George HW Bush and the Deep State

George Herbert Walker Bush and Dwight D. Eisenhower

George Herbert Walker Bush and Dwight D. Eisenhower

Let history be our guide

One of the few things I agree with the whackadoodle Right about (a very specific subset of the right more generally speaking) is this whole idea of a Deep State. That’s because I was already comfortable with the notion when it was part of the whackadoodle Left’s repertoire. Since Deep State is such a loaded term, though, let’s just skip what it was supposed to connote and look instead at some of the very specific people it denoted. David Talbot did a bang up job over at Salon a few years back.  The central figure I’m looking at is John Foster Dulles. For me, the most significant detail is this:

In the CIA’s employment of former Nazis, American agents worked very closely with these people who part of a regime that was characterized by fascism, violence against its own people, domestic surveillance and other similarly undemocratic attributes. How much of an influence did Nazis have on the nascent CIA and, in a greater sense, the American government?

Among other noteworthy achievements, Dulles helped instigate the Iranian coup in ’53 (wonder why they don’t like us?) and he liked that one so much he did it again in Guatemala the next year, as per Wikipedia.

We might also wish to take a look at what the History News Network out of George Washington University’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences has to say about the scandalous rumors of ties between Prescott Bush and Dulles. They take a rather measured approach, to be certain. I leave it to the reader to make of whatever connections they find for themselves. As for me, I’m inclined to think Dulles and Prescott, I’m sorry, Pres, might have been a little chummy going all the way back to their business days. The ones that just happened to benefit the Nazis so very much. By accident or something. No harm, no foul, right?

Meanwhile, while various permutations of Pres Bush and Dulles buddies and acquaintances did okay by their dealings with the enemy, however indirectly, young George was bombing the crap out of Nazi Germany’s more obvious allies in the Pacific theater and getting medals for it. For that, if for nothing else, GHW Bush deserves a bit of thanks and respect. He finished up his college education at Yale, where he was a member of a not spooky at all just secret enough society called Skull & Bones. And he packed up the family and moved to Texas where there’s no irony to be found in his fan base whatsoever. He followed that up with a successful business career, as you do when standing on the shoulders of giants, regardless of where the profits came from. Then he led a mostly banal, boring existence of low-grade politics.

No. No he didn’t. Being a millionaire in the 60’s had its perks. They were the billionaires of the 60’s. One of those perks is getting taken seriously in local politics. George did okay for himself according to Wiki. He cut his teeth on little things like opposing civil rights legislation because even back then, something something Big Gubmint was much more important than what black America was going through at the time. He didn’t seem to have any real problem with the John Birch Society other than “absorbing” them into the party rather than let them take it over. He gladly embraced fleeing Dixiecrats in a political marriage of convenience, because ideological differences didn’t matter when the important thing was just getting rid of the Democrats. Power for power’s sake is such a lofty ideal, isn’t it?

Strangely, when actually in office later on, he voted for the Civil Rights Act even though it was unpopular at home. Credit where credit’s due.

He supported Nixon’s Vietnam policy. Yet he wanted to abolish the draft. Does he still, then, get brownie points for thinking birth control wasn’t the worst idea ever?

After that, it looks like he did Tricky Dick a favor by giving up a powerful seat in exchange for a grab at the Senate and whoops. Maybe Tricky Dick wasn’t the best guy to take political advice from. But he did get some political plums out of the deal, and he supported Nixon to the bloody end, right up until he didn’t, but he still liked him anyway. It was really hard being Chair of the RNC back then.

After a stint in China as a not-really-an-ambassador, he did some more moderate good, maybe. Is there a balance yet? After that (and getting snubbed for Veep twice, once maybe partly because of our more recently remembered neocon pal, Rummy.

No. There’s no deep state to see here.

And wouldn’t you know it, with a very limited background in intelligence (only what one might pick up acting as a not-really-an-ambassador to a hostile nation), he just happens to get put in charge of the whole secret police kit n’ kaboodle when Ford appointed him the new DCI. Apparently the CIA was having a collective sad at the time because they’d been caught breaking the law rather badly, and Bush made them feel much better. He tried ingratiating himself to Carter to keep his job. Carter wasn’t having any of it. Why? Who knows? He was replaced with a mere acting director until the real deal was confirmed later. That’s a spanking.

Still no Deep State, right? It’s not like Bush went on to become a director of the Council on Foreign Relations or anything. Oh, wait. So he did.

