March 24, 2004
You said on “60 Minutes” that you expected “their dogs” to be set on you when your book was published, but did you think that the attacks would be so personal?One gets the feeling this guy isn’t going to be a pushover. I think I’ll go out and buy his book today.
Oh yeah, absolutely, for two reasons. For one, the Bush White House assumes that everyone who works for them is part of a personal loyalty network, rather than part of the government. And that their first loyalty is to Bush rather than to the people. When you cross that line or violate that trust, they get very upset. That’s the first reason. But the second reason is that I think they’re trying to bait me—and people who agree with me—into talking about all the trivial little things that they are raising, rather than talking about the big issues in the book. […]
The vice president commented that there was “no great success in dealing with terrorists” during the 1990s, when you were serving under President Clinton. He asked, “What were they doing?”
It’s possible that the vice president has spent so little time studying the terrorist phenomenon that he doesn’t know about the successes in the 1990s. There were many. The Clinton administration stopped Iraqi terrorism against the United States, through military intervention. It stopped Iranian terrorism against the United States, through covert action. It stopped the al-Qaida attempt to have a dominant influence in Bosnia. It stopped the terrorist attacks at the millennium. It stopped many other terrorist attacks, including on the U.S. embassy in Albania. And it began a lethal covert action program against al-Qaida; it also launched military strikes against al-Qaida. Maybe the vice president was so busy running Halliburton at the time that he didn’t notice.
Did Cheney ever ask you a question of that kind when you were in the White House with him?
(Back to Salon, though: Prompted by a twinge of guilt over having been quite so hard on them, perhaps, I finally subscribed, and man do they give you a lot of free stuff for your $35. I don’t mean the downloadable music and spoken-word offerings, none of which are all that exciting; I mean the fact that, for my $35, I now have free one-year subscriptions to US News, National Geographic
Explorer Adventure, Wired, and Granta, and a six-month subscription to the New York Review of Books. These sorts of tie-in giveaways are typical of the insane world of magazine publishing, where the basic business model appears to be to give away freebies until you’re at financial death’s door, but who am I to criticize? Personally, I’m thinking of opening a dental waiting room.)