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Analysis: Why Obama Abandoned So Many Promises

By C. Dillman Williams
Analysis | September 8, 2011

WICHITA, Kan. - I am sure I am not alone among the many people who voted for President Obama, who are disappointed that so many of Mr. Obama's promises have not been kept.

However, I think we need to view Mr. Obama's reticence to follow through on his promises in light of the track-record of all Presidents in the last 50 years who tried to use the power granted to the office of the President.

To wit: I contend there are powerful -- though unelected -- individuals who wield enormous influence over presidential decisions, national legislation and all governmental policies in general.

Winston Churchill referred to these individuals as "the high cabal." Sociologist C. Wright Mills referred to them as The Power Elite, in his book of the same name. And, in the book, Propaganda, that Joseph Goebbels and Herman Goering used as a "how-to-guide" when they whipped up the German public into a hate-filled killing machine, the book's author, Edward Bernays, referred to these powerful individuals thus ...

"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country." (p. 37, Propaganda, by Edward Bernays, 2004)

Bernays also said, "Propaganda is the executive arm of the invisible government." (p. 48, ibid.) He also said, "...it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without them knowing it. (Page 71, in the 1928 edition.)

Given the consistency of the United States' steady pursuit of world-wide hegemony, I further contend that it really doesn't matter who or what party is in the White House because the underlying deep politics that influence the deployment of our military, our international relationships and diplomatic initiatives remains constant. Though those powerful and influential individuals and entities are, literally, a permanent factor in the American governmental equation, their identity and their deliberations are beyond public scrutiny.

However, we DO see some of the individuals who implement their decisions and policies. The bank "bail-out" and the Finance Reform Act, for instance, are the visible results of policies developed by and implemented on behalf those individuals Edward Bernays called "the invisible government;" and Winston Churchill called "the high cabal."

No doubt, I'm not the only person who noticed that the bail-out didn't help the average man and woman in the street. It helped the banking industry. After receiving the bail-out, the banking industry didn't begin to loan that money immediately to the benefit of the man and woman in the street. Their no-strings bail-out money was used to begin buying up hundreds of smaller banks, making the too-big-to-fail behemoths even larger. Those bailed out banks STILL have not begun to make loans available to small businesses even when small businesses create the majority of jobs.

It doesn't take a Ph.D. in economics to recognize the obvious revolving door between Goldman Sachs, the FED and the U.S. Treasury Department. How can we ignore the fact that virtually every Secretary of Treasury during the past decade or more have all been former CEOs of Goldman Sachs? And, how can we ignore the fact that many of those individuals were also former Chairmen of the New York Federal Reserve (the FED)?

Nomi Prins, a former Goldman Sachs investment banker herself, wrote the book, It Takes a Pillage, in which she calculates the banking industry didn't receive just $777 Billion during the bail out, but more accurately, counting all of the zero-percent loans and other exotic financial perks, received upwards of $17 Trillion! Yes, that is the letter "t" on the front of that word "Trillion." And, every penny was turned over to banks from the U.S. Treasury without strings, obligations, or the most minimal requirement to use the money in the best interest of the American public.

Underlying virtually all of America's laws, regulations and foreign policies are America's domestic security apparatus, the military industrial complex, Big Oil, the Goldman Sachs/Wall Street investment banks; and the privately held banks that make up the "FED."

In that light, I think it may be most accurate -- and fair -- to judge Obama's many broken promises as being decisions that were "above the President's pay grade," if you "get my drift."

Presidents who have opposed the "unspoken, hidden agenda" of the "high cabal" -- to borrow Churchill's term -- seem to have a bad habit of being killed as was JFK; thrown out of office as was Nixon; or soundly defeated thanks to behind the scenes skullduggery as was the case with Jimmy Carter. Let's take a brief look at Presidents who tried to oppose the oligarchy's unofficial, hidden agenda.

1) JFK signed orders to withdraw from Vietnam (National Security Action Memorandum #263); swore to "break up the CIA into a thousand pieces" to thwart its policy-making role it had adopted outside of Executive Branch control; and planned to eliminate the FED by signing, on June 4, 1963, Executive Order 11110 that ordered the Treasury to print US Silver Certificates. $4 Billion of those certificates were already in circulation by the time of his death. Those are just a few of JFK's various anti-establishment initiatives. Here is a short, 90-second clip about that specific executive order to once again bring control of the currency back to the Treasury Department.

