(My Middle East)

77 days with a journalist, Lebanon, and a list of non sequiturs

Got what Eisenhower wished for

with 8 comments

I’m reading ‘Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA‘ by Tim Weiner. The book is incredible in scope and Weiner is ruthless in chronicling all of the miserable failures of the CIA (it’s entire existence according to Weiner). This quote on Allen Dulles, central intelligence director under Eisenhower pretty much sums up how hard Weiner lays into the CIA throughout the whole book.

Over the next eight years, through his devotion to covert action, his disdain for the details of analysis, and his dangerous practice of deceiving the president of the United States, Allen Dulles did untold damage to the agency he had helped to create.”

The book goes over the history of the CIA, which surprisingly enough only got its start after World War II. Theres a lot of history and lessons the country has already learned that seemed to have been forgotten. The most absurd one I’ve come across so far was Eisenhower on the Middle East:

“The president said he wanted to promote the idea of an Islamic jihad against godless communism. ‘We should do everything possible to stress the ‘holy war’ aspect,’ he said at a September 1957 White House meeting…”

How preposterous this statement is made me laugh out loud. Think of how refreshing it would be if those ‘godless communists’ were the main global concern and not Islamic jihadists. It also raised two points that I’ve been thinking about lately.

1) The United States has created many of the opponents that it fights today

2) If you view conflict as zero-sum games, you are bound to replace one enemy with an even more desperate intractable foe.

Hopefully more to come on both of those soon.

Written by stephenddockery

August 18, 2009 at 4:02 am

8 Responses

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  1. I’m sure you’ve figured this out by now, but ‘sharq awsatee’ doesn’t mean ‘my Middle East’ … It means absolutely nothing. ‘My Middle East’ in Arabic would be ‘sharqee al-awsat’


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