I first met Sidney Blumenthal in the early Seventies when we worked together on an alternative weekly newspaper in Boston. In the 35 years or so since then, Sidney has carved out a dual career as one of America’s most astute political commentators and a political adviser. As a journalist, he has written for The New Republic, the Washington Post, and the New Yorker, and, more recently served as a columnist for Salon.com and The Guardian. He is also the author of six previous books on politics and the executive producer of Taxi to the Dark Side, the Oscar-winning documentary about the Bush administration torture policies and practices. And, of course, he has served as senior adviser to President Bill Clinton and to Hillary Clinton during her recent presidential campaign.
If Sidney is controversial—and he often is—it is largely because of his prescience. His 1986 book The Rise of the Counter-Establishment, the first serious critique of neo-conservatism, chronicled the birth of the neocon infrastructure that ultimately paved the way for the disastrous policies of the Bush-Cheney administration. (The Rise of the Counter-Establishment has been reissued this summer as well, by Union Square Press, with a new introduction about Cheney’s roots in neoconservativism.) In The Clinton Wars, he gives an insider’s account of the all-out assault of movement conservatives on the Clinton Administration (at a time when the notion of “a vast right-wing conspiracy” was still ridiculed by liberals.) And in the movie, Taxi to the Dark Side, thanks to Sidney and director Alex Gibney, we finally confront in the most compelling way imaginable, the horrifying reality of the Bush administration’s torture policies, the impact of those policies on its innocent victims, and the chain of command within the Bush administration that implemented to those policies. (more…)