Five Must Read Books that Expose Bush Era DNA


America and the World TWN.jpgOver at The Century Foundation‘s blog, Taking Note, Patrick Radden Keefe highlights five books that anyone who wants to dig into the DNA of the G.W. Bush era could use as a down payment on future penetrating exposes that we can expect once the incumbent office holders get back to baseball, ranching and oil-drilling.
Three of the books are high on my list — and two I have not read but will do so right away.
Here are Keefe’s big five, including America and the World: Conversations on the Future of American Foreign Policy that was sponsored in part by the New America Foundation/American Strategy Program which I direct as my day job:

THE DARK SIDE: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror turned into a War on our Ideals, by Jane Mayer. A definitive, harrowing narrative account of the development of torture as a tool in the war on terror, and the incremental series of legal obfuscations and outright lies that led to rendition, Guantanamo, and Abu Ghraib.
ANGLER: The Cheney Vice Presidency, by Barton Gellman. A terrific companion to Mayer’s book; Gellman exposes the extent to which Dick Cheney and David Addington sacrificed the constitution and the rule of law in their efforts to hijack American policy and reshape the office of the presidency.
THE SHADOW FACTORY: The Ultra-Secret NSA From 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America, by James Bamford. A long-awaited followup from the definitive chronicler of the National Security Agency. Bamford exposes not only the legal transgressions of America’s biggest and most powerful spy agency, but the dangerous inefficiency associated with monitoring innocent American citizens rather than pursuing terrorists.
THE FOREVER WAR, by Dexter Filkins. Filkins’ extraordinarily vivid and immediate account of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq is not a polemic or analysis, but a lyrical act of witness, and a vital corrective to the sanitized, distant wars that Americans have been lulled into expecting.
AMERICA AND THE WORLD: Conversations on the Future of American Foreign Policy, by Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft, moderated by David Ignatius. This penetrating and wide-ranging discussion between two lions of American foreign policy deals only in part with the many missteps of the Bush administration, but the erudition and common sense of Brzezinski and Scowcroft, and their careful evaluation of the nature of America’s national interest, amount to an implicit (and sometimes explicit) repudiation of the from-the-hip neoconservatism that has dominated America’s relationship with the world in recent years. More importantly, Brzezinski and Scowcroft look to the future, and the promise of a new foreign policy.

I still need to read James Bamford’s The Shadow Factory and Filkins’ The Forever War. We all should.
— Steve Clemons


8 comments on “Five Must Read Books that Expose Bush Era DNA

  1. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Letter to President George W. Bush on the Gaza Crisis
    by Ralph Nader