2) Nixon was removed for similar "independent, non-cooperative thinking" and it was no secret that he was at virtual war with CIA Director Richard Helms -- who refused to give the President access to documents pertaining to previous administrations, and other reasons that were described in Silent Coup: The Removal of a President by Colodny and Gettlin.

The book also reveals the close relationship the Washington Post has had with the CIA through the years. Current publisher, Kathryn Graham's husband, Phillip Graham, was an OSS officer during WWII and was hired by Frank Wisner to establish "Operation Mockingbird," a program designed to influence public opinion by recruiting into the CIA, reporters and editors in virtually all media in America as well as around the world.

In 1977, a Rolling Stone article by Carl Bernstein titled "The CIA and the Media" mentions that one of the most important journalists under the control of Operation Mockingbird was Joseph Alsop, whose foreign affairs articles appeared in over 300 different newspapers. The article also reveals that CIA Director William Colby testified under oath before the Senate Intelligence Committee that the CIA had on its payroll at that time, more than 400 undercover agents posing as reporters and editors who were in place in virtually every mainstream American media outlet and a total of more than 3,000 agents in place around the world in similar roles on staff at virtually all major international media outlets at that time. I'm sure that number is far larger today. Wisner and CIA Director Alan Dulles referred to this network of journalists as their "Mighty Wurlitzer."

Remember Judith Miller at the New York Times and her role as a virtual "stenographer" for the Bush administration during the build-up to the invasion of Iraq? According to the Center for Public Integrity, the Bush administration officially issued 935 lies between 9/11/01 and 9/11/03 and there is no doubt that the network of CIA-affiliated reporters and editors played a key role in making sure the NY Times versions of those lies were published and no anti-invasion points of view were allowed to see the light of day.

And, of course, today, we know that the 50+ retired Generals who were "made available" to the networks for commentary were thoroughly briefed with Pentagon talking points and prepared to reinforce the administration's false claim that Iraq was behind the attacks of 9/11/01. They also were happy to reiterate the government's misleading use of 8-year-old "intelligence" to support the falsehood that Iraq was in possession of WMDs.

My role as a motion picture director for the Pentagon gave me insight into the "news filtering process." It also is probably why I've been so interested in our government's domestic propaganda program.

Col. Fletcher Prouty served as the key liaison between the CIA and the Pentagon from 1955 through 1964. On November 22, 1963, he was in New Zealand, accompanying a group of Congressmen and foreign VIPs returning from a tour of the Antarctic. Like everyone else, he bought a newspaper about the incident. He kept the newspaper because it was virtually cover-to-cover full of information about Oswald -- his stay in the USSR, his membership in the Civil Air Patrol, a picture of him in a suit from his high school year book, etc. When he returned to D.C., he realized that at the moment the newspaper was available for sale in New Zealand - - with virtually every detail about Oswald's life history -- Oswald hadn't even been charged with the President's murder yet. That, says Prouty, proves that the "Mighty Wurlitzer" was in high gear, disseminating information that had been put in place beforehand, in anticipation of the historical event. Prouty has written several books about that period of history and is the individual represented by the Donald Sutherland character, "Mr. X" in the Oliver Stone film, JFK.

3) Jimmy Carter was a "creation" of David Rockefeller. It was David Rockefeller who invited Carter to join the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations and to meet world leaders in the years prior to his run for the Presidency. After winning the election, Rockefeller's personal foreign policy guru, Zbignew Breszenski, was immediately selected as Carter's main security adviser. Eventually, President Carter was perceived as being too concerned with world-wide civil rights and most importantly, perceived as being too weak. His defeat was guaranteed thanks to George H. W. Bush's and William Casey's behind the scenes negotiations in Paris, with Iran representatives who traded US hostages for military equipment & replacement parts. To put a cherry on the soda, they arranged for the hostages to be released twenty minutes after Reagan was sworn into office.

