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Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See for full contents of our site

January 24, 2010


NY Times - Nobody else in the Obama administration has been mired in Pakistan for as long as Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. . . The trip, Mr. Gates's first to Pakistan in three years, proved that dysfunctional relationships span multiple administrations and that the history of American foreign policy is full of unintended consequences.. . .

Mr. Gates, who repeatedly told the Pakistanis that he regretted their country's "trust deficit" with the United States and that Americans had made a grave mistake in abandoning Pakistan after the Russians left Afghanistan, promised the military officers that the United States would do better.

His final message delivered, he relaxed on the 14-hour trip home by watching "Seven Days in May," the cold war-era film about an attempted military coup in the United States.

Wikipedia - The plot centers on the fictitious U.S. President Jordan Lyman (Fredric March). As the story begins, Lyman faces a wave of public dissatisfaction with his decision to sign a treaty with the Soviet Union, an agreement that will supposedly result in both nations simultaneously destroying their nuclear weapons under mutual international inspection. This is extremely unpopular with both the President's opposition and the military, who believe the Soviets cannot be trusted.

As the debate over the treaty rages on, an alert and well-positioned Pentagon insider, United States Marine Corps Colonel Martin "Jiggs" Casey (Kirk Douglas) becomes aware of a conspiracy among the Joint Chiefs of Staff led by his own superior officer, the charismatic head of the JCS, Air Force General James Mattoon Scott (Burt Lancaster). As he digs deeper, he uncovers the conspiracy's shocking goal: Scott and his cohorts, Colonel Broderick (John Larkin), Colonel Murdock (Richard Anderson), Gen. Hardesty (Tyler McVey), along with allies in the United States Congress led by Sen. Frederick Prentice (Whit Bissell) and influential members of the news media led by Harold McPherson (Hugh Marlowe), are plotting to stage a coup d'etat to remove President Lyman and his cabinet seven days hence.

The plot itself, called ECOMCON (for "Emergency Communications Control"), entails the seizure of the nation's telephone, radio and television network infrastructure by a secret United States Army combat unit created and controlled by Scott's conspiracy and based in Texas near Fort Bliss. Once this is done, General Scott and his conspirators will control the nation's communications assets; then, from their headquarters within a vast underground nuclear shelter called "Mount Thunder" (based on the actual continuity of government facility maintained by the U.S. at Mount Weather in Berryville, Virginia), they will use the power of the media and the military to prevent the implementation of the treaty. . .


Anonymous robbie said...

I appreciate how strange his choice might be, but I'd watch that movie again. It's really, really good. While I appreciate Gates troubled history and position, liking certain movies is not really a criterion to be used against someone.

January 24, 2010 7:06 PM  
Anonymous buy r4i said...

Gates’ time working for four presidents of both major political parties has helped cement his reputation as a member of perhaps Washington’s rarest breed: a non-partisan senior-level official.

January 25, 2010 2:21 AM  

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