Playing with Fire

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Former Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen talks about his new book, Blink of an Eye, a thriller about a national security advisor in the aftermath of a nuclear attack on a U.S. city.


William S. Cohen

Comments [46]

"“A truly successful America will not only be strong domestically, invest in the best defense and keep allies and make new friends, but will be a nation which successfully competes in the global marketplace. Maintaining our competitiveness in international markets is a broad challenge; it includes improving education, committing to a domestic society of innovation, compassion and success and supporting a business community willing and able to meet the challenges of a globalized world.

I formed The Cohen Group, and have chosen the magnificent TCG team, to provide enterprises large and small the help they need to compete and succeed in the global market place.”

Secretary William S. Cohen"

Naw! None of Bill's contacts and influence in defense and government play any kind of role in the duties of his private business.

Can't really call it "lobbying".

Gimmie a BREAK!!

Nov. 16 2011 11:49 AM

carl, queens, n.y. has got a point!

Not to mention our "friend" Pakistan selling to Iran and North Korea...

Or our good "friend" Mr. Rumsfeld selling light water nuclear technology to North Korea whilst sitting on the board of the Swiss company ABB, immediately before taking his position with the Bush administration.

... not to mention the ENORMOUS profits both Rumsfeld and Cheney realized because they both ILLEGALLY REFUSED to divest of their military contractor investments when they assumed office!!

Nov. 16 2011 11:07 AM

War spending amount to TRILLIONS of dollars!!!

Do you really think the constituency doesn't put pressure on their "esteemed" representatives to direct huge pieces of that enormous pie in their direction??!?!?

Yes, not funding the Military Industrial Complex® would result in some, temporary unemployment as the country shifted to a more sane, productive economy where building, positive development and people are the priority.

When do we start!!??

Throw ALL these clowns out!!


Nov. 16 2011 11:00 AM
carl, queens, n.y.

To the writer who assumes Iran is about to produce ''dirty bombs'' and ''terrorism''.. All nuclear countries are capable of dirty bombs and terrorism. Wasn't it our ''best friends'', the Israelis who sold our high tech to China, proving nobody can be trusted and nobody should have nuclear weapons. We must practice what we preach.

Nov. 16 2011 10:59 AM
Rosemary Conte from Matawan, NJ

A very important aspect of our defense budget was overlooked by Mr. Cohen. The generals and other high ranking officers who retire from service with large pensions then become "consultants" to the DOD at salaries that may even match their military service salaries! The DOD employs many, many for high-ranking military retirees. This double dipping is at the expense of military equipment needed by our troops...not to mention dozens of other programs that would be cut to accommodate these greedy folk. This is scandalous. Why isn't it being discussed?

Nov. 16 2011 10:51 AM

back at ya!

Nov. 16 2011 10:49 AM

Why the leading question: "Do we need a centrist party?" Brian, we have a centrist party, but we call them the Democrats, and they are centrist-right. What we don't have is a party to the left of center.

Nov. 16 2011 10:48 AM
Sara from NYC

If China is such a potential threat, then why has the US been so willing to export US investment dollars and entire industries to China over the course of the last two decades?

As much as I respect WC, the notion that Democrats won't compromise is a farce. If they bend to the GOP any further, they're liable to snap. Today's Democratic Party is much closer to Cohan's GOP, both in style and substance, than they are to the party of Jefferson and FDR.

Nov. 16 2011 10:48 AM
David from Teaneck, CT

This reminds me very much of an excellent thriller I read recently, "Palestine" by Jonathan Bloomfield. It also deals with a nuclear war, only this one is between Israel and Iran, and it involves the Palestinians. Extremely realistic. I wonder how Mr. Cohen's novel compares with that.

Nov. 16 2011 10:46 AM

it's their oil isn't it?

Nov. 16 2011 10:46 AM

I'm down with JoeCorrao!

Nov. 16 2011 10:45 AM
John A.

Cohen on modern Republicans. So Noted.

Nov. 16 2011 10:44 AM

@jgarbuz from Queens


Israel is and has always been THE greatest mortal threat to the US.

Nov. 16 2011 10:44 AM
Sarah from Jersey City

As a moderate? You can't be serious Brian, this man is NEOCON!!!!!!!!!!!!

He doesn't agree with Teapartiers because they are basically anti-war!

Nov. 16 2011 10:44 AM
Raphael Benabou

How abou the waste in the military (the $1000 toilet seat!) and the abuse by military contractors robbing us blind?

Nov. 16 2011 10:42 AM

Enough of this saber-rattling, war-mongering war-cheerleading!!

The the last thing the Military Industrial Complex™ needs is more money!!

The US military is exponentially the biggest, most sophisticated, most bloated in the entire world. More than all the militaries of the world combined!!

Our kids need schools!!


I call BS!!!

Get this clown off!!

Nov. 16 2011 10:42 AM
Saul from White Plains, NY

Now that the NBA is not playing, should we not send a group of the top players to Pyongyang to 'break the ice' with the leadership there?? Based on all reports, the Kims have basketball courts at all their palaces, and the heir apparent, Kim Jong Un, is OBSESSED with baskeball in general (and apparently, Michael Jordan in particular)

Nov. 16 2011 10:38 AM

How does he feel about worldwide nuclear disarmament? A growing number of us feel that is the only way we will not eliminate ourselves.

Nov. 16 2011 10:36 AM

... more insightful psychoses from CheezleWhiz!

Nov. 16 2011 10:35 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

China does not pose any military threat to anyone. If China dares to do so, then Japan, Taiwan, SOuth Korea and even Vietnam will go nuclear! They'll start to produce their own nuclear arms! China does not want that. China wants an American presence so that its neighbors don't get paranoid.

