Author Robert Scheer discusses his book The Pornography of Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America with former White House Counsel John Dean.
Scheer offers a manifesto for reform of the nation's military-industrial complex.
This program is part of the Los Angeles Public Library's ALOUD speakers and authors program.
John W. Dean III
John Dean was White House Counsel to President Richard Nixon and became deeply involved in events leading up to the Watergate burglaries and the subsequent Watergate scandal cover-up. Despite his initial involvement, Dean became a key witness for the prosecution and was the first administration official to accuse Nixon of direct involvement with Watergate and the resulting cover-up. His accusations were confirmed when the secret White House tape recordings were made public. Dean's cooperation with the investigation led to a reduction in his prison time.
But for Dean blowing the whistle on Nixon's misdeeds it is highly questionable whether the Watergate scandal would have resulted in Nixon's resignation.
Robert Scheer, a journalist with more than 30 years' experience, has built his reputation on the strength of his social and political writing. His columns appear in newspapers across the country, and his in-depth interviews have made headlines.
As Scheer creates his weekly national and local columns, he draws upon a wealth of experience and knowledge. Between 1964 and 1969, he was Vietnam correspondent, managing editor and editor in chief of Ramparts magazine.
From 1976 to 1993, he served as a national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, where he wrote articles on such diverse topics as the Soviet Union, arms control, national politics and the military.
Scheer has taught courses at Antioch College in San Francisco, New York City College, UC Irvine, UCLA and UC Berkeley. He is now a Senior Lecturer at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication, where he teaches a course on media and society.
Scheer also directs the Privacy Project at the Annenberg School. On Tuesday afternoons, Scheer can be heard on the political radio program "Left, Right and Center" on KCRW, the National Public Radio affiliate in Santa Monica.
An accomplished author, Scheer has written six books including Thinking Tuna Fish, Talking Death: Essays on the Pornography of Power, With Enough Shovels: Reagan, Bush and Nuclear War and America After Nixon: The Age of Multinationals.
Over the years, Scheer has been honored for his work, including his coverage of the underprivileged and the welfare system. Recently, he was the 1998 honoree of the Shelter Partnership, an organization of Los Angeles downtown businesses, and the USC School of Social Work's Los Amigos award recipient.
He has also received awards and citations from Stanford University, the Moscow Academy of Sciences, UC San Diego and Yale University.
Scheer was raised in the Bronx, where he attended public schools and graduated from City College of New York. He studied as a Maxwell Fellow at Syracuse University and was a fellow at the Center for Chinese Studies at UC Berkeley where he did graduate work in economics.
Scheer has also been a Poynter fellow at Yale, and was a fellow in arms control at Stanford.
Columnist Robert Scheer recalls that Bush and Rumsfeld pre-9/11 stated that "we are besieged by an enemy," referring to the pentagon and wasteful military spending.
However, Scheer claims that post-9/11 Bush about-faced in his politics and, wishing to become a "big hero" and salvage his "insecure" presidency, poured resources into defense spending, thereby resurrecting the "imperial model."
Robert Scheer talks about two military spending programs where billions were spent building aircraft that were neither needed nor wanted by the U.S. Air Force or Pentagon, but got pushed through for political reasons.