4) Speaking of Reagan, I was privileged to have dinner with two Ph.D.-level professors from the University of Maryland who had done extensive forensic analysis of John Hinkley's attempted assassination of Reagan. One man was a physics professor and the second was a professor of political science and history. They uncovered the fact that there were more bullets fired during the assassination attempt than Hinkley's gun could hold. They also noted that the trajectory of the bullet that hit Reagan came from up and behind Hinkley's position and couldn't have originated from Hinkley's gun because at the moment the President was struck by that bullet, Hinkley was already on the ground and in the process of being subdued, with no clear path through which his gun could have fired the bullet that struck the President. Thanks to the Grace of God, Reagan's life was spared because the bullet that struck the President ricocheted off of the a rib and missed Reagan's heart by a fraction of an inch.

And, I don't know about you, but I agree with Fletcher Prouty when he said, "There are no such things as coincidences." So, in that light, I find it interesting that while George H. W. Bush was affiliated with the CIA since graduating from Yale, John Hinkley, Sr., became a long-time senior executive of World Vision, the oldest of various CIA-affiliated Christian cover organizations. The US Government has used World Vision to facilitate the movement of spies in and out of foreign countries ever since the CIA was created in 1947.

And, most interesting of all -- and kept hidden from the public -- was the fact that John Hinkley, Sr., and George H. W. Bush and their families were close friends over the years. Though Bush claimed to reporters that he wasn't acquainted with the Hinkley family, could that really be true if, in 1980, Texas oilman John Hinckley Sr. worked very hard to get fellow Texas oilman George H.W. Bush the Republican nomination for president. Though the Bushes and the Hinckleys were frequent dinner companions, their bond goes far beyond their social connection. Neither Bush nor Hinckley wanted Ronald Reagan to become president, because Reagan was opposed to tax breaks for the oil industry to which Bush, Hinckley and other Texans were highly dependent. And, though Bush Sr. failed to get the nomination for president in 1980, but he and his friend and backer Hinckley Sr., got the next best thing - the office of Vice-President of the United States - - a mere "heartbeat away from the presidency."

A couple of months later, John Hinckley Jr. shot Reagan, and Bush Sr. very nearly did become president at that time, after all. Curiously, only one time was it announced on the news about the connections between the Bush and Hinckley families: An almost bewildered John Chancellor on NBC Nightly News reported "the bizarre coincidence" that Vice President Bush's son, Neil, and Scott Hinckley had dinner plans for March 31, 1981 -- now cancelled, of course. But even Chancellor failed to mention the close friendship between the assassin's father and Vice President Bush--let alone the rest of the corporate media. Here is the only newspaper clipping you will ever see about the cancelled dinner plans between Neil Bush & Scott Hinkley and their wives.

George H. W. Bush's has, since graduating from Yale, been affiliated with the CIA. The Bay of Pigs invasion was called "Operation Zapata." And, the reason for that was that one of George H. W. Bush's Zapata Oil Company's deep sea drilling platforms was used as a staging area for the raid. During his run against Clinton, I was rather shocked because he virtually stopped campaigning for a second term. And, thanks to Clinton's cooperation with Ollie North when machine shops were set up all over Arkansas to crank out M-16s without serial numbers and other weapons, they were shipped from Mena, Arkansas on C-130s, that returned with the Contra's payments in Cocaine. Ollie North testified that more than 150 entries in his diary delineated shipments of cocaine into the U.S. for which he was responsible. Thus, the beginning of the crack-cocaine epidemic during the 80s. My wife, Gayle, was a psychiatric nurse at the time and was hit by the veritable tsunami of crack-addicts that flooded clinics during those years. Sadly, that initial onslaught doesn't seem to have dissipated, even at this late date.

The CIA's involvement in the movement of cocaine as a way to pay for the illegal war against Nicaragua was the subject of Gary Webb's book, Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion.

So, do you think there are entities that are more in charge of world and national affairs than Presidents such as Clinton, Bush and now Obama? As I mentioned earlier, I think Obama "got the message" just as his predecessors did. That is why I believe he is now willingly playing along with the establishment agenda and has abandoned his many promises.


When less than 2% or the general population owns and controls well over 50% of total resources and net close to 75% of all net income, you can expect them to throw their financial support around.

I get the general idea here, but how is a string of conspiracy theories about Carter, Nixon, Reagan and Bush causing Obama to not fulfill his promises. Who are the shady people pulling Obama's strings behind the scenes?

"I further contend that it really doesn't matter who or what party is in the White House"

Put your money where your mouth is - vote Republican in 2012.

