understood sense, the Bush dynasty was already getting under way in 1980-81 when George Bush went from the CIA directors job to the vice presidency, a jump no one had ever managed before and one that brought a new and unfamiliar mind-set to the executive elected office.
In 1981, because of Bush’s CIA experience–and perhaps also because of the influence of the White House chief of staff, James A. Baker III, who had managed the Texan’s 1980 nomination campaign–President Reagan issued National Security Directive 3, naming the vice president to head a Special Situation Group to identify national security crises and plan for them. A new era of clandestine arms sales, massive armaments buildups, secret diplomacy, and covert actions, perhaps as much Bush’s doing as Reagan’s, was about to unfold in the Middle East generally and in Ira, Iraq, and Afghanistan specifically. With it, the seeds of two Persian Gulf wars and hundreds of terrorist strikes would be fertilized and watered.
If anyone thinks that Bush and his cabinet were duped by bad intelligence (other than the genetic kind), you’re kidding yourself.