  2. PissedOffAmericans (plural) says:

    Here is a sampling of today’s round of questions at Obama’s website. Is he listening? Does he get it? Or does he only hear what AIPAC wants him to hear?
    BTW, as I browsed the questions long enough to bring you this small sampling, I found only ONE question that was worded in support of Israel.
    My bet? This “Question site” of Obama’s will soon dissappear, and the overwhelming anti-Israel sentiment of his constituents will not be addressed, recognized, or archived.
    “Why do we allow and assist Israel to defend itself but not the Palestinians?” FER, New Haven, CT
    “Historically the United States has been in lock step with the interests of Israel at the expense of the Palastinians. Will President Obama apply a more balanced foreign policy in the middle east?” Michael S., Novato, CA
    “Will President Obama support decreasing all aid to Israel so Israel is not as easily able to support her military actions?” Sallye, california
    “I would like to know when it is that we are going to stop enabling the violence in Israel/ Palestine? When are we going to tell both sides that they cant just go killing populations of people whenver they want? Why not put demands on Israel as well??” MonaLisa, Aurora, CO
    “How president Obama will address Isreal’s policy towards Palestinians?Is there going to be any changes or any modification onhow US unconditionally supports Isreal without holding them accountable for their wrong doings in a very fragile region?” heidi, LA
    “Please trash the Neocon mentality. CHANGE direction in the Middle EAST.Demand Isreal stop aparteid in Palestine.Talk to Iran and Syria,and for God’s sake end the ridiculous Cuban Embargo.Please CHANGE the direction of our destructive Foreign Policy.” bobby, high point nc
    “The response from Russia to the situation in Gaza has been the most honest and even handed…will you respond the same way? They said that the shelling of Israel by Hammas is not acceptable obviously but Israels response has been disproportionate.” Randy, Montana
    “How will President Obama circumvent the power of lobbies, advizors, campaign donators, Big Media and AIPAC to conceive, protect, execute and sustain a policy of equity and justice towards the Palestinians?” Edward, California
    “When is Obama giving a press conference condemning the bombing & possible invasion of Gaza?” Pat
    “Why isn’t Obama condemning the Israeli attacks on the Palestinians in Gaza? The U.S. should be standing with others in the world community to condemn these murderous attacks.” Ginger, Cambridge, MA
    “History repeating itself in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: forcing the incoming administration to take a stand for Israel’s intransigence. It happened a month the present administration came into office. Will an Obama admin continue the trend?” Zeeboy
    “How do you plan to help bring an end to the on-going violence between Israel and the Palestinians? Do you support a two-state solution? Do you support the protection of Israel above all human rights conditions and concerns in their government?” debby w, Charlotte, NC
    “How does the U.S.’s unconditional support of Israel’s genocidal war on all things/ all beings Palestinian help the War on Terror and World Peace- not to mention the U.S.’s abysmally low standing in the world?” Mya A, USA
    “Right now the greatest concern is to stop Israel from bombing Palestanians. More than 300 lives lost and thousand injured where is the civilized world that cry for brutal killing of a dog or cat?? It is time for USA to stop this Genocide.” ain raa, keeps on changing
    “Will you call for Israel to immediately cease its current attack on Gaza that is not self-defense but is instead a very disproportionate retaliation that has already killed 42 children–and that pragmatically will hinder Middle East Peace prospects?” emily, Kankakee, IL
    “Why do we continue to support Israel financially and yet let the people of Palestine suffer?” Huntress58, Cleveland, OH
    “Will you acknowledge the truth of the Palestinian occupation? Why not acknowledge that while Hamas held its fire, Israel continued killing innocent Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza? When will you tell America who really violated cease fire?” Alan, Houston
    “When will Pres.-Elect Obama speak out about the mass murdering of the people of Gaza? as well as support for the greatest recipient of foreign aid, Israel?” Joe, Santa Fe, NM
    “Should we stop giving Israel foreign aid in order to give them an incentive to settle their dispute with the Palestinians?” Alva Goldbook, Woodbridge, VA
    “Will the Obama administration embrace a policy that seeks a just peace and not merely a peace in Israel/Palestine?” Paul, Beverly Hills, Michigan
    “Mr Obama, It is clear that the American people are against blind support for terrorist nation Israel. Will you be a people’s president & change this, or will you serve AIPAC like the stooges before you? How will you respond to the pressure from AIPAC” ask1288, Rochester. NY
    “Do you foresee a time when American foreign policy will reflect the belief that a Palestinian life counts as much as an Israeli life?” SV, San Francisco
    “Can’t President-Elect Obama call for a cease fire by Israel?” Libby
    “We supported you — we voted for you. Early on, you indicated your support for the Palestinian peoples. During the primaries, and at the AIPAC conference, your position and tone, seemed to shift. Your original supporters, will be watching.” Kathleen, Los Angeles, CA
    “Does Barack Obama intend to sit back and say “we only have one president at a time” (boys and girls) while the Israelis once again slaughter Palestinians with American-made military hardware and the acquiescence of the George Bush’s administration?” neill
    “During the campaign President Elect Obama stated that he would talk to even our “enemies” without preconditions: will he keep that promise and open talks with all including Hamas in order to achieve peace in the Middle East?” Joe, Apollo Beach
    “To be an impartial mediator the US should move away from a position of favoritism towards Israel. Would President Elect Obama be willing to propose a new and fairer approach that could actually create a common objective ground from which to work on?” Sandro, Arlington, TX
    “I’m extremely concerned about the plight of the Palestinians and the civilian death toll in Gaza. Israel accuses Hamas of hiding ‘terrorist infrastructure’ among civilians, but does that justify the slaughter of so many innocent Gazans?” Karla, Richmond, VA
    “Can we look forward to a more balanced foreign policy and not one that gives unconditional support to Israeli policies and actions?” Buddy
    “Will you work with all of the players in the Middle East conflict, including Iran with the understanding that Muslims have an obligation to help fellow Muslims whose property and livelihood is being attacked.” Holly, Boston
    “Why has Mr. Obama remained silent on the recent attacks of Israel in Gaza? Does he have in mind to bring about a balanced point-of-view to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or will he follow the lopsided pro-Israeli policies of his predecessors?” Raha, Seattle
    “What’s happening in Gaza is spawning Al-Qaeda terrorists as I type. Millions in the Arab world are watching their TV and seeing a brutal, disproportionate, US-supported/ financed assault on their brothers and sisters. Why are you not voicing concern?” Anton, NY
    “What will you do to end America’s unquestioning support of Israel no matter how many war crimes it commits, how much land it “appropriates” as needed, and how brutally it continues to carry out its illegal occupation of Gaza?” Bernice, St Paul, MN
    “Will the Obama administration continue the blind support for Israel as previous administrations have been doing? When do we see justice from our government so that peace can prevail?” concern, edison, nj
    “I would like President-Elect Obama, to take a good hard look at Isreal, and see if we should continue supporting them regardless of their violent activities in these recent days.” Joanie, Littleton, CO
    “Will Obama be willing to hold Israel accountable when they attack Palestinians? Will he be willing to cut all financial aid to Israel if they don’t cease all aggressive action? If they don’t have the $, they can’t afford the war & will make peace.” Ann C., Georgia
    “When will we make it clear to Israel that we are not going to agree with rhem when they use their mighty military power to kill innocent people? We can be their friend and not agree with their heavy handiness.” susieq
    “Will Obama publicly recognize that the the people in Gaza Strip are fellow human beings, whose life have value? If not now, when?”
    Judy, New Jersey
    “Do not be afraid of publicly disagreeing with the Clintons. Hillary better not say “Israel is right all the time” or this Obama supporter will be mad” NH Gal Against Fear, Hanover, NH
    “Israel has a right to defend itself; does this logic suggest that for every single Israeli life lost, at least 300+ Palestinians must be “CLEANSED”? SHAME ON YOU MR. OBAMA! You are just a better-packaged version of Mr. Bush…” U.T., Washington, DC
    “Will the Obama Administration openly address the nuclear weapon arsenal and long-range missile launching capability of Israel in seeking non-proliferation policies in the Middle East?” Helen
    “How can any decent human being stand by and permit , let alone support, the unspeakable massacre now underway in Gaza to continue?” Kate, Oakland CA
    “Zionist Israel demands sympathy, concessions and US support for the Holocaust Jews endured, while doing the SAME THING to the Palestinian people? How can we support such actions, yet market the all-American value of FREEDOM? Where is their Freedom?” Medina, Boston, MA
    “Will you please call the murders in Palestine exactly what they are and condemn Israel’s actions? The US needs to stop being the puppet of Zionist influence and become a nation that is just.” Susan, IL


