I had the opportunity today to participate in a conference call with Doug Feith, whose book War and Decision: Inside the Pentagon at the Dawn of the War on Terrorism will be available in a paperback version on Tuesday. Doug Feith is, of course, a controversial figure among the antiwar movement – which is to say, he’s the subject of some truly disturbing, quasi-sexual “rendition” fantasies originating from them; no word yet on whether that will change, now that it’s been reported that rendition will be resumed to Clinton-era levels under the new administration – so I looked forward to the call.
My question, as you might guess, involved the LA Times article on rendition, plus HRW’s rolling over for the Democrats on this one: I wanted his reaction on both. His general position on Obama’s detainee policy was that while the new administration is very concerned about distinguishing itself from the previous one, it was mostly via symbolic gestures and changes in tone. In terms in substance, however, expect more continuity. Then there was the fact that administration critics tended to seriously misrepresent the motives and objectives of the people running the programs; expect that the Obama administration will end up doing pretty much the same things that the Bush administration did, for much the same reasons. Campaign rhetoric or no.
He doesn’t expect the antiwar movement to ever admit that, by the way, given that they’re projecting their own close-mindedness and indifference to the facts on their opponents.
Regarding the book itself: Feith – who doesn’t make any money off of it, by the way; he donated the hardcover royalties to charity, and will do the same for the paperback version – didn’t write it to change people’s minds; he wrote it to provide what he feels is a balanced look at the situation, thus giving people the opportunity to make up their minds on their own. He feels that the record has been grotesquely distorted, and thinks that his book will be one of the first steps towards correcting that.
There were a variety of other things discussed in the conference call, but I’ll let the bloggers who asked them cover them: I do think that you should seriously contemplate picking up War and Decision if you haven’t already. Even if you’re the sort who hates the neoconservatives for being right on Iraq when you were so comprehensively wrong.
Actually, especially if you’re that sort…
PS: Really, rendition is not my hot-button topic. Savagely mocking the antiwar movement is my hot-button topic, and I’ve been merely saving up for unloading on this particular facet of it for several years now.
Crossposted at Moe Lane.