Q&A: Milt Bearden

Writer and former senior CIA operations officer Milt Bearden on the systemic national security problems that exist when “modern impeachments deal with break-ins and blow jobs.”


Mother Jones: What will Bush’s legacy be?

Milt Bearden: The Bush legacy, in its most reduced and understandable form, will be that the limits of American democracy, and all its institutions, will have been exposed. We all know now, after eight years of Bush, that there are really no checks and balances built into our system when it comes to national security. If a president, however flawed, driven, or even deranged, decides on a military action, Congress really cannot stop it. Modern impeachments deal with break-ins and blow jobs.

We have finally seen the limits on America’s ability to conduct a thoughtful foreign policy that serves our national interests, with 535 members of Congress in a contest to see who hates Hezbollah and Hamas the most, and who loves Israel the most. Israel, sadly, is the loser in this madness. Just ask the Israelis what they think.

We have seen the limits of military might, of having the most massive destructive capability in human history, but a tiny army detached from its citizenry, and virtually no money. This has been Bush’s recipe for disaster in an era of asymmetrical warfare.

And Bush has shown us that intelligence—a huge, unmanageable, uncoordinated $42 billion disaster—can be expected to continue to fail in the future as it has in the recent past. There is too much information and too little understanding. And our adversaries, large and small, are all capable of manipulating it, turning us into the puppets at the end of the chain.

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