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Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
TOP 100 REVIEWERon 19 December 2009
I had not come across Bill Blum before reading this book which I purchased out of curiosity when it popped up as an Amazon recommendation. Whilst I was aware, if only in a superficial way, of much of its content, it was still a worthwhile read. The book is episodic which is to be expected given that it is a collection of articles (sometimes the chronology is out) but it deserves to be widely read, particularly by Americans who often seem to be at a loss to understand why their country has become a target for terrorists and is hated by so many people around the world. Perhaps if they were aware of the long history of dubious foreign policy activities they might understand, and might consider how they as Americans would feel if some foreign government acted in the US in the same way as the US has acted in many sovereign nations.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 17 November 2005
This is a brilliant collection of essays, extraordinarily acute, containing some fascinating information. Blum is the author of two of the very best books on US foreign policy - Rogue state: a guide to the world’s only superpower (Common Courage, 3rd edition, October 2005) and Killing hope: US military and civil interventions since World War II (Zed Press, 2003).
This book includes a selection from his Anti-Empire Reports, available at [...] studies of some US interventions; an overview of the Cold War, showing how Cold Warriors have consistently used Goebbels’ biggest and most-repeated lie about communist aggression and violence; and studies of the unemployment and poverty inflicted on American workers, exposing the myth, peddled by Gordon Brown among others, of the USA’s booming economy.
Blum exposes the US state’s current political violence against Cuba, Venezuela, Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan. Charles Clarke should perhaps readdress to George Bush and wormtongue Blair his remarks about how political violence is so unnecessary nowadays.
Contrary to Blair, the war on Iraq has not made us safer. Blum cites the US State Department as witness: “Tensions remaining from the recent events in Iraq may increase the potential threat to US citizens and interests abroad, including by terrorist groups.” (Voice of America News, 21 April 2003.)
Blum quotes a leading member of Al Qa’ida who threatened that they will bomb people in Britain “until the people of the country themselves recognise that this is going to go on until they get the leadership changed.” Oh, no, sorry, that was Britain’s Admiral Sir Michael Boyce threatening to keep bombing people in Afghanistan.
Strangely enough, people the world over tend to react hostilely to aggression and violence. Colin Powell wrote of the 1983 US assault on Lebanon, “The U.S.S. New Jersey started hurling 16-inch shells into the mountains above Beirut, in World War II style, as if we were softening up the beaches on some Pacific atoll prior to an invasion. What we tend to overlook in such situations is that other people will react much as we would.” Was he glorifying terrorism?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 23 July 2008
You should read this book not only for its content, which is of the highest importance, but also for its style. I don't know anyone to match Blum's dry, mordant, acerbic humour - and his burning passion for humanity.
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