  3. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Amazing. Some CNN news commentators are openly challenging the absolute horseshit being blathered by the Israeli spokespeople on the heels of the ground invasion. Still, though, no one is underscoring the pre-invasion humanitarian situation in Gaza, or the fact that it is Israel that broke the ceasefire. While lamenting the latter aspect of the news coverage, I am heartened by seeing the unprecedented “revolt” from some of the CNN news staff, breaking away from the typical pro-Israeli commentary.
    With this ground invasion and escalation, that will surely result in increasing numbers of civilian casualties, it is incumbent upon Barack Obama to make a statement. Failure to do so is irresponsible, and any statement that is a blanket justification for Israel’s actions, such as he has offered in the past, will only reinforce the perception that he is unwilling to actually deliver the promised “change” that he ran his campaign on.
    Also, it is incumbent upon the leaders of the world community to DEMAND that Israel allow news correspondents into Gaza. Israel, time and again, has shown the world that it cannot be trusted to honestly represent events, casualties, motives, and facts on the ground. Israel’s refusal to allow news organizations into Gaza only underscores Israel’s efforts to hide the truth about its human rights abuses, disregard for the Geneva Convention, and complete and utter indifference it exhibits towards the casualties suffered by Palistinian non-combatants.


  4. pauline says:

    I do like the list. . .but I’m not sure about your #5 though.
    If anyone is still looking for that real “change” with the new Barry O Admin, with all the clinton re-treads that keep re-appearing, is the O change gonna be more like “short-changed”?
    For other suggested new year books, try for any of the Webster Tarpley offerings.
    1. “Obama – The Postmodern Coup”
    2. “Barack H. Obama: The Unauthorized Biography”
    3. “George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography”
    4. “9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in USA, 4th Ed.”
    #3 and #4 deserve a place in every American public library, especially in the “non-fiction” section. So do most of your chosen books.


  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I wonder, speaking about “reading”, does the Obama camp know that the AIPAC website is using Obama’s direct quotes to say that Obama is “standing with Israel”? If not, then I wonder, considering the overwhelming amount of anti-Israel questions at Obama’s website, how the Obama operatives feel about AIPAC implying that Obama supports this criminal carnage?
    Or is it possible that the Obama camp has given AIPAC permission to use Obama’s statements to imply his endorsement for egregious human rights abuses, genocide, war crimes, and numerous violations of the Geneva Convention?
    American Leaders Stand With IsraelAmerican leaders from across the political spectrum have come out strongly in support of Israel’s right to defend itself in the face of Hamas rocket attacks.
    President-Elect Barack Obama
    “If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I would do everything to stop that, and would expect Israel to do the same thing.” – Sderot, Israel, July 23, 2008.


