Bowing Out with a Bang

Inman's angry assault on the press manages to make him sound more paranoid than persecuted

Many likened him to Ross Perot. Pop-fiction addicts recalled Captain Queeg of The Caine Mutiny. Others believed Admiral Bobby Ray Inman to be an intelligence expert who had lived so long in the hidden world of spies that he now saw plots everywhere. But these were mere nuances to the majority opinion: Inman, explaining why he was withdrawing as nominee to be Secretary of Defense, produced a bizarre TV classic -- an utterly convincing, because utterly unintentional, portrayal of himself as paranoid.

How else could one explain his insistence that he was a target of a "new McCarthyism" by the press?...

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