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Presidential Commissions & National Security: The Politics of Damage Control

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1588264046
ISBN-10: 1588264041
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Editorial Reviews


"Demonstrates clearly, convincingly, and in fascinating detail that presidential commissions - from Pearl Harbor to 9/11 - are highly political creatures. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in how presidents try to avoid or limit congressional influence in times of foreign policy crises." - Richard W. Waterman, University of Kentucky "Very well written and documented.... A valuable reference for anyone interested in presidential commissions and the foreign policy problems that give rise to them." - Wayne P. Steger, DePaul University"

About the Author

Kenneth Kitts is associate provost and professor of political science at Francis Marion University.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 194 pages
  • Publisher: Lynne Rienner Pub (January 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1588264041
  • ISBN-13: 978-1588264046
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,806,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Kitts' book reads like a thesis paper, using five case studies to discuss national security commissions. Two of these case studies, the Roberts Commission regarding Pearl Harbor and the 9/11 Commission, involve security failures. Two others, the Towers Commission on Iran-Contra and the Rockefeller Commission on the CIA, involve political scandal and breakdown. The final, the MX Commission, involves a policy problem. Each are different cases with their own set of particulars, but the author does a good job demonstrating what links them together and how commissions have developed over time. The book is also right in its conclusion that these commissions can serve many goals, including finding answers and solving political problems.

It is a sad state of affairs where regular governmental channels, like Congress, cannot perform the type of detailed investigation and analysis these independent commissions do. But as a result of Congress' shortcomings, these commissions have become a necessary tool in finding answers, generating reform, and sometimes holding people accountable. The book focuses on the national security arena, but reliance on commissions extends to the domestic sphere as well, as this Politico article demonstrates well - [...]

Elected leaders she be embarrassed by the huge need for these commissions and the contents of the book. It is not scandalous in its findings and conclusions, but does reflect a sorry state of affairs.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As an avid fan of history, I loved this book. My God, could barely put it down at night.
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