  6. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Yet more questions from people all around the United States being posted on Obama’s website. Will he take heed to what these questions are telling him, or is he just another posturing lacky bending over for AIPAC and Israel? Did we elect Obama to continue in Bush’s footsteps? With Pelosi, Reid, Rahm and Hillary on board, how can we believe otherwise? I don’t see much “hope” for “change” on the horizon for the Palestinians.
    “how will our new administration help the palestinian people to lead free peaceful lives, and stop the slaughter of the captive peoples in the palestinean reservations?”cookie, west virginia
    “will obama be the first president to tell israel it has gone too far, i.e gaza bombings?”
    inuit, Oregon
    “How can US citizens be informed about Israel’s flagrant violations of the UN Resolutions that established boundaries between Israel and Palestine? I learned a lot by reading the December 2007 issue of National Geographic available on line: Bethlehem” Darcy, Columbia,
    “Will Obama develop a policy to end Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip; resolve the Palestinian refugee issue consistent with international law & UN resolutions; grant full equality for Israeli Palestinians?” Cindy, Seattle, WA
    “As the “change” candidate, you seem to have moved towards a more familiar status-quo position. Israel is now killing hundreds of Palestinians and destroying vital Palestinian infrastructure — will your promise of change extend to this massacre?” Neema, Austin, TX
    “When will the US stop bowing to Jewish pressure and treat both sides proportionally. What is the strength of Hamas? Of Israel?
    What are the death and wounded totals for each side? Are both sides able to get food and medical supplies?” mimi, NE PA
    “Will you ask Rahm Emanuel to renounce his Israeli citizenship?” Hans, Vermont
    “How will we interrupt the endless cycle of violence in Israel? What will it take for Mr. Obama to become willing to put sanctions on the Israelis and stop our material support of their part of the Middle East’s terrorism?” Ed K, Madison WI
    “What would Mr. Obama’s reaction be if his daughters grew up in a place that was blockaded by a foreign power that prevented food, medicine, and fuel from being delivered as well as preventing egress?” peterf, neversink
    “Will the Obama administration use Internet communities (like to help organise and bring a voice to Israeli citizens who do not support their own government’s military approach to the Arab-Israeli problem?” Eric, London
    “When will the U.S. make aid to Israel contingent on Israel obeying international law and respecting the human rights of Palestinians?” Dave, Sebastopol, CA
    “When will President-Elect Obama make a statement concerning the appalling attacks by Israel on a population that has been isolated and starved for 18 months and is essentially defenseless, killing nearly 400 people in 4 days?” bobr, Austin, TX
    “Will you take a stand to stop the power of the AIPAC lobby, our neocon lobby for ongoing wars in Middle East? We demand you stop senseless, endless wars, all of them, NOW. Will you take action against powerful lobbies? Gazans have suffered enough.” Molly G, Olympia, WA
    “Does Barack Obama consider Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal and will he abide by the International Court’s decision that the Separation Wall built on land confiscated from the West Bank is illegal and should be dismantled?” Arrows
    “Will Obama tell Israel to calm down and defend the Arab countries a little for once? How can we effectively resolve any conflicts in the Middle East if its apparent that Obama is tied down by AIPAC? He has to be in the middle, not siding with anyone.” toinerey, Washington, DC
    “I am approaching my 60th year in life and all through my life especially when I migrated to the US I have always heard the citizens of ISRAEL say that someone, a group of people or other countries are doing something to Israel/Jews. May I ask WHY?” bola, district of columbia
    “Did you look at that shows most U.S.Jews are not AIPAC supporters?”
    anner, Ann Arbor, MI
    “Favoritism breeds hate why is Israel favored over Palestine?” Chrys, Brooklyn, NY
    “Can we truly be a leader in this world by ending the genocide in Gaza and hold the israeli gov. accountable for their crimes and land grabbing?” klee, nyc


  7. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “….once the incumbent office holders get back to baseball, ranching and oil-drilling”
    You forgot “and drinking”. This piece of shit Bush is showing all the signs, particularly with the buffoonery we’ve seen him committing at dinner functions involving foreign dignitaries. I imagine its hard for Bush to walk into a room full of international leaders, sober, while realizing that they all consider him a complete and utter asshole of a failure.
    But I think it is naive to think that all these Bush Administration criminals are going to take Monkey Boy’s cue and quietly drink themselves to death in some backwater cattleless brush pit pretending to be a ranch. Evil such as Dick Cheney’s rarely rests, and we can surely assume that that particular monster isn’t through sowing misery, mayhem, and death. Perhaps he can coach the incoming adminstration how to get the most blood for our buck, because it doesn’t appear that the Democratic leadership is inclined to stray far from the course set by Bush’s horned navigators. And, apparently, no one in Washington has Chavez’ acute sense of smell.


  8. JohnH says:

    Exposes are wonderful reading, kind of like subscribing to an “Official Crime of the Month” book club.
    It used to be that sunlight and fresh air killed rot. But no more. Not with a totally complicit Congress.
    The moral of the story is that future Presidents are now free to commit whatever crimes they want (except for crossing a few big corporations). They can even be totally transparent about it. Soon we may not even have to wait for investigative reporters to dig the dirt out.
    The way things are going, future Presidents are likely to trumpet their crimes as a badge of honor.


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