Of course, he was something of a failed presidential candidate, only making it to Veep under Reagan, which, honestly, had to suck. All that deep history, those Blue Blood Yankee Texan ties and dollars, a family tie to Dulles, intelligence experience developing beneficial ties with China sufficient to eventually get Dulles’ job itself, and he was clever enough to call Reagan’s financial policy prescriptions “voodoo economics,” and he still couldn’t beat a has-been actor with a slick, greasy connection to the so-called Moral Majority.

Imagine the feeling in George’s throat when he was called back to DC because Hinckley shot Reagan. A heartbeat away from the presidency, finally! Dammit! How wrong is it to wonder now, today of all days, for the first time, now that I’m looking at the string of biographical events, did Bush orchestrate the attempt? I mean, it’s not like the CIA has ever set up a patsy before. Where would he even get such a horrible idea? Definitely not from a Nazi-influenced intelligence apparatus inherited indirectly from Dulles. Of course not. That’s rubbish and I should be ashamed of myself for even thinking it. Don’t count on it, though.

As Veep, he did a great many predictable Veep things, mostly without doing any lasting damage and maybe even accomplishing some good along the way, except when he didn’t.

I find it interesting that Bush appears to speak for Reagan on the subject of the Beirut embassy bombing in 1983. He expected Reagan to take ultimate responsibility for failing to defend the embassy, but you know, pressure. Being Reagan was hard. At least, that’s what I get from Wiki, and that’s really all I think George deserves. Mind you, the embassy bombing was early in the year. I guess nobody was expecting Reagan to take ultimate responsibility for failing to defend the 220 Marines who died later that year in Beirut.

Hunter S. Thompson knew exactly where that blame belonged, and yes, ultimately that blame was Reagan’s. Weird how Bush doesn’t get a shout-out on Wiki for expecting Reagan to step up, isn’t it? Then again, why would he? Reagan, Season 1 was just the warm up. In Season 2, we got to see the Iran-Contra scandal blow up in our faces.

And what did Veep Bush do to hold accountable those who contributed illegally to the deaths of 220 US Marines? Jack squat at the moment, unless obstructing justice counts. He lied to the American public when he claimed he was out of the loop for the events of Iran-Contra, yet in his own personal diary, claimed he knew all the details. Who was he trying to impress? Himself?

Now, take a gander at this quick n’ dirty history of the Iran-Contra scandal if you don’t already have the particulars memorized. It reads like a Who’s Who of his son’s future neocon cabal.

No Deep State to see here.

There was certainly no Deep State to see when George became our 41st president. What’s even remotely spooky about the erstwhile head of our secret police (call them what you will) taking the mantle of power? At least, with all that personal knowledge, maybe he could bring criminals and traitors to justice, right? Not a chance in hell. And Ollie North got to remain an honest to goddamn goodness American hee-ro, never mind that Iran-Contra was the GOP’s Benghazi before Benghazi was a thing, except that instead of a handful of Americans paying the ultimate price, it was 220 Marines who may have still been alive but for North.

Here we are all these years later, and the cause celebre in George’s party is to build a wall? Why? Thar’s an invasion! Why? Because Reagan policies that furthered Dulles objectives wrought havoc in Latin America, and people fleeing the hellholes we helped turn their homes into have the silly damned notion that here is the best place for them to be. Build a wall, to hell with Matthew 25! Ollie North is a hero to this day!

This is all part of the Bush dynasty legacy, and good ol’ George had such a significant hand in every last damned bit of it, from the enabling of the rabidly religiose right to the racism and xenophobia that has swept his party to this day. Now we get to watch as politician after pundit bend over backwards to blow smoke up George’s dead ass, including Obama. There really is no bigger revelation of the degree of farce under which we labor and live than when one of our presidents becomes a candidate to have their portrait on a coin.

And the GOP’s stubbornly historically ignorant base will, without bothering to do even this much reading or thinking, sing George’s praises and keep damning the Deep State, practically in the same breath.

I can’t be sure, but I think I can feel George smiling from his cold, stainless steel table while they get him all dolled up for his final date with destiny. I wonder if there will be a presidential seal on that corkscrewed buttplug thing they’ll use to keep his juices from leaking out. That’s the final image of him I need to have to cancel out the saccharine bullshit with which we’re about to be inundated in his honor.

1 reply »