Nov. 16 2011 10:33 AM
Amy from Manhattan

How about starting by cutting things like planes & other military equipment that the DoD doesn't even want but Congress puts into the military budget anyway?

Nov. 16 2011 10:32 AM
FKST from brooklyn

It puzzles me everytime I hear this: How could an attack on a military target can be considered "terrorist"?! BL defined terrorism just now: attack on civilians. So why does this former secretary of defense keep referring the attack on Cole as a "terrorist" one? It was a military target!
Is it nice to treat burly US marines as poor defenseless civilians, as in a terrorist attack?!

Nov. 16 2011 10:31 AM
April from Manhattan


Nov. 16 2011 10:30 AM

It isn't defense spending it's military spending.

Nov. 16 2011 10:30 AM
Steve from Hoboken

Do former Defence secretaries feel at risk from those who might want to kidnap them to force US military secrets from them? Is US govt protection provided for this? Is national defence info changed after each of them leaves office to protect against this kind of vulnerability? Thanks.

Nov. 16 2011 10:29 AM
Gianni Lovato from Chatham

Does Mr. Cohen think that the current political polarization in Washington could cause serious problems in dealing with a potential future crisis abroad requiring prompt and decisive action?

Nov. 16 2011 10:29 AM
chris from Inwood

Does Secretary Cohen have any comment on the allegations Annie Jacobsen leveled in her recent book, Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base?

Nov. 16 2011 10:27 AM

We play a stabalizing role in the world? I didn't realize the book was satire...

Nov. 16 2011 10:27 AM
Ed Specht from Bloomfield NJ

Tom Clancy has written similar novels and gets into great detail about techinical issues of security and defense and supposedly has been interviewed by the defense dept about how his depictions are so accurate. How do you deal with your access to what may or may not be secret information while maintaining a credible description of these issues while writing your novel??

Nov. 16 2011 10:27 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Yes, let's disarm so that we can give more government money to ACORN, community activists, healthy young males on welfare and NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO.


Nov. 16 2011 10:27 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

The rise of the Islamofascist regime in Iran is the greatest mortal threat to the US since the fall of the Soviet Union. It is sad that just as was the case in the 1930s with the rise of Hitler and Japan, that so many Americans are choosing to ignore the threat that Iran poses. Just today, Iran offered to sell its nuclear technologies to Turkey and the Arab countries, just as North Korea is selling its missile technology. But I think Americans will not take Iran seriously until it is way too late. Iran will take over the oil fields of the Middle East, and we won't be able to do a damn thing except pay them tribute in the form of much higher gasoline prices. And that's just for starters. Iran will own America within two decades the way things are going.

Nov. 16 2011 10:27 AM
John A.

"The technology does not exist for anyone on the planet to do this"
You mean the planet that you see when you stick your head in a hole in the sand? The technology existed in 1965.

Nov. 16 2011 10:25 AM
Benny from LES

Martin , "ever hear of "dirty bombs"?? Ever hear of "terrorism"?"

These are quite different than a nuclear bomb. And conflating the two when were on such a serious topic is absurdity.

Nov. 16 2011 10:23 AM

We killed 1/2 million children with sanctions
we are war mongers

Nov. 16 2011 10:20 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

To the writer who scoffs at Iran's ability to harm us:

Missiles are not the only means of delivering radioactive destruction....ever hear of "dirty bombs"?? Ever hear of "terrorism"?

Nov. 16 2011 10:20 AM
Benny from LES

Martin: "Not possible THIS year......did you know that there will be a next year?"

No Martin I mean EVER it is not psychically possible. The technology does not exist for anyone on the planet to do this.

Nov. 16 2011 10:19 AM
Eric from Brooklyn

The DODs 2010 budget was about $680 Billion [this does not include DOE, DHS, or intelligence budgets]. With the US experiencing massive deficits and budget woes and the American people having to tighten their belts, why shouldn't the DOD be asked to 'tighten its belt'?

Nov. 16 2011 10:19 AM
carl, queens, n.y.

The White House and the neo-cons, con us into Iraq. Please ask Sec. Cohen if he believes the same trickery is now taking place with Iran.

Nov. 16 2011 10:19 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan


Not possible THIS year......did you know that there will be a next year?

Iran has been acquiring North Korean missile technology for oil cash?

Nov. 16 2011 10:15 AM

People with no sense of irony should not be allowed near Government. Brian, your sense of humour is wasted on this guy.

Nov. 16 2011 10:12 AM

He is talking about a fictional account and it's planting the seeds of fear to justify another military adventure. Brian don't treat him like a good guy call him on ALL the BS that got us into Iraq and keeps us in the Middle East....

Nov. 16 2011 10:12 AM
Sarah from Jersey City

Why Iran? Iran is not just a country of terrorists, this blanket boogie man syndrome is why we lost 5000 people in Iraq.

What if it was Israel that attacked us in your book? How do you think that would play?

Nov. 16 2011 10:12 AM

War propaganda....

Nov. 16 2011 10:10 AM
Benny from LES

Can you please ask your guest about the actual physical/technological possibly of Iran hitting a US city. It is my understanding it is not technically possible for Iran to hit a US city.

Nov. 16 2011 10:09 AM
Robert from NYC


Nov. 16 2011 10:06 AM
Thomas Eccardt from Manhattan

Why does the US, with 1/20 of the world's population and 1/5 of the world economy, have to spend one half of the world's military budget??

Nov. 16 2011 10:05 AM

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