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.”

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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.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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