Schlyer, you ask, "... how [does] a string of conspiracy theories ... cause Obama to not fulfill his promises. I'm sorry you have trouble discerning the connection between the past pattern and Obama's current timidity. If you don't see why our current President might be intimidated enough to abandon his promise of immediate withdrawal from Iraq, let's see if I can help you make the connection.

JFK signed the order to withdraw from Vietnam and by doing so, threatened to rob some of America's largest banks and their military equipment manufacturing clients of their anticipated highly profitable war. (To offer just one example: First Bank of Boston advised General Dynamics to buy the then-struggling Bell Aircraft Company on the tip that there was going to be a long, drawn-out land war in Asia that would need thousands of Bell's new UH-1 helicopter. Losing the opportunity to sell 5,000 helicopters to the U.S. government would have been bad for business.)

JFK's order to withdraw ALL U.S. personnel from Vietnam - - which included all CIA personnel as well as well as all military personnel - - would also block the CIA's easy access to the golden triangle, the world's largest source of opium, a massive source of income for the CIA as mentioned in the book, "The Politics of Heroin - - CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade" by Alfred W. McCoy, Ph.D.

And, of course, last but not least, by withdrawing from Vietnam, American and British oil companies would no longer have access to the vast oil reserves beneath the Gulf of Tonkin.

NOTE: I'm not saying that JFK was killed specifically because he planned to withdraw from Vietnam, but surely, one can understand why it might serve as at least one reason that would motivate powerful people to want him eliminated.

Now, jump to the present and we have the military, in the person of General Petraeus, doing what generals are traditionally not supposed to do: make the rounds of all the major media outlets and be interviewed spouting that "escalation is the realistic only option;" selling a point of view that all but preempts the President’s choice of decisions - - all, just days before the President is to make public his decision about whether or not to expand a war or to live up to his promise to withdraw.

Mr. Schlyer, don't you think that such preemptive communication to the public by a high ranking general - - who is speaking for the entire U.S. Military officer corps might make a young President hesitate to follow through with his promise to reduce America's involvement in two simultaneous wars? Don't you think President Obama wouldn't draw a parallel between JFK's decision to go against the military in his era and what might happen if Obama was to contradict the military industrial complex in modern times?

With all due respect, Mr. Schlyer, if you can't connect the dots in that equation, then nothing I can say will persuade you.

So what your saying is, shortly after Obama became president he was taken into a back room where several scary looking guys in fancy suits told him "ok here is the REAL truth. Do exactly what we say or you or your family will have an "accident"."?

Brad, I certainly understand why you - - and most people - - might find it difficult to comprehend the existence of a level of authority in America that has the power to “trump” the authority of the office of the President of the United States. We’ve learned from civics lessons throughout our childhood that the President is ultimately responsible for leading the nation. The image of the President’s “ultimate authority” is continually reinforced by mainstream media. And, for the vast majority of issues, the President does, indeed, have the freedom to exert his authority across a broad spectrum of policies and actions.

In spite of your skepticism, I still contend that there are times when higher authority has entered into the equation of executive decision-making and thwarted the result that was pursued by the President.

The examples in my commentary may be too distant or abstract for you to grasp a “cause and effect.” So allow me to offer a more recent example of the President of the United States being thwarted by a “higher authority.”

In the fall of 2007, members of the Bush administration - - most visibly and vociferously, Vice President Cheney - - were appearing on all the Sunday morning interview programs, urgently making the case for the need to attack Iran “quickly and decisively.”

At the time, the Center for Public Integrity had yet to complete their research into the fact that the Bush administration knowingly generated a minimum of 935 documented lies to rationalize invading Iraq. As far as the public was concerned, the case for attacking Iran was just as valid as the case the Bush administration made for invading Iraq. Why would the administration lie to the American people about something as serious as war, right?!

After December 3, however, the Bush administration suddenly ceased beating the drums of war. BANG! Overnight, talk of attacking Iran ceased.

The reason was that on that date, in an unprecedented show of unanimity, all 16 major Intelligence Agencies of the U.S. Government came together and issued a new National Security Estimate for Iran that proclaimed with “high confidence that a military-run Iranian program intended to transform that raw material into a nuclear weapon has been shut down since 2003.” The NSE also said - - with high confidence - - that the halt “was directed primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure.”

Dr. Donald Kerr, the principal director of national intelligence, said the document was being made public “since our understanding of Iran’s capabilities has changed.”

