McLean, VA

Spring 2006  
Seeing Eugene Jarecki's documentary "Why We Fight" is an easy way to get a grip on a lot of books I'll never read.  But the names you never heard of go by in a blur, and you can't connect them with the talking faces later (OK, so I can recognize John McCain, but I can't even say "Joseph Cirincione".)  

Here's your guide and cheat sheet to the movie's cast of characters.  I couldn't find anything with mug shots of people in the movie, and a blurb on who they are, so I made one for you.  

I took the BBC's biographical  paragraph on each major interviewee, photos from Google Image searches, and some books by each author from (OK, the stealth squadron pilot hasn't written any books, but most of these people turn out to be authors).   Reader-written  comments from amazon on some of the books round out the picture.    


P.S. Sony Pictures picked up distribution of
Why We Fight in early 2006, after it won awards at the 2005 Sun Dance Film Festival, so R & I  could actually go out to the movies to see it. You may have to rent it.  


Senator John McCain
Elected to the United States Senate in 1986, ex-US Navy pilot and Vietnam POW John McCain is an expert in national security matters. He is also a watchdog on defence corruption.

William Kristol, Editor, The Weekly Standard

Wm Kristol

A figure of influence in US politics since the 1970s, William Kristol started the Weekly Standard in 1995 and co-founded the Project for the New American Century in 1997.

The War over Iraq: Saddam's Tyranny and America's Mission [BARGAIN PRICE] -- by William Kristol, Lawrence F. Kaplan

William learned the craft from his father Irving.

Neo-conservatism : The Autobiography of an Idea (Paperback)
by Irving Kristol

Irving Kristol has been declared by some to be the father of neo-conservatism.  ... Many of his ideas echo in the words of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage and many others. However unlike the members of that list of shame Irving Kristol generally manages to retain his dignity ....   It's on the last page that Kristol really seems to come apart at the seams. Here are words by Kristol that could have come straight from something written by Coulter or Hannity:
"But what began to concern me more and more were the clear signs of rot and decadence germinating within American society - a rot and decadence that was no longer the consequence of liberalism but was the actual agenda of contemporary liberalism."
Kristol, Neo-Conservativism p. 486
"I no longer had to pretend to believe - what in my heart I could no longer believe - that liberals were wrong because they subscribe to this or that erroneous opinion on this or that topic. No - liberals were wrong, liberals are wrong, because they are liberals. What is wrong with liberalism is liberalism - a metaphysics and a mythology that is woefully blind to human and political reality."
Kristol, Neo-Conservativism p. 486
Reviewer: E. David Swan (South Euclid, Ohio;

JIN: the feeling of decadence and rot,  too much to cleanse by killing all the homosexuals, spreading out of control --  that feeling is the root of the nihilism common to totalitarian movements.  There is no logical recourse but to destroy everything in order to make a clean start.  And behold, Germany was destroyed.  Thanks to my Dad for teaching me that totalitarianism, for all its bustle and energy, is destructive at the core, actually self-destructive.  I didn't get it at the time, and probably argued, but he shipped out to Casablanca, fought in North Africa, landed in Italy, marched across France into Germany and probably figured it out for himself.  

Richard Perle, Chairman, Pentagon Defense Policy Board (2001-2003)
A leading authority on defence and national security, Richard Perle has served the US Government for three decades and is viewed as one of the architects of the Bush administration's foreign policy. He is regular contributor to various news publications.

Richard Perle

In 1997, Perle co-founded the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), an arch rightwing "think tank" that's proposed the U.S. do virtually whatever it takes to ensure American dominance of land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace. A list of PNAC members and ex-members reads like a Who's Who of the far right -- Perle, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Jeb Bush, Richard Armitage, William Bennett...

An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror -- by David Frum, Richard Perle; Hardcover
Buy new: $1.00 -- Used & new from: $0.05  

3. The Pentagon's dynamic duo: Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz. (Special Report). : An article from: Washington Report on Middle East Affairs [HTML] -- by Richard H. Curtiss; Digital (Rate it)
Buy new: $5.95

Gore Vidal, Author of Imperial America
Author of numerous novels, plays, screenplays, short stories and essays, Gore Vidal has written several books on American foreign policy.

