In this collection of interviews, Zinn does what he does best: telling it like it is in thirty words or less. Framed by the incisive questions of interviewer and editor Anthony Arnove, Zinn's commentary ranges from the so-called "war on terrorism" to the recession to the assault on civil liberties, providing a compact yet comprehensive overview of the current political moment.
Zinn puts the tragic events of September 11th in perspective by sewing a "Made in U.S.A." label on terrorism: "In its foreign policy, the United States has consigned several million people to their deaths and supported terrorist governments in various parts of the world ...You might say that there is a reservoir of possible terrorists among all those people in the world who have suffered as a result of U.S. foreign policy."
He goes on to expose the hypocrisy of the "war on terrorism," noting that, "There is a precise division between who we bomb and who we do not bomb. The division has nothing to do with which countries are harboring terrorists. The division has only to do with which countries we don't control yet. The countries that we control, like Turkey and Saudi Arabia, can harbor as many terrorists as they want. We will look elsewhere."
While Zinn's treatment of the Bush administration is never less than scathing, he sees no alternative in the Democratic party, "which has played such a pitifully obsequious role in this whole affair."
Instead, Terrorism and War is remarkable for its faith in the power of ordinary people. Zinn and Arnove, who between them seem to have read everything ever written, quote activists and revolutionaries from Frederick Douglass to Eugene Debs to Emma Goldman to illustrate the fact that the US government has always used war and repression to achieve its ends-and that it has always been resisted. By rooting today's anti-war movement in a tradition of struggle, they open a window to hope and practical advice from the past.
Though in one of the earlier essays, Zinn presents some rather unconvincing solutions to the problems of war and terrorism-calling on the US to be "a more modest nation," that no longer "[needs] to be a superpower," by the end of the book, he acknowledges that there will be no end to war without an end to capitalism: "[T]he left is in a position of continually opposing war after war after war, without getting at the root of the problem-which is the economic system under which we live, which needs war and makes war inevitable."