This was an obvious schism between the Bush administration and a “higher authority.” Though most of the intelligence agencies fall under the authority of the President - - DIA, CIA, State Dept. Intelligence, NSA, etc. - - it became quite obvious that an authority “higher than the President” urgently wanted President Bush and Vice President Cheney to stop telling the American public that Iran was a dangerous, irrational country “...that could lead to “World War III.”

This unprecedented, unanimous announcement that Iran’s “decisions are guided by a cost-benefit approach rather than a rush to a weapon irrespective of the political, economic and military costs” was, I contend, a proverbial “yanking of Bush & Cheney’s leash” by that superior authority that you find difficult to believe exists.

Brad, how else would you interpret the disagreement between the Bush administration’s case for attacking Iran and the extremely rare, highly public statement of opposition to the administration’s position by 16 of America’s most prominent intelligence agencies?

If, as you say, the President holds the ultimate authority to decide policy and make decisions, why didn’t the President and Vice President continue to beat the drums of war in favor of attacking Iran? It was certainly a policy that was on track with the policies they developed under the auspices of their Project for a New American Century - - that famous document that veritably “pined” for a “new Pearl Harbor” event that would serve as a catalyst for America’s pursuit of world-wide hegemony. But, alas, they were thwarted from adding a “notch on their gun handle” after attacking Iran.

I look forward to your analysis of this very obvious example of a higher authority thwarting a Presidential policy decision.

C. Dillman, No, you got me wrong. I was literally asking, do you think Obama was taken into a room and told in no uncertain terms that he was now a puppet of some powerful individuals and he better toe the line... or else...?

I mean really, do you think this happened to Bush, Clinton and the others before him? They would also have to have this "Talk" with the vice presidents, the leaders of both the senate and congress, and the leaders of the 2 parties.

As for your examples, I dont know. I do know I met an FBI person years ago and he said he didnt trust the CIA. Thing is the president is protected by the secret service and he has at his disposal the FBI, the US Marshals, and many other groups that report directly to him and I feel that if he really wanted to, he could order the CIA or any other group of people arrested and their organizations dissolved.

"I'm sorry you have trouble discerning the connection between the past pattern and Obama's current timidity. If you don't see why our current President might be intimidated enough to abandon his promise of immediate withdrawal from Iraq, let's see if I can help you make the connection. "

Who specifically is Obama intimidated by? What decisions were affected, and how? I understand your unified conspiracy theory, but all your examples are for prior presidents, and when you tried to explain it to me - you continued to use JFK.

I see the 'pattern' you want to exist. The CIA/Others might have put pressure on past presidents - the CIA/Others still exist - hence Obama can't live up to his promises because he's being controlled. I just don't see any evidence of it, and you haven't presented any. And claiming a grand conspiracy is not evidence.

"If, as you say, the President holds the ultimate authority to decide policy and make decisions, why didn’t the President and Vice President continue to beat the drums of war in favor of attacking Iran?"

So President's can't change their minds? Or, if they do, its evidence of some semi-secret cabal exerting pressure on them? Maybe, just maybe, Bush realized his 'lies' weren't working - or some General reminded him that we don't have enough troops for 3 simultaneous wars and he should cool it.

There would need to be a whole lot of 'higher authorities' to cause all this promise breaking: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/rulings/promise-broken/

Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying that there is a monolithic, singular entity that influences the decisions of our various branches of government. What I AM saying, however, is the same thing that Dwight David Eisenhower said in his unprecedented farewell speech on January 17th, 1961.

No one can question that the very impetus for Eisenhower’s warning to America was founded in his own conviction that there were forces already growing in influence over American policies and, if left unchecked, he sincerely believed those forces would consume our democracy.

Even before he gave his famous farewell speech, he had said, “I pity the president who doesn't understand the military as I do.” I recommend that you watch the powerful documentary film "Why We Fight," in which that quote is given even more context than I can here.

Why would Eisenhower pity a future President who didn’t have his understanding of the military? I think it’s obvious that he feared future Presidents would be easily manipulated. To quote Eisenhower’s warning specifically, he warned, “...against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

I highly recommend watching Eisenhower’s farewell speech because I contend that his demeanor reveals the importance of his warning against “unwarranted influences” that, by implication, could put pressure on a future President.


