A little over nine years ago I was sitting in my friend Gavin’s family room watching CNN. It was March 20th, 2003 and I was home from college for the weekend. We were eating pizza and talking about Spring quarter. On the TV: a live feed of Baghdad. In the middle of our conversation my friend stops and said: “holy shit.” I looked at the screen. We were watching cruise missiles impact in the city. I was puzzled, fascinated, and exhilarated all at the same time. We were watching the start of the Iraq War, live. At that time, I was a 19 year-old college student. I felt what I thought was a natural reaction for the teenage American male: let’s kick some ass. The who and why of bombing was far less important than that fact that we were bombing. It was like a video game, cruise missiles live on CNN. It was both awesome and horrifying all at the same time.
Robert Caro is the author of The Years of Lyndon Johnson biography. Broken up into five parts, Caro just released his fourth installment in the series, The Passage of Power in early May. I’ve read the first three volumes and they are truly excellent history. Caro’s study of power is insightful, eloquent, and unsparing in both its research and conclusions. John Stewart interviewed Caro on May 10th, 2012.
(On an peripherial note, Caro reminds me of the late actor John Spencer, a star of “The West Wing”)