Friday, October 30, 2009

The signs were always there

From p. 269 of Walter Cronkite's memoir, on the aftermath of George H.W. Bush's successful Panama invasion in 1989:
"After Panama the Defense Department's own official review of press relations--the so-called Hoffman Report--criticized Secretary Cheney and other officials for "an excessive concern for secrecy." That chastisement apparently fell on deaf ears. For the Pentagon came right back in the Persian Gulf with the toughest press restrictions ever..."
The measures, naturally, went far beyond the bounds of military necessity. You can presumably read about it with an Amazon text search. It's all consistent with what we know of Cheney, and it deepens his narrative, I think. The current theory runs that, at some point in the past, Dick Cheney was a reasonable conservative who went completely nuts after 9/11. This passage (the book was published in the mid-1990s), coupled with his longtime associations with neocons like David Addington and Paul Wolfowitz (as detailed in Jane Mayer's book) suggests that Cheney's inner authoritarian had always been present, just waiting to get out. The saying goes that "9/11 changed everything" but I suspect it changed some things less than others. 9/11 was a story of bad luck, poor planning and institutional dysfunction, but having Dick Cheney in a position of power when it happened was the real disaster, and probably a forseeable one.

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.