Reflections from the Right

The conservative movement is cracking up—just look at three memoirs of former administration officials. These new books may engage in justification and self-aggrandizement, but they do prescribe salves for fixing the conservative experiment.

Issue: Nov-Dec 2008

Douglas J. Feith, War and Decision: Inside the Pentagon at the Dawn of the War On Terrorism (New York: HarperCollins, 2008), 688 pp., $27.95.

Michael Gerson, Heroic Conservatism: Why Republicans Need to Embrace America's Ideals (And Why They Deserve to Fail If They Don't) (New York: HarperOne, 2008), 320 pp., $15.95.

George Tenet with Bill Harlow, At The Center of the Storm: The CIA During America's Time of Crisis, (New York: Harper Perennial, 2008), 608 pp., $16.95.


FOR MUCH of the past eight years, the memoirs of former Bush administration officials have served as a battleground for debates over the true nature of conservatism. Ever since David Frum, one of the most astute observers of conservatism, aired some of his reservations about the Bush administration after serving as a speechwriter, numerous advisers have followed in his path. As they promise a bird's-eye view into the workings of a White House enmeshed in two wars and entangled in various internal power struggles, their books have seldom failed to garner a good deal of publicity. They represent a school of thought that might be called the tragedians. They see an administration that squandered its potential and tarnished its record by engaging in blatant and systematic deception.

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