Bill Clinton's military aide tells all.Apr 21, 2003, Vol. 8, No. 31 • By BENJAMIN SCHEMMER
Dereliction of Duty
The Eyewitness Account of How Bill Clinton Endangered America's National Security
by Robert Patterson
Regnery, 219 pp., $27.95
BILL CLINTON FACES SOME ARTFUL DODGING if his memoir, due this fall from Random House, is to answer the charges in "Dereliction of Duty," a compelling account of the White House by Clinton's senior military aide from May 1996 to May 1998. Lieutenant Colonel Robert "Buzz" Patterson was a battle-tested pilot who flew in Grenada, Somalia, Haiti, Rwanda, and Bosnia, but his time with Clinton so disillusioned him, he turned down a promotion and retired after twenty years of service.
Only one other military aide in recent history has written about his work in the White House. That was Chester V. "Ted" Clifton Jr., President Kennedy's senior military aide. (Clifton stayed on to serve Lyndon Johnson from 1963 to 1965.) But Clifton's "The Memories, 1961-1963, JFK" was essentially a nostalgic, photographic history of the social environment in the Kennedy White House. Patterson's "Dereliction of Duty," by contrast, is all substance--and that substance forms a compelling indictment of Bill Clinton as America's commander in chief.
In 1998, for instance, a watch officer in the White House situation room notified national security adviser Sandy Berger that Osama bin Laden had been located and was vulnerable for two hours to an attack by Tomahawk cruise missiles. "Amazingly," Patterson writes,
President Clinton was not available. Berger tried again and again. . . . The window of opportunity was closing fast. For about an hour Berger couldn't get the president on the line. . . . Though the president was always accompanied by military aides and the Secret Service, he was somehow unavailable. . . . Finally, the president accepted Berger's call. There was discussion, there were pauses--and no decision. . . . Berger was forced to wait. . . . The president eventually called back. He was still indecisive. . . . We didn't pull the trigger. We "studied" the issue until it was too late.
Patterson contends this "lost bin Laden hit typified the Clinton administration's ambivalent, indecisive way of dealing with terrorism," which amounted to "gross negligence." In another example, Patterson relates how in September 1996 the president, watching a golf tournament in Manassas, Virginia, refused to take three urgent phone calls from the White House. Sandy Berger needed a decision on launching the airstrike against Iraq that Clinton had warned of two days earlier when he told a California audience, "action is imminent." Pilots were in their cockpits, but Clinton refused to take Berger's call, irritated his hobnobbing in the VIP tent had been interrupted. Berger called twice more; Clinton's responses were "I'll call Berger when I get a chance" and "Tell Berger that I'll give him a call on my way back to the White House." By the time Clinton climbed into his limousine, "we'd missed our opportunity," Patterson mourns. "The president was watching golf."
Clinton's disdain of the military permeates this book, as does Hillary Clinton's, whose "harsh, difficult, and unpredictable" manner and "rudeness" included "every vulgar word you've ever heard." But Clinton's casual approach to his responsibilities as commander in chief was far worse. Early in 1998, he lost the card containing the nuclear-launch codes, which he usually bound with rubber bands to credit cards in his pants pockets. "I'll track it down, guys," he promised his aides. It was never found.
The premier symbol of American military prowess, Air Force One, became Clinton's favorite toy. No president in American history traveled more; he made 133 trips to 74 foreign countries (more than Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon combined). But the "Clinton administration didn't just visit a foreign country; it invaded."
On Patterson's last trip to Africa with Clinton in 1998, "The accompanying staff totaled 1,302 federal officials." Military Airlift Command flew 144 cargo missions and 110 aerial refueling missions to support them. During 1995 and 1996, the Clintons invited at least 477 guests to accompany them (and that isn't counting staff, family members, and the press). One trip to southern Asia in 2000, after Patterson left the White House, required 354 scheduled airlift missions, enough to move two Army divisions with all their supplies and equipment.
In brief: Dorothy Rabinowitz's "No Crueler Tyrannies" and the "Touchstone Reader."Apr 21, 2003, Vol. 8, No. 31 • By
Books in Brief
No Crueler Tyrannies: Accusation, False Witness, and Other Terrors of Our Times by Dorothy Rabinowitz (Free Press, 256 pp., $25). The term "witch hunt" has been used so often--and so inaccurately--that one automatically mistrusts it these days. Yet one recent set of events does bear a striking resemblance to the Salem trials: the hysteria over sexual abuse of children in day-care centers that frenzied the nation in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Anthony Swofford's tales of battle in the Gulf. Apr 21, 2003, Vol. 8, No. 31 • By MAX BOOT
A Marine's Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles
by Anthony Swofford
Amitai Etzioni on his life and times.Apr 21, 2003, Vol. 8, No. 31 • By ARNOLD BEICHMAN
My Brother's Keeper
A Memoir and a Message
by Amitai Etzioni
In brief: John T. Noonan on the High Court and Michael Kochin on gender in Plato.Dec 30, 2002, Vol. 8, No. 16 • By
BOOKS IN BRIEF
Narrowing the Nation's Power: The Supreme Court Sides with the States by John T. Noonan Jr. (University of California Press, 208 pp., $24.95).
A SLIM MAJORITY of the Supreme Court has over the past decade expanded states' immunities against federal authority. These decisions are the target of John T.