Though you want me to list specifically, who/what has influenced Obama, it’s obvious that we can only take note of what he does without benefit of knowing what motivates his actions. Only in retrospect, with the help of the Freedom of Information Act, can we expect to truly examine the behind-the-scenes influences affecting a current administration.

We CAN, however, compare what President Obama said publically before his election, with his actions ...and determine that, indeed, he either 1) changed his mind, as you suggest; or 2) he acquiesced to unseen influences. For whatever reasons, it's obvious that Obama has reneged on many promises; the most obvious being his promise to withdraw from Iraq, close Guantanamo and have a transparent government. Of course none of those things have happened. In fact, his promise of change has so obviously NOT happened, I contend that on an international level, it’s virtually impossible to tell the difference between Bush administration policies and Obama administration’s current policies. Who would have ever expected the U.S. Government under Barrack Obama to clamp down even more harshly than ever before in history, on patriotic whistle-blowers such as Thomas Drake, the former NSA computer expert who helped create a telephone & internet scanning system called ThinThread which was ready to deploy in early 2001. But the NSA’s lawyers determined it violated Americans’ privacy, and NSA director Michael Hayden scrapped it. In its place, Hayden focused funding on a different program, codenamed Trailblazer, which the NSA contracted with outside defense companies - - one of which was the creation of Hayden’s deputy director and his chief of signals-intelligence programs: SAIC, one of the biggest contractors for Trailblazer, which received several contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Gee, no conflict of interest there, right? In 2006, after eating up some $1.2 billion, Trailblazer was finally deemed a flop and killed. But, for his trouble, Drake was charged under the 1917 Espionage Act which, if convicted, could have landed him in jail for life. How’s that for Obama out-Bushing George W. Bush? The point is: after all the falderal and promises of change, I’d be hard-pressed to find ANY difference between the Bush and Obama administrations in regard to U.S. Security policies, war-making policies, torture policies, habeas corpus, or our foreign policies.

So, in lieu of my being able to name names as to “who took Barrack Obama into the back room to clue him in about the ‘silly promises’ he made to the American people during his campaign for President,” allow me to introduce you to at least one of the reasons Dwight David Eisenhower was motivated to warn America about the very issue that we are discussing here in this forum; i.e., “... the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”

Prior to Eisenhower's summit meeting with Khrushchev, the President issued a worldwide directive specifically ordering all clandestine operations to "stand down" during the weeks leading up to the summit. The President wanted to avoid any embarrassing situations that could blow up at an inopportune moment and sabotage the peace talks with the Soviets.

There were only three men in the U.S. governmental hierarchy who had the authority to arrange for a covert operation like that and supersede the Presidential directive. They were: Allen Dulles, director of CIA; John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State; Gen. Cabell, assistant director of the CIA in charge of the clandestine branch of that agency.

Considering the buzz in those days that Earl Warren was a left-leaning "Commie Pinko," and that Eisenhower, himself, was "soft on Communism," there is, today, a great deal of never-before available information coming to light that supports the contention that there were highly placed conservative members of our government who felt that the summit and a subsequent warming of relations with the USSR would be detrimental to the U.S.

It was their fear that warming relations -- and the subsequent lessening threat of war -- could jeopardize the country's post-war economy, much of which was being fueled by the vast network of companies who supplied our war-making machines, aircraft, etc.

To make it easier to get military spending bills through Congress, it was imperative that the U.S. continue to be confronted with the "clear and present danger" posed by a formidable enemy ... an enemy against which the country would need to defend itself.

Implementation of the Freedom of Information Act has allowed a lot of information about that era to be revealed that we didn't know before.

Item: It turns out that the National Security Council was told just days after the incident that Frances Gary Powers' U2 Spy plane was, in fact, NOT shot down, but that it had flamed out and spiraled down to a crash landing.

Even a casual review of the photos of the crashed plane and you will see that the tail and much of the rest of the plane was still amazingly in tact. It had no apparent evidence of being damaged by an explosive missile.

Added to the speculation about the motives of the person or persons who authorized the flight against the President's orders is evidenced in the photos from the news conference the Soviets held to announce their "prize."

