Said the president: “For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and, at times, a policy-making arm of the Government. … [T]his quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue.”
This dire warning about the propensity of the Central Intelligence Agency to go rogue came from Harry S. Truman.
Truman’s call to “limit the CIA role to intelligence” was published in December 22, 1963, by The Washington Post (WaPo). The same newspaper is now decrying Presidents Trump’s decision to “end the CIA’s covert program to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels battling the government of Bashar al-Assad, a move long sought by Russia, according to U.S. officials.”
The move is a good one. The WaPo threw Russia into the reportorial mix purely to sully President Trump (and due to the intellectual deficiencies of correspondents incapable of teasing apart policy from political intrigue).
The 33rd U.S. president, a Democrat before the great deformation of that party, was first to issue the warning against the agency he had established. Not only was the newly founded intelligence arm of President Truman mutating into “a policy-making arm of government,” but it was “a subverting influence in the affairs of other people,” he cautioned.
In 1963, Truman was meditating on restoring the monster he had created “to its original assignment” of intelligence gathering in the raw. The CIA’s sole purpose was to keep the president apprised of information unfiltered, unpoliticized.
In 2017, Trump is dealing with a genie too powerful to beat back into the bottle: a mutated swamp creature.
So, is this a screeching U-turn in Trump’s foreign policy? Who know, but in Syria, at least, President Trump is inching closer to delivering on a campaign promise. The president finally appears to be seeking a solution sans regime change, with strongman Bashar Al Assad still at the helm.
Curtailing this “symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue”—stopping the CIA and the National Security Council (another of President Truman’s metastatic creations) from fomenting more war in Syria and confrontation with Russia—is a start. In ending the “covert CIA program to arm anti-Assad rebels in Syria,” Trump, hopefully, has disassociated from the “rebels.” The little we know about these people is not good.
For one thing, they play Americans like a fiddle. For another, they can’t be trained.
One US training program for these prize Syrian fighters—for whom John McCain is plumping from his sickbed—cost the American taxpayer one billion dollars. The program yielded “four or five” trained people on the battlefield! Not “four or five” battalions, but “four or five” individuals. That’s no waste of American taxpayers’ money! That’s not a bad return on an investment; it’s a scandal! For corruption on this scale in China, the politicians in charge are executed.
The swamp—the generals, the CIA and the NSC—is roiling. Try as they may, their arguments for unseating Assad are poor, best encapsulated in the angels-and-demons worldview of Nikki Haley, Trump’s U.N. ambassador. The president has hired individuals who don’t articulate the principles he ran on, former Gov. Haley, for example. Thanks to President Trump, Haley went from provincial idiot to global village idiot.
Once confined to spitefully tearing down Gen. Lee’s battle flag in South Carolina—Haley’s windy verbiage is now heard around the world. The woman promotes war on behalf of an administration that promised diplomacy where doable.
“In no way do we see peace in that area with Assad at the head of the Syrian government,” thundered Haley. Her Disneyfied production at the U.N. stars an evil dictator who was killing his noble people, until, high on paternalism, our heroic Haley (and Hillary before her for Libya)—rode to the rescue.
Our bickering wards in the region aren’t about to forget their religious jealousies and join forces, and certainly not under American guardianship. The conflict is regional, tribal, ancient. Syria is impervious to outside, top-down intervention.
For their part, the marionette media and their political puppet-masters detest Donald Trump. For them, an honest examination of the merits of his decision to divest from anti-Assad rebels is out of the question.
Instead, a decision to terminate what Truman himself would view as a rogue CIA operation is refracted through the distorting prism of America’s “reigning Russophobia.”
Ilana Mercer is the author of The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016) & Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011). Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube.