The Name is Bergen. . .Peter Bergen


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My friend and New America Foundation colleague Peter Bergen will always be remembered as the guy who found Osama bin Laden and arranged a famous CNN interview of him when the CIA couldn’t find him. Bergen has written two important books about bin Laden and al Qaeda titled Holy War, Inc: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden and The Osama Bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda’s Leader.
While Peter was born in Minneapolis, he has a British accent more distinctive than many Brits and comes off as some kind of grunge-era 007 with very hip musical tastes. Most of the world knows Bergen as CNN’s terrorism analyst, particularly when anything bin Laden-esque surfaces.
That’s why I found it amusing that today in the New York Times Book Review, Chris Suellentrop notes that Patrick Buchanan refers twice to Bergen in his new book as Peter Burger.

This is not to say, however, that the book is awful. Buchanan can write, and he knows how to provoke. His foreign policy prescriptions — withdraw from NATO, abandon our commitments to Taiwan and South Korea and pretty much everywhere else in the world — are not likely to be adopted by the nominee of either major party in 2008, but he presents them forcefully and often persuasively.
They deserve a wider hearing in American politics than they are currently given, if only to challenge the adherents of the prevailing orthodoxy to question their assumptions (although it doesn’t bolster Buchanan’s bona fides as a terrorism expert when he twice refers to Peter Bergen, the author of “Holy War Inc.” and “The Osama bin Laden I Know,” as Peter “Burger”).

The name is Bergen. . .Peter Bergen.
— Steve Clemons


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