At the news conference, Gary Powers was not the only thing that was on display for the world to see. Soviet officials held up for photographers Powers' identification papers that revealed he was a member of the U.S. Air Force and was a U.S. citizen. As a 14 year old teen at the time, even I wondered why a spy would be carrying his "drivers' license" which was how I interpreted the military identification card that Khrushchev held up for the international press to ponder.

Considering he had in his possession just about everything necessary to identify him as a U.S. citizen and/or member of the military except his high school diploma, the question is: why was that fact never mentioned in the media nor ever commented upon by anyone in the halls of government?

Well, needless to say, though the point was not loudly touted in public, that detail didn't go unnoticed. There was no denying the fact that Powers had in his possession documentation that removed any wiggle room for the U.S. to claim "plausible denial."

Eisenhower knew what his possessing those documents meant. He knew he had been sandbagged. But what could he do? His power as the decision maker on behalf of America had been effectively check-mated.... at least in regard to seeking warmer relations with the Soviets.

Note: not only was that particular flight the first one ever in the history of the U2 flying over the Soviet Union that was scheduled to go all the way across that country with the intended destination in Finland, but it was arranged in spite of the President's orders.

Since the U2 flew so high, it required taking its own liquid nitrogen supply. Every pilot is trained to check his fuel tanks before departure, but as for oxygen, as a liquid, it doesn't lend itself to pulling off the cap and peering into the tank to check the level. For that check, the pilot is required to depend on the ground crew.

Considering the compartmentalization required during secret operations like the U2 flights over Russia, not even the man filling the oxygen tanks knows where the plane is scheduled to go... he just knows he is to put such-and-such amount of fuel in the tanks. Consequently, he wouldn't know whether there was enough or not unless he knew where it was going.

Before that particular flight, the U2 had always flown a horse-shoe pattern back to the same base from which it took off. This time, however, it was the first time in history that a flight was scheduled for twice as far... all the way across the Soviet Union. So the amount of liquid nitrogen that was adequate for all previous flights, would, by definition, be inadequate for making it all the way across the Soviet Union. Burn-out could be guaranteed.

From the timing, the flight path set, the pilot not being stripped naked prior to suiting up with a flight suit and other equipment that had been sanitized of all their "J.C.Penny" tags, and the pilot guaranteed not to be carrying any incriminating documentation... everything about the flight was suspicious. Even the "cover story" that it had been shot down. The Soviets played along with it because they liked being given credit for having a missile that they didn't have. It served both country's interest to go along with the story. The U.S. used it to fan the flames of the "missile gap" argument being used at the time to beef up Congressional support for aggressive military spending. And the Soviets used it to help position themselves in the eyes of their allies and potential third world countries ... hiding the fact that in reality, there was not really a missile gap and that the Soviet capacity was far short of what was being sold to Congress and the American public.

A more thorough discussion of the U2 incident can be heard in the interviews of Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty, who was the liaison between the Pentagon and the CIA between 1955 and 1964. You can obtain a copy of those interviews by going to the Prouty website: http://www.prouty.org/

Eisenhower's now-famous farewell speech to the nation seems to make more sense in light of the U2 incident. The President knew he had been sandbagged. But there was nothing he could do about it. He even warned the young incoming President that the toughest part of his job would be to rein in the CIA and their military and corporate allies.

Kennedy learned the same lesson when he realized that the Bay of Pigs invasion was a "set-up" to try to force his hand and put him in such an awkward position that he would have to invade Cuba to protect the people who were already on the beach. At least that is what the planners had intended, according to many scholars who now have access to records that were only released in the 90s.

Eisenhower’s rationale for initiating a period of peaceful coexistence was this statement: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”

Mr. Schyler, I understand if you find the above line of reasoning difficult to grasp. I even understand if you find my mentioning it an indication that I’m a member of the “tin hat” battalion. But, as I mentioned before, I was personally involved with the government's efforts to misinform America. So, my friend, I offer one last, up-to-the-minute bit of food for thought: The Boston Globe reported in December, 2010, that 80 percent of retiring three- and four-star officers in recent years have taken jobs as defense industry consultants or executives, up from less than 50 percent in the mid-1990s. This trend is startling and dangerous.

I contend that this incestuous relationship between active military personnel and the defense industry represents a de facto form of "structural corruption" that is not only infecting the system but is corrupting our democracy. War is way too profitable to leave it in the hands of those who benefit the most from promoting perpetual war.

As Ike said in his farewell speech: “This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

“We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

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