Category Archives: Politics

The True Flag, by Stephen Kinzer. America is an Imperialist, Warrior Nation

 

By Dom Nozzi

April 18, 2017

The True Flag, by Stephen Kinzer, focuses on the lynchpin years of America’s fateful (and in my opinion, ruinous) decision to transition into an imperalist, interventionist, alleged “world policeman” nation starting about 1898 in the battles between the anti-imperialists (led by Mark Twain) and the imperialists (led by Teddy Roosevelt). Ever since then, those opposed to imperialistic intervention (the anti-imperialists) have been pejoratively labeled as naive, timid, weak isolationists.

I am quite proud to consider myself to be a non-interventionist. I believe it is criminal, inhumane, unrealistic, and unsustainable for the US to be a global policeman.

Most of the world now rightly looks upon the US as a Black Hat Bully. As Chomsky says, the US is, by far, the leading terrorist nation on earth. As such, the US is the leading20137256237522734_20 creator of terrorist actions by others throughout the world.

As Derber so importantly points out in The Morality Wars, nearly all infamous Empires in world history (Rome, Nazi Germany, the Soviets, etc.) firmly believed and proclaimed that their violent military interventionism was to promote freedom, democracy, security, justice, morality, and civilization. In almost all cases, this was simply a cover for grabbing natural resources, obtaining cheap labor, or opening up markets for corporations. This method of using morality as a cover for conquest has been a US tactic in nearly all US wars in history up to the present day.

By the way, the US has been at peace for only 21 of our 241 years as a nation.

The following are excerpts from the last chapter of Kinzer’s book.

“For generations, makers of American foreign policy have made decisions based on three assumptions: the United States is the indispensable nation that must lead the world; this leadership requires toughness; and toughness is best demonstrated by the threat and use of force. A host of subsidiary assumptions undergirds this catechism: the United States is inherently virtuous; its influence on the world is always benign; it must often intervene overseas because the risks of inaction are too high; its ideals are universal and can be exported; it welcomes support from other states but may act unilaterally when it chooses. Rather than see in the world a wide spectrum of forces, beliefs, cultures, and interests, Americans often see only good and evil. We rush to take the side of good. This usually brings trouble…

…we intervene because we see bad situations, not because we have a clear plan to improve them. At moments of crisis or decision, emotion overcomes sober reasoning – and emotion is always the enemy of wise statesmanship…

…History’s great counsel to the United States is that it should more carefully weigh the long-term effects of its foreign interventions…

…The United States has not discovered the magic formula that can produce happiness and prosperity everywhere…[Interventions]…are not soberly conceived, with realistic goals and clear exit strategies. Many ultimately harm the target country while weakening the security of the United States.

Violent intervention always leaves a trail of ‘collateral damage’ in the form of families killed, towns destroyed, and lives ruined. Usually these consequences are called mistaken or unavoidable. That does nothing to reduce the damage – or the anger that survivors pass down through generations.

The argument that the United States intervenes to defend freedom rarely matches the facts on the ground. Many interventions have been designed to prop up predatory regimes. Their goal is to increase American power – often economic power – rather than to liberate the suffering…

…Interventions multiply our enemies. They lead people who once bore no ill will toward the United States to begin cursing its name…Americans are shocked and incensed when that passion leads to violent counterattacks. They should not be. The instinct to protect one’s own and to strike back against the attackers is older than humanity itself.

American intervention overseas is hugely expensive. The United States spends more on its military than the next seven countries combined, including trillions of dollars to fight foreign wars. Meanwhile, American communities decay, infrastructure ages and withers, schoolchildren fall behind their counterparts in other countries, and millions go without housing, jobs, or health care. Even worse, at least symbolically, are the lifelong plagues that haunt many combat veterans. War brings ‘collateral damage’ to Americans as well as foreigners…

…The United States was once admired for its refusal to fight imperial wars or impose its will on distant nations. Today, many people around the world see it as a bully, recklessly invading foreign lands, blowing up entire societies, and leaving trails of destruction and conflict. They associate the name ‘United States’ with bombing, invasion, occupation, night raids, convert action, torture, kidnapping, and secret prisons…

…countries [battered] by foreign intervention find ways to take revenge. It comes in the forms from mass migration to terror attacks. These are bad results of assaults that we believed would have no bad results. We were foolish to presume that no matter how awful American or European interventions were, their effects would not reach the United States or Europe. The developed world – the invading world – is not an island or an impregnable fortress. Intervention takes a toll at home as well as abroad.”

