Recently, I have been watching Scandal, the television series about scandalous behavior in and around the United States government. Although fiction, I believe such things transpire amongst power-hungry and greedy people. I could have become involved in government intrigue...if I had been married.
As a junior officer in the Army, I was commanded to interview for the position as a general’s aide d’ camp. I had little inkling what the job entailed, but showed up for the interview. One tends to follow orders, especially if they come from a general’s office. This general was not in the normal chain of command, but ensconced in a building in an outlying compound away from the main base. No one knew what he did.
Fortunately, I was not chosen, being told that the lack of a wife was a disadvantage. The aide does the bidding of the general, but the aide’s wife becomes the personal slave of the general’s wife. Being an officer’s wife is bad enough; being the wife of a general’s aide is hell. Aide’s tend to stay close to the generals to which they have been a aide.
Many years later, I read about the general that interviewed me in the news. He was under congressional--perhaps even criminal--investigation for the Iran Contra scandal. If I had become his aide, I would surely have gotten closer to events than I would have wished.
And, that’s one part of the reason why I believe Scandal. People in large organizations do things, regardless of the rules governing their behavior, because they think they are right. This becomes particularly dangerous with the power of government to protect their own...
Anyone traveling to Dubai might wonder where the money comes from to pay for all the new mansions on Palm Island or condos near the marina. I did...until reading articles about bundles of cash being paid by US CIA and British MI6 to Afghanistan officials. Biggest boom in that country is not something caused by explosives, but rather growth in rich ex-patriots.
Americans might be losing their homes, but American taxpayers are providing luxury homes so corrupt officials in Afghanistan can escape the war-torn country for the safety of Dubai.
NB. Anyone that noticed this headline...followed by an empty space, might have wondered why I had written so little. During posting, the internet died or took a holiday or went on strike... I became tired of trying and went to bed.
I would have made a poor CIA officer...or failed completely. I cannot act, lie, or deceive. I do not know if acting, dishonesty, and deception are needed, but there are the character traits most evident in films about CIA agents.
I did think about such a career at one time, but military service came first. One can make only so many sacrifices for one’s country. After serving “God and my country” (someone else’s words), I assumed the one government agency was as screwed up as any other, only the outfits were different. Any organization with a hierarchical chain of command could not be good place to work, because longevity is not a great determinant of promotability. I took my chances on the civilian world, in hope that I could progress based upon my ability.
The CIA is fine for entertainment, but surely makes a lousy career choice for anyone with intelligence, ambition, and common sense. People with illusions of grandeur, either about themselves or their country, might thrive. Any large bureaucracy serving a larger bureaucracy can never do any good.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.