Gore VIdal      Gore Vidal. Photo © Charlotte Street Films, courtesy of Sony Pictures  

Imperial America : Reflections on the United States of Amnesia -- by Gore Vidal; Hardcover (Rate it)
Buy new: $12.24 -- Used & new from: $8.00  

3. Inventing A Nation: Washington, Adams, Jefferson -- by Gore Vidal; Hardcover (Rate it)
Buy new: $14.96 -- Used & new from: $1.97

Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace
by Gore Vidal (Paperback - March 10, 2002)

"...[W]hat has evolved over the years are two pieces of electoral machinery devoted to the acquiring of office--and money. Since neither party represents anything but the interests of those who own and administer the country, there is not apt to be much 'choice' in any election." (p. 126)

John SD Eisenhower, Son of President Eisenhower, Military Historian
A military historian, John SD Eisenhower was a member of White House staff during his father's administration. He is also a retired Brigadier General (AUS) and served as Ambassador to Belgium between 1969 and 1971.

John Eisenhower from                 John Eisenhower

The Bitter Woods: The Battle of the Bulge -- by John S.D. Eisenhower, Da Capo Press;
Buy new: $14.96 -- Used & new from: $5.66  

2. General Ike : A Personal Reminiscence -- by John Eisenhower; Hardcover 
Buy new: $17.82 -- Used & new from: $0.07  

3. So Far from God: The U.S. War With Mexico, 1846-1848 -- by John S. D. Eisenhower; Paperback  
Buy new: $14.93 -- Used & new from: $11.65 

James G Roche, Secretary of the Air Force
As the 20th Secretary of the US Air Force, Dr James G Roche is responsible for its functioning and efficiency, the formulation of its policies and programs, and the timely implementation of decisions and instructions of the US Presidents and the Secretary of Defense.

James Roche
Tactical airborne sensors: Some thoughts on the future : An article from: Military Technology
by James G Roche (Digital - May 31, 1999)

Chalmers Johnson, CIA 1967-73, Political Scientist
With a career in foreign policy spanning 50 years, Chalmers Johnson currently holds the position of President of the Japan Policy Research Institute. An academic at the University of California, he is the author of countless articles and many books.

Chalmers Johnson  
The Sorrows of Empire : Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic [The American Empire Project]
 by Chalmers Johnson (Hardcover - Jan 13, 2004)
Anyone interested in seeing through the smokescreen of newspeak Washington feeds us through our anesthetized mainstream media would be wise to pick up this book, where it is learned, among other things, that Saddam Hussein was one among many CIA-funded hit men who participated in several U.S.-backed coup attempts on the government of Abdel-Karim Kassem, who legalized the communist party in Iraq when he took power there in the 1950s--provoking the disdain of the insidious and powerful Allen Dulles at the CIA. Mr. Johnson's inquiry into the underhanded history of U.S. relations with Iraq and Saudi Arabia is as chilling as it is revealing.  ... Johnson's book ... never once allows the reader to indulge the kind of willfully ignorant denial in which so many find comfort.
...politics is merely the pawn--this game is only about installing governments around the world that are willing to import Western free-market imperialism. Johnson focuses ... on ... the establishment and maintenance of bases whose utility died with wars long over. Especially frightening is Johnson's discussion of "a new, highly secret air base" currently under construction in Oman that will "accommodate the most advanced American bombers, fighters, and cargo aircraft." The base is situated in a region and location perfectly suitable to impending conflict with Iran, ...
Reviewer: Gianmarco Manzione (Jensen Beach, FL)

we risk going the way of the Soviet Union: militarily mighty, but at the cost of devastating our own economy and destroying precious freedoms at home.
Reviewer: Daniel Raphael
Roman imperial sorrows mounted up over hundreds of years. Ours are likely to arrive with the speed of FedEx. ....
four sorrows ...are certain too visit the United States.
First, there will be a state of perpetual war, ....
Second, there will be a loss of democracy and constitutional rights as the presidency fully eclipses Congress ...
[Third,] truthfulness will increasingly be replaced by a system of propaganda, disinformation, and glorification of war, power, and the military legions.
Lastly, there will be bankruptcy,
Reviewer: D. Nishimoto "Golden Lion"

Blowback : The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (Second Edition) by Chalmers Johnson (Paperback - Jan 4, 2004)

our policies are stimulating our enemies around the globe to organize against us.
....  Blowback is a CIA term for unintended consequences of foreign, military, or clandestine policies. Johnson warns us that unless we awaken to the effects our policies have on the other nations that we will continue to invite contempt and terrorist solutions against us.
We won the Cold War, so lets move on, change our militaristic strategies before our military budget sinks our entire nation the way the Soviet military expenditures sunk their empire.
Reviewer: C. B Collins Jr. (Atlanta, GA)

Charles Lewis, Centre for Public Integrity
Charles Lewis is the founder, and was until recently executive director, of the Centre for Public Integrity - a non-profit, non-partisan watchdog organisation established in 1989, conducting investigative reporting and research on public policy issues.