“Preventive war is like committing suicide for fear of death.” — Bismark

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The US Wars of Aggression

By Dom Nozzi

April 8, 2017

There is a political consensus in the US that military aggression is desirable.

This is inexcusable.

The US has become a militarized nation that has normalized war crimes. In the name of “democracy” and “humanitarianism.”

Republicans and Democrats have both been cheerleading for more militarism for decades, which, in combination with the US being the only superpower that remains at the time of this writing, has made the US the leading terrorist nation in world history.

It is unsustainable, counterproductive, and criminal for the US to play the role of global policeman. Every war fought by every nation in world history (including Ancient Rome, Nazi Germany, North Vietnam, Iraq, North Korea, the Soviet Union, etc.) has been justified by the government claiming to bring the invaded nation more security, protection, humanitarianism, justice, freedom, civilization, democracy, and/or salvation from tyranny.

These justifications are a ruse used by the aggressor nation to convince the populace of the aggressor nation that the attack is just. The US is supremely guilty of this ploy (and the number one purveyor of this ploy in world history) ever since at least Korea and probably back further than that in many cases. For more understanding about this, read “Morality Wars: How Empires, the Born Again and the Politically Correct Do Evil in the Name of Good.” Also read “The New American Militarism,” which describes the US political consensus that wars of aggression are good (as well as the bi-partisan support for the crazy high military expenditures the US now makes annually).

Since at least the Vietnam War, the US has utterly failed to learn the lesson that even overwhelming military force can NEVER defeat a guerrilla force assembled by the nation being attacked by the US, and tends to lead to endless, counterproductive wars. The only beneficiaries of endless wars are the military contractors and elected officials leveraging the military jobs for votes.

Read “War of the Flea” for an explanation of that reality.

To his eternal credit, near the end of the Civil War, Robert E. Lee refused to accept a recommendation from his generals of the Confederate Army that the South engage in guerrilla war. He knew that if that was done, the Civil War would have lasted for several decades and destroyed the nation.

The US should have NEVER invaded (or bombed) Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and other suffering nations in the Middle East. Because of our inhumane, unjust 20137256237522734_20invasion and bombing of those nations, none of us alive today will be able to escape the fact that we will need to fear the “blowback” retaliatory attacks against US domestic targets for the remainder of our lives. In other words, terrorism in the US and the rest of the world will be more severe than in the past for the next several decades — if not centuries. For the remainder of the lives of those Americans alive today, we will also have to contend with on-going violent actions in America by psychologically damaged veterans of these endless wars, and the high levels of medical expenses and homelessness that veterans bring home with them.

All of these terrible legacies are thanks to the counterproductive US Wars of Aggression (which the George W. Bush administration chose to call the “War on Terror”).

For the record, a nation cannot conduct a war against an ideology or religion or a military tactic (which the US Wars of Aggression seek to do).

I have long given up on voting for a Democrat (or Republican) for president due to the bi-partisan support for US military aggression.

Our future in America is grim, in part because we have no viable political party to vote for which will work to end the endless, senseless, obscene Wars of Aggression.

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Democrats are now Republicans

 

By Dom Nozzi

March 3, 2017

Now that both the Republicans AND Democrats have been corrupted by big money lobbyists, it should come as no surprise that the Democrats are now sounding like Republicans during the Donald Trump era.donkey-elephantcelebratingtogether

For example…

It was just a short while ago that Dems hammered Repubs on warmongering and hating/fearing the Russians. It is now the Dems that lead the effort to beat the war drums and engage in McCarthyism. For instance, more than any other presidential candidate in 2016, Dem Hillary Clinton forcefully assured us that she was going to ramp up warfighting in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. It was Dem Obama who increased the number of wars the US was fighting in the Middle East from two to seven or eight.

In the past, Dems accurately criticized Repubs for taking enormous amounts of lobbyist (donor) money from major corporations. It is now the Dems who lead in taking money from Big Pharma, military contractors, and Wall Street. Indeed, Obama accepted more contributions from Wall Street than any Repub challenger when Obama ran for president.

Previously, Dems rightly attacked Repubs for ignoring the working class. Now it is the Repubs who at least pay lip service to the needs of the working class. During the campaign, Trump promised he would bring jobs back home from overseas, attacked NAFTA, called for the deportation of illegal immigrants (who could be seen as taking US jobs), and punish foreign corporations which had taken US jobs and are now exporting to the US. Soon after being elected, Trump ended US involvement in the TPP. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Dems did not even pay lip service to the working class needs. Obama and other Dems openly supported NAFTA and TPP.

