Wednesday, May 10, 2006

hard questions for soft times...

As we approach what promises to be a bloody Senate fight for confirmation of the president's nominee for new director of the CIA, four star air force general, Michael Hayden, some questions about the director of national intelligence, John D. Negroponte, the person to whom Hayden will report, immediately come to mind. For openers, what is it precisely that the director of national intelligence does? Is it better for "national security" if the person who heads the CIA has deeper bonds with the national intelligence director, or the secretary of defense, and why?

More importantly, who is John Negroponte, what do we know about his past, and does it matter? Why isn't the mainstream media coming clean, and refreshing our collective memory, about the dirt under his fingernails? What would friends in the Philippines, Honduras, and El Salvador have to say about Mr. Negroponte, if given the chance; moreover, what will future generations have to say about the role of Michael Hayden in implementing a plan for domestic surveillance at the National Security Agency? Are the lives of these two men, Negroponte and Hayden, parallel lines, or do they intersect and, if so, at which point do they intersect; who, where, and what will suffer most as a result of this comingling of dubious energies.

"It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society," Buddhist philosopher Krishnamurti once said. When we allow a concept like the "new normal" to be superimposed on us, we not only surrender to an archaic, and ineffectual, ideological belief system endorsed by a fraction of a percent of the American people, but face consequences arguably more grim than the collapse of one empire or another.

Finally, is the intelligence we gather the grist of guided missiles, or the kind that will enlighten, and empower us to find constructive solutions to vexing problems? We must ask the hard questions as history can expect no less of us.