Charles Lewis, from                  Charles Lewis, from  

The Buying of the President 2004 : Who's Really Bankrolling Bush and His Democratic Challengers--and What They Expect in Return (Buying of the President)  (Paperback)
by Charles Lewis
"Politics, Winston Churchill once said, are almost as exciting as war, and quite as dangerous..." 

The lesson is that our democracy has been and is continuing to be eroded by the necessity to raise large amounts of money for campaigns for public office. Politicians have no choose [choice] but to do the bidding of their contributors.  This reality makes the voters far less important then they used to be.
Reviewer: "cjkhum" (Carlotta, CA)

Lewis notes that there is an inverse relationship between the overpowering dominance of big money in campaigns and the participation of citizens. Many, understandably, after observing the travesty of money chases masquerading as American democracy, opt out of the system altogether. As the money influence grows, more citizens stay home on election day, a sad and tragic consequence of a system that has run amuck as quests for public office have degenerated into special interest bidding wars.
Reviewer: William Hare (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)

Joseph Cirincione, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Author, lecturer and frequent commentator on proliferation and security issues in the media, Joseph Cirincione is a senior associate and director of the Non-Proliferation Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington DC.

Joseph Cirincione, Carnegie Foundation          
Neo-Conned! Again : Hypocrisy, Lawlessness, and the Rape of Iraq (Hardcover)
by Joseph Cirincione (Foreword), J. Forrest Sharpe (Editor), D. Liam O'Huallachain (Editor), Scott Ritter (Introduction)
Buy new: $19.77

"the essays illustrate the hypocrisy and illegality of America's stance on terrorism and its policies of aggression in the Middle East. "
--publisher's jacket notes

Susan Eisenhower, Granddaughter of President Eisenhower
Journalist, author and news expert Susan Eisenhower is a senior fellow and director of programs at the Eisenhower Institute. She is currently serving a third term appointed to the National Academy of Sciences' standing Committee on International Security and Arms Control (CISAC).

      Susan Eisenhower, from

Partners in Space: US-Russian Cooperation After the Cold War -- by Susan Eisenhower; Paperback 
Buy new: $20.00 -- Used & new from: $18.75 

Breaking Free: A Memoir of Love and Revolution (Hardcover)
by Susan Eisenhower

From Publishers Weekly
Eisenhower, a step-grandmother and the twice divorced mother of three daughters, is not being fanciful when she writes of her identification with Romeo and Juliet. In her case, the antagonistic forces were the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., either of which might have proscribed her marriage to Soviet physicist Roald Sagdeev. In a memoir written against the chaotic background of Gorbachev's perestroika, which she makes immediate and vivid, Eisenhower recreates the growing love between herself and Sagdeev, whom she met in 1987 at a U.S.-U.S.S.R. forum in New York. Before they married in 1990, the couple rendezvoused in Russia, the U.S. and various European countries at foundation and political meetings at which the author, the granddaughter of the 34th president of the U.S. and president of the Eisenhower Institute, is often a guest. The couple maintained a public professional decorum while meeting clandestinely for intimacy.

Colonel Walter W Saeger Jr, Director, US Air Force Munitions Directorate
Colonel Walter W 'Wally' Saeger is director of the Air-to-Surface Munitions Directorate, Ogden Air Logistics Center, Hill Air Force Base in Utah. The directorate manages a stockpile of equipment worth over $17.5 billion.

Wm Saeger's Air Force Munitions Directorate

Colonel Richard Treadway, Commander USA F Stealth Fighter Squadron
Vice-Commander of the 49th Fighter Wing of the US Air Force, Colonel Richard Treadway has served since graduating from the Air Force Academy in 1979. He flew 21 combat sorties over Iraq in 1991.

Richard Treadway, Dora Gardens bomber  


Jerry Nelson
Rev 28Feb06;  Mar06; Oct06                           home