In past decades, it was the Repubs that were most eager and successful in spending money on the Pentagon. But during his two terms of office, Dem Obama set all-time records for the amount of money allocated to the Pentagon.

When Obama was president, nearly all Dems BLASTED Repubs for ridiculing Obama, accusing him of being a liar, laughing at him, obstructing EVERYTHING he proposed, opposing ALL of his appointments, joking that he should be assassinated, never giving him credit for ANYTHING, and stating that “Obama is not my president.” Today, a day does not go by where Dems are now joking about Trump’s appearance, calling for his assassination, calling him names, blaming Trump for everything imaginable, and lampooning him in cartoons.

In the past, Republicans were infamous for calling Dems traitors for what Repubs considered excessive friendliness toward “enemies” of the US. Today, Dems regularly engage in calling Trump a traitor for wanting to work with the Russian government.

In the past, Dems lead the fight for freedom of speech and attacking Repub efforts to engage in censorship. It is now Dems who are mostly leading the fight to censor public speakers or silencing speech that they consider “hateful” or “racist” or “sexist.”

In previous decades, it was the Repubs who were the loudest advocates of being “tough on crime.” Under Dem Bill Clinton in the 90s, Dems showed they could build more prisons than Repubs, have more crimes be eligible for the death penalty (from 3 to 60), fund 100,000 more cops, and create a huge increase in the number of mandatory minimum crimes. Dem Bill Clinton also significantly increased the penalty for crack cocaine vs powdered cocaine (100-to-1). Bill Clinton escalated the drug war far more than the Repubs could ever imagine, leading to the largest increase in prisoners ever.

Repubs used to be the most regressive when it came to taxation. But then Dem Bill Clinton successfully passed a capital gains tax cut that was one of the most regressive tax cuts in history.

Repubs were formerly the party most responsible for eliminating regulations that protected us from socially undesirable actions by the powerful. But then Dem Bill Clinton’s deregulation of the investment banking industry played an enormous role in creating the crash of 2008. He repealed the Glass-Steagall Act, which had separated commercial from investment banking since 1933, and directly led to the 2008 crash and the need to bail out the too-big-to-fail banks.

Repubs have long attacked Dems for supporting the public nature of Social Security. They proposed such things as investing social security dollars in the stock market. But then Dem Bill Clinton, while in office, nearly succeeded in privatizing social security (another Repub dream) had the Lewisky scandal not led to his impeachment.

I remember when it was Repubs who far outspent Dems in presidential races. In the 2016 election, Dem Hillary Clinton outspent Repub Donald Trump two to one.

Repubs have long lead the charge to engage in invasive surveillance of US citizens. But it was Dem Obama who established, by far, the most extreme and comprehensive surveillance of US citizens in history through the NSA and other agencies.

For a long time, it was the Repubs who were vocal opponents of what they called “The Welfare State.” But it was Dem Bill Clinton’s gutting of welfare that led to a huge increase in poverty. Some have called Clinton’s action “one of the most regressive social programs promulgated in the 20th Century.”

Only a Dem (Clinton) could have rammed a right-wing program such as NAFTA through Congress. No Repub president could have ever hoped to adopt such an anti-worker program.

The Repubs have always been considered the party most hostile to the environment. But in 2016, the Democratic National Committee came out against the carbon tax and against a fracking ban.

Journalist Amy Goodman, in February 2017, noted that Dem Elizabeth Warren has said she’s not so clear she’s going to be working with Donald Trump. “I mean, very interesting, [said Amy], when Dem Barack Obama came in, Repub Mitch McConnell made it very clear they won’t work with Obama at all.”

I am not a partisan extremist (everything the other party does is WRONG, says the partisan extremist). But apparently in America today, nearly everyone else IS an extreme partisan.

Extreme partisanship (and the extreme double standards that both the corrupt Democratic Party and the corrupt Republican Party) is toxic to democracy. And guarantees that nothing will be accomplished by our elected officials.

Is it any wonder that our Founding Fathers opposed the creation of political parties?

 

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My Thoughts on the Milo Yiannopoulos Speech at the University of Colorado at Boulder

 

By Dom Nozzi

January 26, 2017

I watched the livestream of the Milo Yiannopoulos speech on my laptop. I didn’t have a problem with much of what he said, despite my leftist political leanings and his reputation for being a racist, sexist, fascist.

