CONELRAD READ ALERT: Selected Books and Miscellaneous Tracts
Rise of the Vulcans: The History of the Bush War Cabinet by James Mann
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RISE OF THE VULCANS: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet

James Mann's informative and entertaining RISE OF THE VULCANS chronicles the lives and careers of George W. Bush's war cabinet including the neocons like Paul Wolfowitz who made the Iraq War possible.

The chapter that really caught CONELRAD's eye is entitled "In the Midst of Armageddon" and it recounts the continuity of government (COG) exercises that took place during the Reagan and HW Bush terms. These regular rehearsals for the apocalypse are historically notable because of their initial management by Oliver North, the participation of Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney and the extra-constitutional nature of the COG plan itself. As Mann explains the planners' attitude, Congress just got in the way of emergency management:

"Reagan's secret program set aside these constitutional and statutory requirements under some circumstances; it established its own process for creating a new American president, ignoring the hierarchy of presidential succession established by law. In general, the idea was to concentrate on speed and continuity of government and to avoid cumbersome procedures."

In other words, had their been a nuclear war during the Reagan and Bush years, the surviving congressmen underneath the Greenbrier Hotel would have been waiting by the phone in vain. One suspects that the COG planning under Bush 43 has not expanded the role of Congress...
RISE OF THE VULCANS: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet
By James Mann
Copyright 2004 by James Mann
Viking Penguin, New York
426 pages

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