The American public and its political leadership will do anything for the military except take it seriously. The result is a chickenhawk nation in which careless spending and strategic folly combine to lure America into endless wars it can’t win.
The recordings from the White House Situation Room include Reagan trying to convince an intractable Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to hold off the pullout of Israeli troops from Lebanon in 1983 until Lebanese forces can replace them; the president discussing the release of Western hostages in the Middle East with Pakistani President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, and a talk with Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, the father of Syria’s current dictator and the original “Butcher of Damascus”— whom he kept waiting for over 13 minutes while he finished up a horseback ride at his California ranch.
“I may have lost my ability to travel,” Snowden said. “But I’ve gained the ability to go to sleep at night and to put my head on the pillow and feel comfortable that I’ve done the right thing even when it was the hard thing. And I’m comfortable with that.”
Determined and methodical as usual, with the help of aides who had gone with him to San Clemente at government expense, Nixon made a plan. This secret plan, codenamed Wizard, was one to regain respectability. He would show ’em again. What would have crushed most people to Richard Nixon was another crisis to be overcome.
But this was a new kind of struggle—not for something as tangible and requiring such fairly conventional means (even for him) as political office, but to rehabilitate his reputation. How, exactly, does one in this unprecedented situation go about that? Most people wouldn’t have dared to try. But Richard Nixon was as driven about this struggle as he had been about those that had gone before.
I continue to be amazed that he managed to have the impact he did, after his fall.