He said a number of things I liked (attacking the Politically Correct police, for example). I thought he was a subpar speaker (nervous laughing was common, reading too much from downloadwritten notes, and an over-the-top ego, for example). I enjoyed his disdain for the many (not all) fun-hating, man-hating, sex-negative, attractivenss-shaming feminists.

I wish I could have chatted with him to ask about what seemed like enormous inconsistencies: has it not been the case that his conservative brethren almost single-mindedly attack sex-for-fun (sex only good for making babies), contraception, sex in the media, and gay rights? He attacked the Boulder sugar tax, despite his love for capitalism (taxes use capitalist price signals, in contrast to socialist command economy prohibitions). He repeatedly called for evidence-based argumentation, and frequently pointed out his dislike of obesity, yet did not acknowledge the overwhelming evidence that sugar taxes effectively reduce obesity. Despite the protests, I did not find his remarks to be in any way sexist or racist. He did not strike me as being particularly intellectual. I was thankful that he was allowed to speak at CU. And wish he spoke at Mackey Auditorium, where a larger audience could have attended.

I loved his putting down Boulder as a pathetic excuse for a real city (I’m sure he was at least partly referring to the sterile suburban character here).

Overall, I am enraged that the supposedly freedom- and speech-loving and diversity-loving political left in Boulder felt it necessary to engage in an effort to use fascist censorship to stop what they considered to be undesirable speech.

Is that not what the left has always (and rightfully) attacked the right for doing?

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2016 Elections and the Politics of Friendships

 

By Dom Nozzi

January 23, 2017

I am increasingly of the view that extreme partisan politics is an enormous problem in our society. I think that problem is increasingly on steroids due to such things as Facebook, the Internet, and the huge array of media sources now available to us.

Due mostly to those tools, people are much more likely to only hear or read things they fully agree with and hear nothing that strays from it – a phenomenon that leads to the “echo chamber” effect. This monochromatic look at the world of course breeds a lot of hostility toward other views (or the other political party).

An irony is that in the early days of the Internet, many of us expected that the HUGE increase in information would allow people to be more aware and tolerant of different views. Many of us did not anticipate that such a world would, instead, allow us to ONLY get info we agreed with.

One thing I notice on Facebook, however, is that the very few Republican friends I have will sometimes post contrary views on topics that we on the left are inundated with, and it is fascinating to me because much of those Republican posts seem believable and persuasive. And are views I never hear at all from my friends on the left.

I am bothered by how easily those on the left these days engage in double standards. Attacking Republicans for things back in the Obama years. And now DOING THOSE VERY SAME THINGS now that Trump is president (such as character assassination, caricature, extreme anger, vowing to always oppose anything he proposes, making fun of him, and screaming that HE IS NOT MY PRESIDENT!!).

An excellent example of extreme partisanship.partisan_voters

Didn’t the Founding Fathers warn against the creation of political parties? If so, it is now more clear than ever why they did so.

The best one can do these days with certain people who are friends is to just tolerate their thoughts and try not to discuss the hot button issues. One thing I have learned in my professional town and transportation planning work is that even if the person is very intelligent, when emotions are involved (traffic congestion and road rage, for example), I need to steer clear of the topic.

This is true even though I am VERY passionate and informed about these topics.

Strong emotions tend to turn off a person’s mind. Evidence and logic are often thrown out the window when strong emotions emerge.

I think this also applies to politics.

When strong emotions come into play, I need to remind myself that people with other views will need to learn on their own…

Something else that has driven much of the divisive hostility we are seeing during this presidential elections time: EXTREME, unvarying hostility by the media towards Trump. I really dislike a great deal about Trump and his views and actions. But I have NEVER seen so much negative media attention. Nothing in the past has been even close to this. One result of the extreme 24/7 media attacks against Trump is that even well-informed people have lost their minds about him. The media has convinced them that he is evil incarnate. The world will end tomorrow! Everything wrong in the world is due to Trump! Trump is the most awful person who ever lived!

It is almost comical if it were not tragic and dangerous. I think that there is a decent chance Trump will be assassinated. If so, the media will largely be to blame.

The left needs to come to terms with the following: Given the EXTREME 24/7 media negativity toward Trump over the past year, how was it possible that over 62 million people voted for him? I’m not saying that Trump must be a good guy despite the media bombardment. He is in many ways an undesirable president. But can the left simply say that there are 62 million morons in America? I don’t think so. I think many on the left are out of touch with what many Americans are looking for. Like with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura, a lot of voters decided that America needed to elect a muscular superhero who would be strong enough to not cave in to many of the economic troubles we are facing: NAFTA, TPP, loss of jobs, immigration, etc. Trump created the persona of a strong superman who would stand up and fight for blue collar jobs.

