|
Gridley Herald - Gridley, CA
A blog 'for independent minds'
Dirty Wars
email print
About this blog
Opinion page editor Rick Holmes and other writers blog about national politics and issues. Holmes & Co. is a Blog for Independent Minds, a place for a free-flowing discussion of policy, news and opinion. This blog is the online cousin of the Opinion ...
X
Political Views
Opinion page editor Rick Holmes and other writers blog about national politics and issues. Holmes & Co. is a Blog for Independent Minds, a place for a free-flowing discussion of policy, news and opinion. This blog is the online cousin of the Opinion section of the MetroWest Daily News in Framingham, Mass. As such, our focus starts there and spreads to include Massachusetts, the nation and the world. Since successful blogs create communities of readers and writers, we hope the \x34& Co.\x34 will also come to include you.
Recent Posts
March 25, 2014 3:15 p.m.
March 25, 2014 3:15 p.m.
March 24, 2014 3:15 p.m.
March 23, 2014 9:15 a.m.
March 22, 2014 3:15 p.m.
By Rob Meltzer
April 29, 2013 12:01 a.m.



Its only late April, but I have a strong feeling that Dirty Wars; the World is a Battlefield, by Jeremy Scahill is going to be my book of the year. Scahill wrote Blackwater a number of years ago and, as with Blackwater, I spent a lot of time reading and studying his source materials and fact checking the book as much as possible, because its very, very ugly reading. The book focuses on the American military machine abroad, and the near state of permanent and unseen combat involving the American military. By almost any standards, no president has ever authorized as much military engagement as Barack Obama, and a lot of it is stuff that would like have made Ike or JFK run for cover. And what the American military is doing overseas is not looking like something that fits within our political, moral, ethical or military ethos. I had kind of a funny experience a few weeks ago–I was reading the book and I was wondering what these secret operations look like, and then I saw the videos of Watertown, and I was stunned. It seems that our government not only no longer recognizes a distinction between friendly and hostile states, but equally our government seems to be having problems differentiating between American civilians and Taliban fighters in Pakistan.

I happened to see an old movie last night, a particularly stupid movie called the Peacemaker, or something like that. It was a 1997 thriller in which Russian nukes are stolen to be used against the United Nations building in New York by a Bosnian whose family has been killed in Sniper Alley while IFOR watched. The bomber releases a video about his planned attack, in which he raises the concern that Americans really don’t know what is being done in their names, how many people are being killed as part of American geo-political strategy, and how many people have been killed, harmed or displaced because of policies emanating from Washington and New York.  It was painfully clear that the Bosnian could equally have been a Pakistani, an Afghan, an Iraqi, a Syrian, an Israeli. And I’m also starting to wonder just how crazy the North Koreans really are. Truth be told, and because it was a movie, I was kind of hoping that the nuke would go off in Manhattan. It’s only a movie so no one would really be getting hurt, but it would have been sobering for Americans to leave the theater truly shocked by the image of New York City being vaporized because of something that happened in Bosnia. My sense of disquiet from the movie was akin to the disquiet I felt several weeks ago, watching those Watertown videos, and pondering whether I was more concerned about the actions of the terrorists or the actions of the government. Not entirely a rhetorical question. The terrorist is locked up. Obama remains at large.

We as Americans aren’t thinking through the consequences of our policies. We don’t realize how dangerous those policies are. We can’t think about the consequences of our actions because we aren’t getting enough information about what those actions are. I have heard a lot of the stuff in Dirty Wars from foreign web pages, but never from domestic sources, and that is scary indeed.

Strange that when there is a terrorist attack in Boston that we don’t have the discussion we should be having. Yes, we need to talk about the victims of the attack. And we need to wave the flag, because that’s what Americans do. But, without blaming the victims, we can ask a very, very profound questions: how dirty are our hands? When people injured by our policies are otherwise powerless to act, are we really going to blame them for lashing out at the people who vote for the leaders who send the drones? How dirty? Scahill says dirty enough, and this book really ought to be the main topic of conversation for the next election.

Recent Posts

    latest blogs

    • Community
    • National