Review of Tim Weiner’s “One Man Against the World: The Tragedy of Richard Nixon”

Years ago, after Richard Nixon had resigned and gone into temporary exile, my boss introduced me to Sam Dash, the former Senate Watergate Committee’s chief counsel. I remember asking Dash if he thought we had heard the last of Nixon. “Never!” he answered. “He’ll always be around, with people attacking and defending him.”

First there were those devastatingly dark TV portraits, then the well-publicized David Frost interviews for which he received $600,000 according to Tim Weiner, plus an additional $2 million for his ghosted memoirs. Rick Cleveland’s well-received new play, “Five Presidents,” has our five living ex-Presidents gathering in Yorba Linda for his funeral. Gerald Ford arrives early at the Presidential Library and Museum and finds himself staring at a photo of Nixon. He then asks a Secret Service agent not to leave. “I’m not sure I want to be left alone with him,” says the accidental President who saved Nixon from time in Leavenworth. Continue reading “Review of Tim Weiner’s “One Man Against the World: The Tragedy of Richard Nixon””

Mansons on the Mekong

Yesteryear’s Generation Kill

Quick, name this late 1960s serial killer.

If you wrongly guessed Charles Manson, you could hardly be blamed, especially since he’s been in the news again recently. As you can see from the picture of the real Manson below, this skinny young long-hair could have played the infamous mass murderer in a biopic with nary a trip to hair-and-makeup.

Yet the man in the black and white photo is also a serial killer and mass murderer, even though hardly anybody even knows his name. He openly confessed to his murders on film, and yet has not been charged for a single one. He would never have borne any punishment at all, had he not had, to his credit, imposed on himself a career of activism-as-penance.

The mass murderer is Sergeant Scott Camile, and he was an American soldier in the Vietnam War. Like Chris Kyle, Camile participated in an immoral, imperial invasion of a poor country, driving townspeople and villagers from their homes, and massacring them in their homeland.

In 1971, Camile voluntarily testified in the non-governmental, antiwar Winter Soldier Investigation. These were among his confessions:

Continue reading “Mansons on the Mekong”

Dubya was right??

From film-maker Oliver Stone’s interview with former Argentine President Nestor Kirchner, we discover:

Oliver Stone: "Were there any eye-to-eye moments with President Bush that day, that night?"

Nestor Kirchner: "…I said that a solution to the problems right now, I told Bush, is a Marshall Plan. …He said the best way to revitalize the economy is war and that the United States has grown stronger with war."

Stone: "War. He said that?"

Kirchner: "He said that. Those were his exact words."

Stone: "Was he suggesting that South America go to war?"

Kirchner: "Well, he was talking about the United States. …All of the economic growth of the United States has been encouraged by the various wars. He said it very clearly. –Fmr. Argentine President Kirchner Dies of Heart Attack, Democracy Now!, Oct. 28, 2010

So, WAS Dubya right?

"War" [1] is indeed a key part of the U.S. economy. Some folks call this "military keynesianism."

Consider: Despite one of the most defensible geographic situations on earth — unless you fear the Canadians — the U.S. Government spends more on "defense" than almost the rest of the world combined. AND, not surprisingly, U.S.A. is the biggest arms merchant in the world.

So, Mr. Bush was exactly right.

If you’re a U.S. Citizen, approximately 43% of your income taxes go to pay for wars, past and present. And that’s before Uncle Sam is forced, kicking and screaming, into officially admitting PTSD is nearly universal in combat veterans, lasts a lifetime, and is expensive to treat. According to former IMF Chief Economist and Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, the two current "wars" will eventually cost U.S. taxpayers between four and six trillion dollars. That’s trillion. With a "T."

And don’t fret about the militaryindustrial budget. While Mr. Obama isn’t yet responsible for killing as many men, women and children as Mr. Bush — and hasn’t spent as much doing so, give him a chance — he’s not even two years into his presidency and he’s already sent at least 60,000 new U.S. troops into Afghanistan and has plans to escalate the U.S. presence in Pakistan, and the largely ignoredU.S. presence in Yemen too.

With these kinds of numbers — that 43% of your income tax spent for “wars” for example — maybe a bit of money invested in to stop them might be a good investment, not only for you, but for your kids, grand kids and the yet unborn. What do you say?


[1] The U.S. Government hasn’t been at war according to its Constitution since the end of World War II. That would require the U.S. House of Representatives to vote for war, which it hasn’t done. This means the so-called "wars" — the Korean "War," the Vietnam "War," The Iraq "Wars," the "War" in Afghanistan, etc. — must be something else. Or, since they insist on calling them "wars" anyway, unconstitutional. But as George W. Bush is reported to have claimed, "The constitution is just a damned piece of paper." So, who cares? return

ANOTHER U.S. washout?

The Obama Administration has been catching choreographed flack — from the militaryindustrialcongressional complex — ever since it announced a now wimped down withdraw from Afghanistan beginning no later than July, 2011:

Gen. James Conway: "In terms of the July 11 issue …In some ways, we think, right now, it’s probably giving our enemy sustenance. We think that he [Taliban fighters] may be saying to himself… ‘Hey, you know, we only have to hold out for so long.’" –Top US Marine: Withdrawal Deadline Boosting Taliban Morale

What the Taliban fighters are REALLY thinking:

"No amount of U.S. pressure would ever have stopped us."
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, The Fog of War

"We were fighting for our independence and we would fight to the last man and we were determined to do so and no amount of bombing, no amount of U.S. pressure would ever have stopped us." –Vietnam Foreign Minister Thieu to Vietnam era U.S. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, The Fog of War

The "ground truth" – – –

Col. Douglas Macgregor: "The entire COIN strategy [the COunterINsurgency strategy engineered by Petraeus and McCrystal] is a fraud perpetuated on the American people," says Douglas Macgregor, a retired colonel and leading critic of counterinsurgency who attended West Point with McChrystal. "The idea that we are going to spend a trillion dollars to reshape the culture of the Islamic world is utter nonsense." —The Runaway General, Stanley McChrystal By Michael Hastings, Rolling Stone, Jun 22, 2010 10:00 AM EDT

The only winner? Our Childrens’ Children’s War.