Our holiday gift to you: We offer our choices for books to enjoy over the holidays or to consider as last-minute gift ideas.11:00 PM, Dec 19, 2002 • By
Editor's Note: We'll be on hiatus for the holidays, so next week, we'll be posting some of our favorite recent pieces from both The Weekly Standard and The Daily Standard--some holiday-related, some not. Enjoy, and have a terrific and safe holiday season!
William Kristol, editor
READ ANYTHING by the greatest living American comic writer (besides Andy Ferguson), Donald E. Westlake.
In brief: Novels by Joel Rosenberg and Richard Dooling and Bill Wyman's Rolling Stones tome.Dec 16, 2002, Vol. 8, No. 14 • By
BOOKS IN BRIEF
The Last Jihad
by Joel C. Rosenberg
Forge, 304 pp., $24.95
AMID THE HEMMING AND HAWING about how to confront Saddam Hussein, Joel Rosenberg, former aide to Steve Forbes and Benjamin Netanyahu, uses fiction to convey the threat Iraq poses to international security. Though the picture painted by Rosenberg is disconcerting, the possibilities he raises are real.
Several years after Bush completes his second term and his successful war on terror, another popular Republican president is surfing a surging economy and unprecedented domestic security.
From the September 22, 2002 Washington Times: A new book on film editing finally gives the great Walter Murch his due.12:00 AM, Sep 26, 2002 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
THE MOVIE INDUSTRY is peculiar for many reasons, among which is this: The least important and most interchangeable artists in the community (actors) are the best known and rewarded, while the most-skilled and least replaceable artists (writers and editors) are virtually anonymous. To wit: Everyone in America knows who Adam Sandler is.
Michael Oren's authoritative account of the Six Day War--and its legacy.Jun 10, 2002, Vol. 7, No. 38 • By AMITAI ETZIONI
Six Days of War
June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East
by Michael B. Oren
Oxford University Press, 446 pp., $30
IN "Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East," Michael B. Oren gives a meticulous, blow-by-blow history of what is, unfortunately, an old-fashioned kind of war.
Just before the short but decisive conflict, Egypt had closed the Straits of Tiran and demanded the removal of the United Nations forces that were serving as buffers in Sinai and the Gaza Strip.
John Esposito struggles to sanitize Islamic thought.May 27, 2002, Vol. 7, No. 36 • By STANLEY KURTZ
Terror in the Name of Islam
by John L. Esposito
Oxford University Press, 196 pp., $25
OSAMA BIN LADEN may be hunkered down, half-starved in some Pakistani village right now, yet he continues to sow considerable confusion among America's leftist academics.
Take, for example, John L. Esposito, founding director of Georgetown University's Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, past president of the Middle East Studies Association, and foreign-affairs analyst for the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at President Clinton's State Department.
The dissonant life and times of Charlie Mingus.May 6, 2002, Vol. 7, No. 33 • By HARRY SIEGEL
Tonight at Noon
A Love Story
by Sue Graham Mingus
Pantheon Books, 288 pp., $24
FOR MANY, the name Charlie Mingus conjures the image of a goatee-sporting, jive-talking jazz bassist and composer, a mixture of New York beatnik and Angry Black Man. Mingus was all of those things. He hung out with Allen Ginsberg and Timothy Leary, denounced the white race, and worked at moving past the cant and sentimentality of a racially defined identity.
All the way with LBJ.Apr 29, 2002, Vol. 7, No. 32 • By ROBERT D. NOVAK
Master of the Senate
The Years of Lyndon Johnson
by Robert A. Caro
Knopf, 1,167 pp., $35
IT HAS BEEN twelve years since publication of "Means of Ascent," the second volume of Robert Caro's "The Years of Lyndon Johnson," but the long-anticipated third volume, "Master of the Senate," is worth the wait.
An autopsy of socialism.Apr 22, 2002, Vol. 7, No. 31 • By FRED SIEGEL
Heaven on Earth
The Rise and Fall of Socialism
by Joshua Muravchik
Encounter, 417 pp., $27.95
Romantics, Patriots and Revolutionaries 1776-1871
by Adam Zamoyski
Viking, 512 pp., $34.95
THERE ARE TWO KINDS of radical: the consolable and the inconsolable. The consolables are those whose grievances can--at least in theory--be addressed, while the inconsolables are those whose rage admits no limits. The 1970s terrorist "Carlos the Jackal" is a good example of an inconsolable.
The uneasy friendship of Truman and EisenhowerApr 1, 2002, Vol. 7, No. 28 • By MICHAEL BARONE
Harry & Ike
The Partnership that Remade the Postwar World
by Steve Neal
Scribner, 324 pp., $26
"HARRY & IKE," Steve Neal's book on the relations between Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower, might well have had a second subtitle--"Great Presidents Behaving Badly." It tells two stories. The first is the collaboration of two able and dedicated public officials in launching the United States on its victorious course in the Cold War, and without whom that struggle might have taken quite a different course.
Robert Warshow, the who did pop culture right.Mar 25, 2002, Vol. 7, No. 27 • By TERRY TEACHOUT
The Immediate Experience
Movies, Comics, Theatre and Other Aspects of Popular Culture
by Robert Warshow
Harvard University Press, 302 pp., $18.95
AMONG my prized possessions is a battered copy of Robert Warshow's "The Immediate Experience: Movies, Comics, Theatre and Other Aspects of Popular Culture," an obscure collection of critical essays published in 1962 to no special acclaim.