STREAMING LIVE TUESDAY: Jane Mayer on the White House’s Heart of Darkness


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Tuesday morning, between 9:30 am and 11:00 am EST, I am hosting a conversation at the New America Foundation with New Yorker Washington correspondent Jane Mayer about her news-busting new book on the torture-promoting War Council ecosystem that Vice President Cheney and one of his most tenacious consigliari, David Addington, constructed after 9-11.
The conversation screen will be posted at The Washington Note on Tuesday — and you can watch live here.
Jane Mayer’s book is titled The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals.
I have read the book and have a roster of the major news items she is breaking in the book — but I can’t post until July 15 because of a contractual agreement with Random House.
But here is an excellent review that runs in today’s Washington Post by Andrew Bacevich — and an excerpt:

Mayer recognizes but does not dwell on the intimate relationship between the global war on terror and Addington’s new paradigm. The entire rationale of the latter derived from the former: no war, no new paradigm. Hence, the rush to declare that after Sept. 11, 2001, everything had changed. The insistence that the gloves had to come off, that the so-called law enforcement approach to dealing with terrorism had failed definitively, that only conflict on a global scale could keep America safe: These provided the weapons that Addington’s War Council wielded to mount its assault on the Constitution — all of course justified as necessary to keep Americans safe.
Matthew Waxman, who in 2001 was serving as special assistant to then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, told Mayer that the decision to frame the U.S. response to 9/11 as a war was taken with “little or no detailed deliberation about long-term consequences.” Yet the decision was a momentous one, he continues, setting the United States on “a course not only for our international response, but also in our domestic constitutional relations.”
Little deliberation occurred because none was deemed necessary. As Mayer makes clear, the White House seized upon the prospect of open-ended war with alacrity. And why not? In the near term at least, going to war almost invariably works to the benefit of the executive branch. War elicits deference from Congress and the courts. As a wartime commander-in-chief, the president wields greater clout. In this particular case, war also helped deflect demands for accountability: Despite what Mayer describes as “the worst intelligence failure in the nation’s history,” the aftermath of 9/11 saw not a single senior official fired. (Earlier this week a bipartisan commission headed by former secretaries of state James A. Baker III and Warren Christopher proposed new legislation to govern the war-making powers of the president and Congress.)
Whether the prospect of war stretching for decades actually would serve the country’s true interests received comparatively less attention. The issue was not one that troubled the War Council, obsessed as it was about ensuring that when it came to national security, nothing should encroach upon the prerogatives of the chief executive. “What was missing,” Mayer says, “was a discussion of policy — not just what was legal, but what was moral, ethical, right, and smart to do.” Such matters remained on the periphery because “fundamentally, the drive for expanded presidential authority was about power.”

More later, but this is an early alert of a conversation you should watch and a book Americans — particularly Congressmen and Senators who should be staging serious investigations — should read.
— Steve Clemons


7 comments on “STREAMING LIVE TUESDAY: Jane Mayer on the White House’s Heart of Darkness

  1. Mr.Murder says:

    Cheney’s son in law is still Counsel for Homeland Security?


  2. Kathleen says:

    I’m wondering how Ms Mayer managed to find a heart in this, dark or otherwise. The last time Darth went to the hospital for a “health event”, I said he just did that so people would think he actually did have a heart, but that he really has a Halliburton-built pump that needs the occasional lube job. Perhaps this is why he thinks being called “Darth” humanizes him?


  3. Kathleen says:

    David… I agree, except that I don’t think Dopey is as innocent as all that… I think he started the war in Iraq so he could be a “War President’ with all those “War Powers”.. They knew that, psyhcologically, they would need a ‘”New Pearl Harbor”‘ to justify their shock and awe
    I happen to think we are using “defending Israel” as an acceptable excuse for our actions in the ME…. it sound so much better to say we are defending our only friend in the ME than to say the turth… we are pirates stealing oil.


  4. David says:

    The Bush administration had no interest in bin Laden or terrorist threats for two reasons: one was that this was a Clinton administration priority; and the other was that it was a distraction from their obsession with Star Wars. These people really are that two-dimensional. And Cheney, who was just Darth Vader, is, for all practical political purposes, now deranged. And Bush is still who and what he always was. He is incapable of change, growth, or even enlightenment. He bailed out Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae out of abject fear of becoming the second Herbert Hoover. And someone else had to put that fear in him. He is incapable of figuring out anything relative to the economy, or for that matter federal governance in general. He just “knows” that the Constitution is just “a goddamned piece of paper,” and that a president should be completely unconstrained when “keeping the American people safe.” That’s it. There is no nuance to the man, or any political/civic depth of any kind. He’s still an arrogant, uninformed, incurious adolescent.


  5. Kathleen says:

    When former FBI Agent, Colleen Rowley, discovered one of the “Highjackers”, she requested a subpoena from the FISA Court. One of her superiors altered her sworn affidavit in such a way that her request for a court order to monitor his telecomunication was denied and 9/11 was allowed to happen. This FISA refusal was used as an example of why warrantless wiretapping is needed. In any other instance, altering a sworn affidavit is considered tampering with evidence and obstruction of inustice.. She bravely insisted on bringing her evidence and testimony to Congress.
    So why would Colleen Rowley’s superior alter her sworn affidavit? There were reports early in the questioning of how 9/11 could have happened, that shortly after Busholini mouthed his oath of office, he sent a memo to Louis Frey, then director of the FBI, ordering them to lighten up on the Bin Ladens. John Dean in Worse than Watergate mentions this memo in a footnote. My dot-connecting on 9/11 starts with that memo, then to Rowleys’ affidavit tampering, and then to the Intelligence Agent who went to Crawback, Texas to warn of 9/11 and was told by Dopey, that he had covered his asssss. And Marvin Bush having the security contracts for the WTC and United Airlines and how many fucking more dots do you need to get the goddamned picture? Just for good measure we have all the Bin Ladens safely flown away, while the rest of us couldn’t fly.
    Personally, I think Congress needs a seeing-eye dog. I’m just folowing Darth Cheney’s example in my cussing.


  6. liz says:

    I believe the War on Terror is a war on American citizens and their rights and America. We are loosing America to a group of neocons who couped the Republican party. The Republicans lost their soul and their way.
    It’s nice to know journalists and writers are now interested in documenting how America died.
    The dark soul of the White House is right.
    My wish is that someone will also document what has happened inside America to Americans.
    Since I lost all my rights,I believe I actually had them politically removed, I believe it is time to ” tell all” about the Bush Administration .
    The Bush Administration is the absolute worst thing that ever happened in America and hopefully soon it will be gone.
    Pray we have no events inside the country that make Bush declare himself dictator in chief….suspend what is left of our Constitution, because if we do, the people will capitulate and bow down and then the rest won’t need to be written or described as history. Who will care or allow it to be told?


  7. Mr.Murder says:

    Illegal spying powers were in place prior to 9-11 for one Executive function and didn’t keep America safe.
    We were already lying about WMD in background reports before then as well. Rumsfeld was quite aware this fact, when he said “everything related and unrelated” in his call to sweep together items on Iraq to connect with 9-11.


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