Last week, actor and activist Alec Baldwin penned a piece for the Huffington Post on a simple first step to defeating terrorism: getting rid of the CIA. That will never happen, of course, since the CIA - not the president of the United States - is the most powerful tool the country has for directly forcing political change around the world. We were all reminded of that recently with the memories spurred by the death of Augusto Pinochet and the CIA's role in bringing that torturing murderer to power - a reality played out over and over again throughout the CIA's history.
If you want regime change, call the CIA.
If you want someone disappeared and tortured, call the CIA.
If you want your enemies assassinated, call the CIA.
If you want immunity for your crimes, join the CIA.
If you want to screw with someone's head, call the CIA.
And who's running the US government now? The son of a former CIA director, George Bush. A vice president who pushed hard to get the CIA to fix the intel on Iraq and who ordered the invasion of Panama, Dick Cheney. The man involved with CIA human rights abuses in Honduras, John Negroponte, who now heads National Intelligence. A former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, the new Defence secretary. An expert on the Cold War and member of Bush 41's NSC, Condi Rice (who is now eagerly and openly funding Abbas in the pending civil war in Palestine so she can get more practice with regime change as well - but that's another story). And the current head of the CIA, Michael Hayden? We've barely heard a peep out of him since he was confirmed. Maybe Kissinger, Bush's Iraq war advisor, is keeping him busy with Iran attack plans.
No wonder anything goes when it comes to fighting the so-called war on terrorism, the inhumane treatment of detainees, the approval of secret prisons and torture, spying without warrants and endless detention without charges. All of the top tier people are simply carrying on in public the way the CIA has been in private since its inception. And, just as the CIA has escaped punishment for its crimes (although that may not be the case for long if Italy has its way), the group of criminals who run the US definitely expect to as well.
If you want regime change, people disappeared and tortured, asassinations, immunity from your crimes and the never-ending ability to severely screw with peoples heads, just call the Bush administration because if you have the money, the oil, the political favours and/or the power, you can get anything you want. Satisfaction, however, is not guaranteed.
Baldwin was right: the CIA needs to go - as does every last member of this administration.