Arrogance in a Former Secretary of State

I have mentioned several times that I am reading the book The Brothers, a book about former Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and his brother Allen Dulles, who headed the CIA.  These brothers not only ratcheted up the Cold War, but created problems for America that we are still dealing with.  I know I have talked a lot about this book, but it is something every American should read.  Foster Dulles helped the military gain power in Pakistan.  The following passage, where Foster is interviewed by Walter Lippman, would be comical, if the ending wasn’t so tragic.  You cant make this stuff up!  Remember this is an interview with a sitting Secretary of State during the Eisenhower Administration:

“Look Walter,” Dulles told him, “I’ve got to get some real fighting men into the south of Asia.  The only Asians who can really fight are the Pakistanis.  That’s why we need them in the alliance.  We could never get along without the Gurkhas.”

“But Foster,” Lippman replied, “the Gurkhas aren’t Pakistanis.”

“Well, they may not be Pakistanis, but they’re Moslems.”

“No, I’m afraid they’re not Moslems, either.  They’re Hindus.”

“No matter!” Foster replied, and launched into a half-hour lecture about the dangers of Communism in Asia.

George W. Bush and John Bolten’s spiritual father has been found. 

Manipulation of the Press by the CIA

I mentioned yesterday that I am reading The Bothers by Stephen Kinzer. This is a book about Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and his brother, the head of the CIA, Allen Dulles.  If anyone wondered what role the government has played in shaping public opinion, look no further than how the Dulles brothers influenced the press during their lifetime.  I understand that this took place in the mid 20th century, but one only needs to remember Judith Miller and others during the Iraq War, or look at the CIA’s manipulation of events surrounding torture today. The following is a passage from The Brothers (Henry Luce was the owner of Time and Life magazines):  

Their old friend Henry Luce put each of the brothers on the cover of Time during their first year in office.  Allen was pictured with his ubiquitous pipe, smoke curling up toward a black-cloaked figure carrying a dagger, above the title “In an Ancient Game, New Techniques and a New Team.”  Foster followed a couple of months later.  Wrinkled and sullen, staring out from beneath a black homburg in front of a globe encircled with red, white, and blue banners, he looked worthy of what Time described as his mission: “To Unite Principle and the Facts of Life.”  

Luce’s friendship was only one of the many assets that helped Foster and Allen project their views into the American press.  Foster built a dense network of media contacts, and once Allen became director of central intelligence he went even further.  Allen established discreet contact with owners, publishers, and editors of influential daily newspapers, magazines, and broadcast networks.  Among his regular collaborators were William Paley of CBS, Arthur Hays Sulzberger of the New York Times, Alfred Friendly of the Washington Post, and James Copley of Copley News Service.  Through them, and through the journalists who were veterans of the Office of War Information, the U.S. government’s official propaganda arm during World War II, he regularly planted stories about foreign countries and their leaders.  By one account he could “pick up the phone and edit a breaking story, make sure an irritating foreign corespondent was yanked from the field, or hire the services of men such as Time’s Berlin bureau chief and Newsweek’s man in Tokyo.”  The columnist Allen Drury called him “a man of notoriously thin skin who is not above trying to get the jobs of newspapermen who criticize his agency.”

Years later it became clear that Allen’s efforts to influence the American press were not casual or episodic, but part of a multifaceted project called Operation Mockingbird.  Through it he funneled information, some of it classified, to journalists disposed to promote the CIA worldview, among them James Reston of the New York Times, Benjamin Bradlee of Newsweek, and the influential columnists Joseph and Stewart Aslop.  Operatives also planted stories in smaller news outlets and arranged for them to be amplified through networks controlled by friendly media barons.  Frank Wisner, who helped oversee Mockingbird, called it the CIA’s “mighty Wurlitzer.”