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AMERICAN DEMOCRACY - GOVERNMENT > 7. LEGACY OF ASHES ~ CHAPTERS 19 - 21 (200 - 235) (02/14/11 - 02/20/11) ~ No spoilers, please

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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Hello Everyone,

For the week of February 14th - February 20th, we are reading approximately the next 35 pages of Legacy of Ashes.

This thread will discuss the following chapters and pages:

Week Seven - February 14th - February 20th -> Chapters NINETEEN, TWENTY, and TWENTY-ONE p. 200 - 235
NINETEEN - We’d Be Delighted To Trade Those Missiles and TWENTY - Hey, Boss, We Did A Good Job, Didn’t We and TWENTY-ONE - I Thought It Was a Conspiracy


Remember folks, these weekly non spoiler threads are just that - non spoiler. There are many other threads where "spoiler information" can be placed including the glossary and any of the other supplemental threads.

We will open up a thread for each week's reading. Please make sure to post in the particular thread dedicated to those specific chapters and page numbers to avoid spoilers. We will also open up supplemental threads as we have done for other spotlighted reads.

We kicked off this book on January 3rd. We look forward to your participation. Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other noted on line booksellers do have copies of the book and shipment can be expedited. The book can also be obtained easily at your local library, on iTunes for the ipad, etc. However, be careful, some audible formats are abridged and not unabridged.

There is still a little time remaining to obtain the book and get started. There is no rush and we are thrilled to have you join us. It is never too late to get started and/or to post.

Welcome,

~Bentley

Week of
 February 14th (Week Seven of our Discussion)

Week Seven - February 14th - February 20th -> Chapters NINETEEN, TWENTY, and TWENTY-ONE p. 200 - 235
NINETEEN - We’d Be Delighted To Trade Those Missiles and TWENTY - Hey, Boss, We Did A Good Job, Didn’t We and TWENTY-ONE - I Thought It Was a Conspiracy


This is a link to the complete table of contents and syllabus thread:

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/4...

We are off to a good beginning.

TO SEE ALL WEEK'S THREADS SELECT VIEW ALL

Legacy of Ashes the History of the CIA by Tim Weiner Tim Weiner Tim Weiner

Remember this is a non spoiler thread.


message 2: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Chapter 19


message 3: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Chapter 20


message 4: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Chapter 21


message 5: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig I have to admit that McCone handled himself pretty well through the Cuban Missile Crisis, and relatively speaking, the CIA didn't totally botch things up during this event. They got pictures, analyzed them correctly, and McCone wasn't so keen on going into Cuba with "guns blazing."


message 6: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
I have to agree; if there were any folks exonerated in the book thus far - I would have to say that McCone is one of them. And there are very few.


message 7: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Absolutely. And he opposed the overthrow of Diem in South Vietnam, which turned about to be a disaster as we know.


message 8: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Yes, I agree and I think this was too much for the stomach of JFK too in the final analysis as it should have been.


message 9: by Mary (last edited Feb 17, 2011 02:05PM) (new)

Mary Kristine | 142 comments In a Time of Torment 1961-1967 (Nonconformist History of our Times) by Isidor F. Stone Isidor F. Stone
A total opposite point of view was I. F. Stone’s claim that Kennedy became a master of illusions while dealing with reality and avoiding disillusionment. His magic was never more prevalent than his actions during the time of Cuban Missile Crisis. He created the illusion that America's security was at immediate risk and that the choices he made were the only safe ones available. His actions and words disguised his need to solve the situation prior to the November elections, to appear tough and to maintain the United States as THE WORLD POWER. The disillusionment of the situation was that Kennedy desired to challenge the Russians in a test of wills, taking the world to the brink of disaster. Stone accuses Kennedy of using war or the threat of war a political instrument. He perceived incidents in foreign policy in terms of their effect on the balance of power in the world and the economic interests of the United States. Though Stone regarded this last statement as a negative, many Americans see this an important and justifiable attribute for our leaders.


message 10: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Interesting Mary. It sounds like Stone's viewpoint fits well into CIA's ideals. It seems the CIA saw itself as the first line of defense against world-wide communism, and use violence as a political instrument.

