Dick Cheney's spring reading
Our McClatchy colleague who covers the White House, William Douglas, contributed the following report today to Nukes and Spooks. The vice president's choice of reading material comes as he reportedly presses for a tougher line against Iran, while Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has been speaking publicly about avoiding conflict with the Islamic Republic.
Vice President Dick Cheney, arriving in Philadelphia today to watch economic stimulus rebate checks processed at a government financial center, had a thick hardcover book tucked under his arm as he got off Air Force Two at Willow Grove Naval Air Station.
Aides said the book was "Retribution: The Battle for Japan, 1944-45," by the British historian Max Hastings.
Reviews on Amazon.com describe the book as a brutally honest recounting of some of World War II's bloodiest clashes in the Pacific from the perspectives of the troops - American, Japanese, Australian, Russian and Chinese - more than the views of the generals and world leaders who sent them into battle.
The book's main premise, according to reviews, is that the United States was justified in dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. "The myth that the Japanese were ready to surrender anyway has been so completely discredited by modern research that it is astonishing some writers continue to give it credence," Hastings writes.
At the same time, the book is critical of Gen. Douglas MacArthur for making some war-time decisions - like the battle of Manila - that Hastings believes "satisfied his (MacArthur's) own ambition more convincingly than the national purpose of his country."