Much of his tactics to do that are inappropriate or ineffective, but I think his overall message appealed to people. Democrats (except folks like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren) have mostly turned their back to that concern. And decided that instead of reaching out to the lower and middle class, Democrats could win with HUGE amounts of corporate cash, identity politics, being tough on crime and “terrorists,” and relentlessly attacking Trump as a racist, sexist asshole. The result is that the Democrats lost the presidency, the House, the Senate, and many state governorships.

Yet the DNC now opts to blame the Russians…

With regard to the massive worldwide marches we saw yesterday, I find myself asking where those marches and protests and energy were during the presidential race? During the eight years of Obama?

Our nation has enormous existing problems (war, transportation, economic suffering, pollution, political corruption, the health industry, etc.). We should have had millions marching every week for decades. If Hillary was elected, I’m convinced we would have seen another four or eight years of no marches or protests despite those several huge EXISTING problems – many of which were made worse during Obama’s years in office.

I think many people have concluded that the Democrats have become too much like Republicans (for example, having a lot of corrupt politicians who were bought by lobbyists), and Trump’s campaign pushed the idea that he was an outsider who was not corrupted by lobbyists.

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A Reason Why the Left Should Celebrate the Trump Presidency

 

By Dom Nozzi

January 21, 2017

Worldwide marching and protesting against the Donald Trump election in January 2017…is what I am seeing all over my Facebook wall today.trump-protest-los-angeles-macarthur-park-saturday

For the record, this should be a very clear confirmation of what many of us have been saying for a few months now: The protesting and opposition is a reason why those of us on the left should be HAPPY that Trump is president.

We had EIGHT YEARS of silence from the left while Obama was implementing a neoliberal agenda. Where were the protests from the left while Obama significantly increased the number of wars in the Middle East over and above wars Bush had started? Where was the left while Obama was substantially ramping up the criminal drone assassination campaign? Where were the marches due to Obama being in bed with Wall Street and Big Pharma and Big Oil? Where was the resistance when Obama was giving the Pentagon a blank check? Where were the objections to Obama taking actions that Republicans are known for, such as being a cheerleader for a Cold War by being bellicose and engaging in fear-mongering toward the Russians? Why was the left silent about demanding that Obama spent trillions to build, say, a national US rail system rather than build bombs to kill civilians (and create more terrorists)?

I will tell you where they were.

They were pretending such inexcusable actions were okay because they were being done by a Democrat, and extreme partisanship means Democrats must not speak ill of “their own” for political reasons.

Had Hillary won, we would have had four or eight more years of people NOT marching or protesting or resisting or scrutinizing appointments or Supreme Court nominees. This shameful silence would have occurred even though Hillary was apparently going to be going even MORE to the right than Obama had gone.

Four or eight more years of the left being asleep while the corporate war and exploitation machine keeps chugging along doing things that the left should be enraged about.

With Trump, the left will be hopefully back to what it should have been doing since 2008: protesting.

I do have a big concern, however, despite the good news of the return of protesting from the left.

Due to extreme partisanship, I worry that no matter how progressive various Trump initiatives might be during his turn (and I believe there will be some), many will knee jerk oppose it BECAUSE it is not being proposed by a Democrat. I am already starting to see signs of this counterproductive, paralyzing partisanship.

Extreme partisanship is very bad. Shame on Democrats (and Republicans) for becoming so extreme these days. Extreme at least in part because of the Internet/Facebook/social media echo chamber.

Don’t get me wrong.

I would much prefer to see a political progressive as president right now and not a clown like Trump. But only if the left (and the media) did their job and vigorously demanded that action be taken to address existing problems, and objected to ruinous actions a progressive president opted to take. Sadly, the left has a terrible track record in “holding the Democrat’s feet to the fire,” so to speak.

This is not to say that we have EVER elected a progressive president – because we have not.

Overall, I have been disgusted by how many on the left have been in love with moderate Republicans such as Obama and Hillary.