I think Stone's book is:
In a Time of Torment 1961-1967 (Nonconformist History of our Times) by Isidor F. Stone by Isidor F. Stone


message 11: by Mary (new)

Mary Kristine | 142 comments Thanks for finding the link!


message 12: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Feb 17, 2011 03:06PM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Mary, I really wonder how our founding fathers were so astute about the corruption of power; it really is amazing that presidents do want to create the illusion that they are very much in control. Many said that George W. Bush did the same thing (using war or the threat of war as a political instrument). Goodness we could probably cite many others aside from these two who played dangerous games with our security. I will say this much that after reading this book; I have come away not feeling more secure but less.


message 13: by Mary (new)

Mary Kristine | 142 comments Fighting the Odds The Life of Senator Frank Church by Leroy Ashby Leroy Ashby

Bentley,
This was exactly the reason Frank Church chaired both the subcommittee on Multinationals and Intelligence. "...suspicion of concentrated power". "Church questioned the definition of 'national security' that often disguised the most sordid acts." p491


message 14: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
For sure Mary. And Vheissu actually included the links to the Church Committee Report.

Don't we see this "excuse" used time and time again. Scare the people and then execute onerous expansion of the executive branch's powers and reach. And what we don't know about seems (from this book anyways) to be even that much worse.

You know I always placed our country on a pedestal and I still feel that it is the best among the rest; but the star on the top of the tree is a little crooked after reading this book.


message 15: by Vheissu (last edited Feb 19, 2011 11:30AM) (new)

Vheissu | 118 comments Mary wrote: "He created the illusion that America's security was at immediate risk and that the choices he made were the only safe ones available..."

Very interesting post, Mary.

I may disagree with you about the extent of the threat to the United States posed by Russia's missiles in Cuba. In 1962, the Soviet Union had no real capability to deliver nuclear weapons on continental U.S. territory. The Americans, by contrast, could hit the USSR with both long-range bombers and ICBMs, giving the United States a decisive strategic advantage. Had Kennedy permitted the installation of the missiles in Cuba, one of the most important strategic advantages enjoyed by the United States would have have lost.


message 16: by Vincent (new)

Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1245 comments Just a couple of observations. It seems more evident to me that Mr. Weiner is posturing the facts to the detriment of the CIA - right or wrong that is what I see.

Second John McClone is my hero for these three chapters


message 17: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
I have to agree with you Vince about McCone. As far as Weiner and any ulterior motives; it is hard to mask all of the failings and abuses of power we have read about.

Is it posturing or just a reporting of the facts; I think everyone has to make up their own mind. But it certainly is not placing the CIA in any favorable light.


message 18: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Every author has a perspective, and, at least for me, one reason why I enjoy reading. And let's face it, when it comes to history, it's a little like the testimony of 40,000 fans watching the same baseball game - you get 40,000 different versions no matter what actually occured. I do think in the case of this book we get a lot of Weiner's less than favorable view of the CIA. I wonder though how much of the CIA's success is available for publication (meaning released to the public in ANY form) because the agency's successes probably reveal methodology, people, and strategy that is and/or can be used again in the future. Some of that must be at play here. I am not naive enough to believe that everything protected in the name of national security is appropriate to cloak in secrecy. But some of it is bound to be, and by virtue of having data on failures rather than achievements, what we read in a book like this one is bound to be tainted by that as well.

At least, that is my take.


message 19: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Good post Alisa.


message 20: by Bryan (last edited Mar 02, 2011 06:09AM) (new)

Bryan Craig One thing I find helpful regarding this book is the author brings out all the declassified material and puts it together for the first time. It is an important book in that respect.

I suspect another author is going to come along and use this material, possibly in a more positive light.


message 21: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
The other author may be the CIA (smile).

I guess you are correct Bryan; we cannot dispute that the declassified material that the author uses is not factual or not accurate. We could say that he was selective in order to prove his premise; but not inaccurate in the details he chose to tell us about.

Of course, if there are positive declassified material and information, it is certainly the case that some other author could read the declassified information and decide to write a more positive assessment if the declassified material warrented it. I imagine that positive declassified material would exist for the same time period and would be also declassified if that existed.

I am assuming that for the time period that the material and documents were declassified that it would contain ALL the documents positive and negative for that time period. Am I wrong to assume that?


message 22: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Bentley wrote: "The other author may be the CIA (smile).

I guess you are correct Bryan; we cannot dispute that the declassified material that the author uses is not factual or not accurate. We could say that he ..."


I don't think you are wrong to assume that, I imagine there are positive things in those materials. I wonder how much though?


message 23: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Mar 02, 2011 01:57PM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
I am beginning to think that this is just a very sad story.


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