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AMERICAN DEMOCRACY - GOVERNMENT > 9. LEGACY OF ASHES ~ CHAPTERS 25 - 27 (265 - 290) (02/28/11 - 03/06/11) ~ 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 28th - March 6th, we are reading approximately the next 30 pages of Legacy of Ashes.

This thread will discuss the following chapters and pages:

Week Nine - February 28th - March 6th -> Chapters TWENTY-FIVE, TWENTY-SIX, and TWENTY-SEVEN p. 265 - 290
TWENTY-FIVE - We Knew Then That We Could Not Win the War and TWENTY-SIX - A Political H-Bomb and TWENTY-SEVEN - Track Down the Foreign Communists


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 28th (Week Nine of our Discussion)

Week Nine - February 28th - March 6th -> Chapters TWENTY-FIVE, TWENTY-SIX, and TWENTY-SEVEN p. 265 - 290
TWENTY-FIVE - We Knew Then That We Could Not Win the War and TWENTY-SIX - A Political H-Bomb and TWENTY-SEVEN - Track Down the Foreign Communists

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 Twenty-Five:


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

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Chapter Twenty-Six:


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

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Chapter Twenty-Seven:


message 5: by Bryan (last edited Mar 01, 2011 06:32AM) (new)

Bryan Craig I found it very interesting that Bob McNamara called CIA Vietnam expert George Allen for a discussion on Vietnam so early. And from that discussion, the pentagon papers were born.

This looks like another example of analyst vs. field operative. The two divisions exist but are rarely on the same page.


message 6: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Even if there was communication between the two divisions, it certainly wasn't apparent. Field ops seems like they were running amok in Vietnam.


message 7: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig So true, and they didn't have a clue what the enemy was doing as seen by the Tet offensive that they totally missed. They were just stacking up a body count.

I think the author added an important element in LBJ's decision about Vietnam and not to run: because the CIA could not get information on the enemy, the U.S. could not win the war.


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

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
This book is an eye opener isn't it. I wonder if the agencies are not on the same page because they try to be in competition with each other at the demise of the country and president.


message 9: by Rodney (new)

Rodney | 83 comments Bently, this book does raise concerns in my opinion, if the CIA which is one of the most vital parts of National Security is this poorly ran, what is happening in the other agencies?

These discussions have done a great job of being non political and I'm not trying to interject that here. It's just stunning the amount of money the CIA is throwing around with absolutely no results.

Is this indicative of all agencies? Can it ever be fixed?


message 10: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Mar 01, 2011 06:51PM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Rodney, I will share my thoughts on this with you. I had the same fears that you had.

We have done our best to discuss the issues and the problems as well as the causes and the effects here and thank you for your kind words.

There were both Republican and Democratic presidents involved; both Republican and Democratic controlled legislative bodies; but no matter who was in charge in the Executive and Legislative branches; the problems were the same with this group. Not only is it stunning how much money it wasted then; I have to wonder how much this is costing us now.

Once an infrastructure keeps growing exponentially; I think it becomes almost like a living organism feeding off of itself and others to sustain itself. What is it capable of doing to remain operational - that scares me a little.

And if the waste is so rampant here; what else don't we know about. I really wonder if one man or woman in charge of the executive branch can change this or would they be ruined in the process. It sounds like these folks can be ruthless to those folks who stand in their way. The legislative branches may have more success but we really have not seen much discussion about this group lately.

How much of what is happening in the world today is the result of all of these outside countries stirring the pot - you have to wonder. All of the unrest in the Middle East for example had to be orchestrated; things just do not happen that way in concert - no matter what the media reports.


message 11: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig A great question, Rodney, and I think Bentley in large answered most of it.

I expect there are other agencies doing intelligence in State, Justice, and Defense. They might have done some limited covert stuff, but probably not at the extent the CIA does it. I'm sure these other intelligence agencies also made mistakes as well as successes.

We know about the Church Committee (and I expect we will learn more as we go along), but I'm not sure how well it actually reformed the CIA.

It can't be one person who can change the CIA. It needs a lot of political will by the legislative and executive branches. Also, they need to solve the problem of bringing in good agents and building a strong human network, a problem that has plagued the CIA from the beginning. I'm not sure creating the Homeland Department solved it.


message 12: by Mary (new)

Mary Kristine | 142 comments 1)These three chapters document the beginnings of a new role for the CIA activities, internal surveillance! Not getting it right internationally, the agency tries to show its talents in "spying on Americans".

2)Concerning Vietnam, the author states "The United States could not defeat an enemy it could not understand."

Fore-shadowing??


message 13: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Very astute observations Mary.


message 14: by Bryan (last edited Mar 02, 2011 10:24AM) (new)

Bryan Craig I agree. Understanding your enemy is so important and it just goes to show how how costly it is to have a breakdown in intelligence.

We clearly have a blatant break of the law when the CIA starting surveillance on U.S. citizens. Amazing.

I guess because LBJ thought there were international communists involved, he brought in the CIA. If he had to do it, better to use the FBI, stronger legal grounds, I suppose.


message 15: by Mary (new)

Mary Kristine | 142 comments He used the FBI as well!


message 16: by Vincent (new)

Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1245 comments I have to agree that money was wasted....... arrogantly and to fulfill personal goals - not due to errors or oversights - that Bill Harvey was kept on the payroll - this is meat for the Tea Party and as a lifelong private sector worker it is most aggrivating that these guys have got better retirements than folks that had to perform or their organizations failed and no one got anything...............oh well

As McCone fads out my only real hero in the current administation, albeit briefly, appears - Bob Gates and it seems that he sees quickly that the North Vietnamese will to persist will beat us. Will he crumble when he is running the agency? I worked for Obama and I think Gates, left over from Bush, is the best man in the administration.

That Helms buckled and agreed to present favorable reports on Vietnam is a sign of a lack of moral courage. He did not do his job- he did not protect the American people -

That Johnson, a Texan and McClellan, from Arkansas, two southerners wanted to find an external source for the race riots and other domestic disturbances is interesting - might it have been easier to accept the truth if they were from another part of the country.


message 17: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Vince, it is going to be interesting to watch what Gates does.

Regarding the favorable reports, isn't is amazing what someone will do to keep a job and look good to a president??!


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