 

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Spiral: Trapped in the Forever War

By Mark Danner, published 2016

Review by Dom Nozzi

January 30, 2017

I just finished reading a powerful, highly disturbing, infuriating and depressing book. Spiral, by Mark Danner, lays out the criminal and exceptionally self-perpetuating downward spiral of the so-called American War on Terror. Danner shows how the “war” continuously induces more and more fear amongst Americans. And how fear is the most effective means that elected officials have to convince voters that our corrupt, militarized government is justified in ramping up, without end, a global forever war. The “war” 41h2vikpal-_sy344_bo1204203200_moves us further and further away from the publicly alleged objective of “making us safer” by endlessly recruiting countless new “terrorists” who have made a lifetime vow to engage in violence in retribution for American violence (even the hawkish Donald Rumsfeld asked if “we [are]…killing… more terrorists…than…the radical clerics are recruiting…”). The fear so sharply escalated by the “war” has led large numbers of Americans to passively accept things now routinely engaged in by the US that throughout history have been considered barbaric: torture, starting wars of aggression, indiscriminately killing countless civilians, spending way more than the next several world military powers combined, and engaging in invasive domestic surveillance of all Americans. There is no end in sight for American forever wars being conducted in so many places today. Neither major party in the US seems to have any interest in ending the murderous boondoggle.

The self-perpetuating nature of these forever wars reminds one of the bursting-at-the-seams US prison system, which is so harsh and retributive that it has become a crime factory ensuring that upon release, prisoners will soon re-offend and be imprisoned again.

In my view, all of us alive today will live for the rest of our lives with a much greater fear of violent extremism (such as domestic lone-wolf bombings and mass shootings) than any previous generation. The great irony is that this increased fear and increased number of terrorist incidents domestically and internationally is the direct result of America engaging in what is now a 14-year (and counting) “war on terror” to make us “safer.” Another irony in all of this: Noam Chomsky is correct when he notes that the US has become the most prolific terrorist nation the world has ever seen. Had we not engaged in this shockingly counterproductive “war,” our future would have been significantly safer.  Instead of making us less safe and substantially increasing the incidence of worldwide terrorism, our nation could have had spent those trillions of war dollars to actually improve our lives rather than worsen it. Money that instead of being used to kill a huge number of mostly innocent people, could have been used to create a national passenger rail system, provide free college education, create much cheaper or free national health care, fund a lot more scientific and medical research, repair infrastructure, and so on.

Excerpts from this sobering book:

“…nearly 33,000 people worldwide died from terrorism in 2014, an increase of 35 percent over the year before – and of 4,000 percent since 2002.”

“Turns out I’m really good at killing people. Didn’t know that was gonna be a strong suit of mine.” – President Barrack Obama, [Nobel Peace Prize winner] September 30, 2011

“[America now routinely engages in] warrantless wiretapping…Extraordinary rendition. Unlawful combatants. Indefinite detention. Targeted assassination. Extrajudicial killing. Enhanced interrogation techniques. Torture. …once unthinkable [these tactics have become] quietly accepted weapons in an endless war.”

“…the reality of [Obama’s] years in office have turned out to be more complicated. Guantanamo remains open. The military commissions go on. Torture goes unpunished [“We must look forward, not backward”]…he sent drones to kill thousands, including many civilians. Americans, believing themselves to stand proudly for the rule of law and human rights, have become for the rest of the world a symbol of something quite opposite: a society that imprisons people indefinitely without trial, kills thousands without due process, and leaves unpunished lawbreaking approved by its highest officials…Even as ‘core’ al Qaeda has been battered and reduced, al Qaedism, the ideology, has thrived…powered by the outrage of young Muslims over Western imperialism, torture, drone attacks…this very plentitude means the odds against those charged with stopping attacks grow ever longer…successful lone-wolf attacks [in the US are] increasingly likely.”

Ordinarily, I’d advise everyone to read this essential book as soon as possible, but as the author notes in his concluding remarks, it seems today that most Americans would hardly bat an eye if they were to learn a lot more about American atrocities and self-defeating actions in the “war on terror.” Indeed, Americans became so apathetic, cynical and callous during Obama’s two terms of office that I suspect most Americans these days would, if anything, applaud upon learning that the US behavior was now similar to the North Koreans, the Chinese, the former Soviet Union, or Nazi Germany. After observing how both major parties seemed to want to aggressively step up the “war on terror” in the 2016 presidential campaign — despite the enormous number of books, essays, investigations, and news reports showing its failures — the author asks “[w]hat if you tear off the veil and no one gasps, no one cringes, no one even blinks? What if, apart from a handful, the public mostly yawns and turns the channel?”

 

 

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