Sunday, May 01, 2011

The Petraeus nomination

Glenn Greenwald looks at the Petraeus nomination. He's right that there's a difference between this one, that was made to little if any complaint, and the Hayden one, that drew objections from all over the spectrum - from Feinstein and Pelosi through Biden to Hoekstra - because (as Feinstein said at the time) "You can't have the military control most of the major aspects of intelligence. The CIA is a civilian agency and is meant to be a civilian agency."

That difference is that Hayden at least came out of the Intelligence Community. He had some idea of the CIA's alleged prime function. Petraeus doesn't have anything to do with intelligence except to cherry-pick it to support the conclusions his political masters want and to take the tactically useful bits to fight his wars. But then again, the CIA has turned into another arm of the military - doing most of the fighting in Yemen, for instance. So why not Petraeus?
The nomination of Petraeus doesn't change much; it merely reflects how Washington is run. That George Bush's favorite war-commanding General -- who advocated for and oversaw the Surge in Iraq -- is also Barack Obama's favorite war-commanding General, and that Obama is now appointing him to run a nominally civilian agency that has been converted into an "increasingly militarized" arm of the American war-fighting state, says all one needs to know about the fully bipartisan militarization of American policy. There's little functional difference between running America's multiple wars as a General and running them as CIA Director because American institutions in the National Security State are all devoted to the same overarching cause: Endless War.
No kidding...

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