By Richard E. Noble
Mr. Vidal, well known and much despised by many on the right, makes the case of "conspiracy" within the present Bush administration. He points out the major oil connections of all the main players - Rice, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush Sr., Bush Jr. and others. He explains the Bush connection to Osama ben Laden and Al Quida. He links a possible 911 conspiracy to the historical conspiracy traditions - Pearl Harbor and FDR and Wilson and World War I. He connects oil to Afghanistan (Unocal pipe line) and to a "possible" invasion of Iraq. He tells of the training of the Taliban and Al Quida by the Reagan administration and the American Special Forces and the CIA. He goes on and on and on - and from what I can see many of his claims with regards to the present Bush and his administration have now been exposed as fact by even the main stream media.
At some points he begins to sound like the Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reily of the left. He is so maligned and persecuted. He goes on once again harping on poor Sally Hemmings. His views on FDR and his Pearl Harbor conspiracy and the uninformed General and Admiral in command at Pearl Harbor are not substantiated. I've read most of the material and Vidal is just in claiming that there is a vast supply of literature on this subject. But he neglects to mention that most of this vast supply of literature does not support his theory. Certainly for every pro there is an equally valid con. It may be true that Japan was pressured but they certainly had other options besides a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. It is equally difficult to accept that FDR could knowingly sacrifice and willingly execute 3000 American soldiers to gain entrance into World War II. General Marshall's account of the situation at Pearl Harbor is the best and simplest explanation I read so far. With regards to FDR, Mr. Vidal sounds like a Republican.
He continues to wander and somehow ends up on the atomic bomb and Harry Truman. In this case much of what he claims seems to be supported by historians and researchers - but the facts are never stated as salaciously as Mr. Vidal's interpretation. It is difficult to demonize old "give 'em hell" Harry. Harry may have been wrong but one can hardly doubt that when wrong he was not sincerely and wholeheartedly wrong. I find it difficult to accept that Harry was deceptively or clandestinely or conspiratorially wrong.
There are other parts of his book that have not gotten as much attention. They may be true but because of Mr. Vidal very opinionated nature, I would imagine that most readers discount his validity.
Gore Vidal is a novelist but I have only read his political essays and his political commentary. I enjoy reading Mr. Vidal on politics because he is always outspoken. Every time I read one of his books, I discount 50% of what he has to say as left wing propaganda but invariably one also finds sufficient food for thought.
Believe it or not Mr. Vidal thinks that nearly everyone in the USA pays too much in taxes. He points out that over 50% of all federal spending goes to the Pentagon and Military spending in general. He is not happy with the 1% of Americans who own almost everything in America - and a good deal of the rest of the world.
The subtitle of this book is Blood for oil and the Cheney-Bush Junta. On this particular issue he has a very good case. He should have stuck with his Bush criticisms. Once he climbed into his personal fantasies about American history, I would guess that he lost most of his serious audience.