I do not know whether this is a Great Debate, but here it is, anyway.
The piece from The Times to which I refer is here and some of the content worries me no little.
Commenting on the current situation, Mr. Cheney says as follows:
To be able to penetrate these organisations, you need to have on the payroll some very unsavoury characters if you’re going to be able to learn all that needs to be learnt in order to forestall these kinds of activities.
This may be true. It may not be true.
If Mr. Cheney is correct in his assessment, I am wondering what is the degree of unsavouriness to which the CIA will be permitted to descend in order to combat the activities mentioned by Mr. Cheney.
Mr. Cheney continues:
…we will see a very thorough reassessment of how we operate and the kinds of people we deal with. If you are going to deal only with officially approved, certified good guys, you’re not going to find out what the bad guys are doing. We need to make sure that we have not tied the hands , if you will, of our intelligence communities.
Well, correct me if I am wrong, but one of the fundamental reasons for the existence of the CIA is to find out what the bad guys are doing. If Mr. Cheney is correct in this assessment, I am wondering if the CIA has been completely wasting vast amounts of time and money in recruiting, training and fielding guys who are considered good.
Furthermore I now question, in the light of Mr. Cheney’s remarks, whether a fight with Good in the red corner and Evil in the blue corner has ever been, is, or ever will be, a valid proposition.
I do not query the goodness of Mr. Cheney himself. I query whether Mr. Cheney can reasonably preside over an organisation such as the CIA which, in the future as he describes it, will have evil citizens coming out of its ears, so to speak.
In positing this argument, I am by no means naive in assuming that my own intelligence communities (not mine personally I hasten to add), specifically MI6, have not been alive, are not alive, and will not be alive, to the possibilities offered by characters with unsavoury qualities in their curriculum vitae.
And so, my questions are, with specific reference to recent terrorist activities, can Good fight Evil without employing strong elements of Evil in so doing, and if not, how Evil does Good need to become before becoming as Evil as Evil itself?.