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Turkey’s Faltering Democracy


Turkey’s Faltering Democracy

Paul Pillar

Before this week it had come to be broadly accepted conventional wisdom that the days of Turkish military coups were over. After a post-World War II history in which the military had taken over the government about once every ten years, in the last couple of decades the return to the barracks appeared to be final.

One of the most successful and powerful civilian politicians that modern Turkey has produced, current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, seemed to have stared down the generals enough to keep them out of politics.


Ex CIA? Meh. Why do so many of those guys turn to journalism? Still at work for the agency?



Anyone familiar with the writings of Mr. Pillar at The National Interest, or with his scholarly work, the most recent being Why America Misunderstands the World: National Experience and the Roots of Misperception, would recognize that, despite (or perhaps because of) his prior experience as a CIA analyst, his views are not necessarily consistent with those espoused by the US government, and he certainly is no shill for the CIA. To the contrary, Mr. Pillar has been critical of America's misconceived policies in the Middle East and elsewhere, which he points out are often at odds with genuine interests of our country. In that vein he is similar to Professor Andrew Bacevich, a former military man who also writes for CommonDreams on occasion. Mr. Pillar's most recent analysis of the situation in Turkey is well-reasoned and well worth a careful reading given the significance of Turkey's role in NATO and as a bridge between the West and the Islamic world.


I am no fan of Bacevich either.

They both speak from the perspective of "American Interest" as if the world nothing but a toy for that "American Interest". In other words if a war against another nation "in America's interest" than it will be waged and defended.

They then use the appearance of dissent to a given policy so as to advance a given meme.

This seems to me to be a "Look Erdogan is a autocratic tyrant and not a nice guy so if he claims the US behind this attempted coup do not believe him" type article. The historical record shows us that the CIA does not care one whit about "democracy" but will cite the need to protect it at every opportunity when they need to advance the interests of the 1 percent and the Corporate State.


I'm no fan of the CIA, but can't fully agree on Bacevich. I do recommend his most recent book, America's War for the Greater Middle East. I read it solely as a critique of American policies and unjustified wars there. That he himself lost a son in Iraq, and never refers to it in any of his books only adds poignancy to his dissenting views.
In any event, best regards.


Thank you. You said what I would have stated.

And C.D. also features William Astore and several other military masterminds... like Peter Van Buren. If he got any more bombastic and obnoxious the hot air balloon that does a double-shift as his soul would explode.

I find it (these military "intelligence" witnesses) rather disconcerting on C.D. since they act as Liberal apologists for the make war state without ever OWNING what it does in the way of senseless mass murder. They don't seem to FEEL anything at all. They sit around comparing chess moves... and why this move or that move didn't "work" to "win" the war as if winning, rather than sustaining the War Machine is the overall objective of those who WRITE the foreign policy scripts.


How the psy--ops works here is quite obvious.

Saddam Hussein is a bad guy. He a brutal dictator. Any claims he makes that he does not have WMDS must be a lie because he is a brutal dictator. Any suggestion the US has ulterior motives in removing Saddam from power shows the person making such a claim supports Saddam.

Qaddaffi is a bad guy. He a brutal dictator. Any claims he makes that he he is not killing Civilians en masse must be a lie because he is a brutal dictator. Any suggestion the US has ulterior motives in removing him from power shows the person making such a claim supports Qaddaffi.

Erdogan is a bad guy. He a brutal dictator. Any claims he makes that the US was behind the Coup in Turkey can not be trusted coming from a brutal dictator. Any that advance the notion that the US was involved in this coup must support Erdogan.

On and on it goes. Paul Pillar was in the CIA from 1977 through 2005. That covers a lot of the times that the CIA was up to some of its dirtiest tricks. Did he support what they were doing for those 28 years? I can see a person getting in the CIA , learning its true nature and getting out in disgust. I treat "28 year veterans" of what IS a criminal organization with some skepticism.

He works for the Brookings Institution, a right wing think tank that advances neoliberal economics the world over.


Point of example that helps illustrate your case.

When has Kathy Kelly ever argued for "American vital interests" or based an argument on her work for peace as a way the United States of America can win and ensure the peoples of country xxxxx lose.?

She just wants peace and fights for the interests of the people being bombed even if they not "American".

These "we can bomb people in a nicer way so as to advance our vital interests," type arguments come from the same place as does "greed is good"


One of many examples, no doubt.

Why does C.D. publish the views of men inside the CIA, State Department, and military "sciences"?

When society's intellectuals begin to include military masterminds, it means that the culture of war has fully saturated all components of society.

Long ago I pointed out (and several LIFTED the observation) that all of the following were treated as war, or through the prism of warfare:

  1. The War on drugs
  2. The War on Cancer
  3. The War on poverty
  4. The War on illiteracy
  5. The War on the Black community
  6. The War on Mexican workers ("illegal" immigrants)
  7. The War on women (in a rape culture replete with endless streams of porn)
  8. The War on terror/terrorists (who now include whistle blowers, pesky reporters, those who document crimes, and whistle blowers)

When the purported vision and would-be insight of warriors are invited into Progressive forums (as bonafide intellectual currency), it is the Internet Version of the scene in the film, "Cabaret" where the uniformed Nazis were invited inside the Cabaret.

VERY dangerous. Therefore, when C.D. regularly features these individuals... I have to question the site owners' motives (or funding sources). I now feel the same way about Tom Engelhardt chiefly for 2 reasons:

First, he NEVER questions the Official Story for the events of 911.

Second, whether due to heavy handed editing, or choosing writers who sound a lot like himself, he pushes the idea that there's a flaw in HOW wars are waged in that they are not won. This line of "reasoning" obliterates two far more important prisms:

A. On what legal/moral basis were these wars begun (and continue the BUSINESS of mass murder)
B. Why it is that winning has long NOT proved the objective. To the contrary, what keeps the financial currency moving in the MIC'S (and its war profiteers') direction is that the wars remain SUSTAINED (therefore, winning would oppose this objective).