Lars-Erik Nelson (1941-2000) was the Washington columnist for the New York Daily News, and a frequent contributor to the Review.

Military-Industrial Man

In the final draft of his farewell address as president, Dwight D. Eisenhower warned of the growing in-fluence of “the military-industrial-congressional complex.” At the last minute, he struck out “congressional.” It was not fitting, he thought, for a president to criticize Congress. It may also have seemed to him particularly …

The Perils of Secrecy

On February 16, 1959, Air Force General Nathan Twining gave secret testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, including then forty-one-year-old Senator John F. Kennedy (D-Massachusetts). Kennedy had been lambasting the Eisenhower administration over a supposed “missile gap,” charging that Russia was about to leap far ahead of the US …

Gore in the Balance

The Democratic National Convention got underway in Los Angeles in mid-August with security precautions worthy of Berlin’s old Checkpoint Charlie. The fabled or, if you prefer, notorious Los Angeles Police Department clad itself in black helmets and body shields and stood in long ranks, each officer hefting a three-foot-long club.

Party Going

Pretty young girls in pleated miniskirts were jumping up and down at the back of the gymnasium during Vice President George Bush’s raucous campaign appearance at Christ the King High School in Queens, New York, on October 20, 1988. The girls were cheerleaders and on this bizarre occasion their eyes …

Watch Out, Democrats!

In “The Sign of Four,” as Sherlock Holmes walked out of 221B Baker Street on a brief excursion to investigate the disappearance of Captain Arthur Morstan, he recommended to Dr. Watson a book that he described as “one of the most remarkable ever penned,” Winwood Reade’s The Martyrdom of Man.

Fantasia

Modern history, as it is taught in Republican campaign speeches and conservative Op-Ed articles, holds that when Ronald Reagan took office as president in 1981 the Soviet Union was a thriving superpower, militarily superior to the United States and able, without much apparent strain, to outdo America in developing and …

Legacy

Governor George Walker Bush of Texas is the son of President George Herbert Walker Bush, grandson of Senator Prescott Bush of Connecticut, direct descendant of President Franklin Pierce, and a thirteenth cousin, once removed, of Queen Elizabeth of England. Uncles and great-uncles were or are powers on Wall Street. As …

Clinton & His Enemies

Writing on the eve of the 1952 presidential election, the Cambridge political scientist D.W. Brogan described a peculiar trait in the American psyche, which he called “the illusion of American omnipotence.” This, he elaborated, “is the illusion that any situa-tion which distresses or endangers the United States can only exist …

The Good Soldier

On a tropical morning in 1957, the American destroyer USS Hunt was about to depart from Rio de Janeiro to complete its summer training cruise for Annapolis midshipmen, and one of them was missing. As the ship prepared to cast off, crew members peered over the side looking for their …

Notes from Underground

Before we start reading Know Thine Enemy, we encounter two falsehoods, one trivial, the other at the heart of a debate over the nation’s intelligence services. First, the trivial: Edward Shirley is a pseudonym for Reuel Gerecht, a former Central Intelligence Agency operations officer and specialist on Iran. He used …

Undemocratic Vistas

Senator Fred Thompson (R) of Tennessee opened hearings into campaign finance abuses on July 8, 1997, with an uncharacteristic, and fatal, mistake. Thompson is an astute and levelheaded public servant and, though only in his first full term, a senator of unusual experience. As a young lawyer, he was Senator …

Washington: The Yellow Peril

In the early 1950s, at the height of the McCarthy era, “allegations arose” (as the Cox report so vaguely and aptly puts it) that Qian Xuesen, a Chinese-born American rocket scientist, was a spy for the People’s Republic of China. Qian had fled the Japanese invasion of China in 1935, …

The Republicans’ War

In the early afternoon of December 19, 1998, the lame-duck, dwindling majority of Republican members of the House of Representatives defied overwhelming public opinion and impeached President Clinton on two counts of high crimes and misdemeanors deriving from his denials of his sexual affair with Monica Lewinsky. The rapid-fire votes …

Democracy for Sale

As the 105th Congress drew to a close in October, those who tried to follow its deliberations might well have been mystified. Major legislation aimed at serving the public good—campaign finance reform, a “Patients’ Bill of Rights” to protect enrollees of health-maintenance organizations, restrictions aimed against cigarette manufacturers—had vanished, without …

The Not Very Grand Inquisitor

At 12:45 PM last January 16, Monica Lewinsky waited in the food court of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Crystal City, Virginia, for her friend and Pentagon colleague Linda Tripp. “She was late,” a distraught Lewinsky later testified to a federal grand jury. “I saw her come down the escalator. And …

A Gory Future?

Dump President Clinton, as attractive an idea as that may seem to some at the moment, and we get President Gore—who already has become the next target for dumping. Republicans are demanding that Attorney General Janet Reno appoint an independent counsel, à la Kenneth Starr, to investigate charges that Gore …

Whatever Happened to Whitewater?

In a television interview four years ago, the late Ann Devroy, who covered the White House for The Washington Post, had this revealing insight into the mind of the modern reporter: Whitewater is a classic example of a story that you start pulling strings on and trying to unravel bits …

What? No Flowers?

Washington—On April 22, 1992, in an act of neglect that may yet topple President Clinton, an Arkansas state official named Clydine Pennington failed to send Paula Jones flowers on Secretary’s Day. Jones immediately divined the reason for Pennington’s snub: then-Governor Clinton was punishing her for refusing to engage in sex …