The Right Coast

March 02, 2004
Push comes to shove
By Tom Smith

Evidence that the US did not always play its role as idiot giant in the recent Cold War. Bill Casey was the CIA director the left loved to hate. But he died and pulled down the Soviet Union before they could destroy him. He always had a great sense of timing. He was an Irish Catholic of course, often a good sort to have in a fight. Too bad some idiot bishop gave a disgraceful sermon at his funeral about the crimes of the CIA. For a neglected account of Casey's role in kicking out the legs from under the evil empire, take a look at this. (Classic whiney review from Kirkus as well.) And if you're in the mood for CIA fiction, there's The Company, which is a fun read. If you can stand to read Norman Mailer, there's Harlot's Ghost, but I admit I couldn't get through it. Mailer's weird take on sex and marriage, not to mention WASPs, about whom he writes as if they are some alien species, were too much for me. He seems to think WASPs live in castles on the coast of Maine and spend a lot of time brooding about sex. Actually, no. But he does have significant talent as a writer, even if he is a thoroughly twisted soul.

On a completely irrelevant personal note, the mother of James Angelton lived in my home town, Boise, Idaho. His father fought with General Pershing in Mexico, and met and married his mother, an elegant Mexican woman, there. She used to regularly attend Mass at St. John's Cathedral, where I went to school, and my mother sometimes gave her a ride home to her apartment building, where coincidentally, my parents now live. I went to school for a while with his nephew, who is now a physician in Boise. But I'm not a member of Skull and Bones and have never worked for the CIA. It's just that I wish I was and had.
UPDATE: But if you want to peer into the WASP soul, read this and this.