Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower Paperback – 1 Oct 2000
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'This is not a book for anyone who wishes to maintain any cosy illusions about their own liberty - let alone the liberty of anyone in any country to whose domestic policy the United States government takes exception... we find in these pages, meticulously detailed and annotated, all the instances of assassination, covert and overt destabilisation, election-rigging, sponsorship of terrorism, secret surveillance, brainwashing and provocation that the US has employed to further its burgeoning corporate empire (otherwise known as the the 'new world order')... After reading Rogue State, it is impossible to hang fast to the comforting illusion that the 'American Way' is some kind of enlightenment' - Will Self in The New Statesman 'Rogue State is a book of charges to be tied to a paving stone and thrown at the men in Washington' - The Independent on Sunday 'William Blum, once of the US State Department, gives a chilling reminder that while there may be no justification for 11 September, there may be reasons' - Mavis Cheek in The Observer, Books of the Year 2001 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
William Blum left the State Department in 1967, abandoning his aspiration of becoming a Foreign Service Officer because of his opposition to what the US was doing in Vietnam. He then became a founder and editor of the Washington Free Press, the first 'alternative' newspaper in the capital. Mr Blum has been a freelance journalist in the US, Europe and South America. His stay in Chile in 1972-3, writing about the Allende government's 'socialist experiment', and then its tragic overthrow in a CIA-designed coup, instilled in him a personal involvement and an even more heightened interest in what his government was doing in various corners of the world. He is the author of 'Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II'. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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He looks at the notion that 9/11 is explicable only in terms of evil. He cites the Pentagon's own Defense Science Board, which quoted, and contradicted, Bush when it said, "Muslims do not `hate our freedom', but rather they hate our policies." He writes, "This idée fixe - that the rise of anti-American terrorism owes nothing to American policies - in effect postulates an America that is always the aggrieved innocent in a treacherous world, a benign United States government peacefully going about its business but being `provoked' into taking extreme measures to defend its people, its freedom and its democracy."
He writes, "Throughout the period of the Cuban revolution, 1959 to the present, Latin America has witnessed a terrible parade of human rights violations - systematic, routine torture; legions of `disappeared' people; government-supported death squads picking off selected individuals; massacres en masse of peasants, students and other groups, shot down in cold blood. The worst perpetrators of these acts during this period have been the military and associated paramilitary squads of El Salvador, Guatemala, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Uruguay, Haiti and Honduras. Not even Cuba's worst enemies have made serious charges against the Castro government for any of these violations ..." Now the US state is encouraging Florida-based Cuban anti-communist terrorists to help Venezuelan fascist to overthrow President Chavez.
Blum concludes that, to the US state, "'democracy', at best, or at most, is equated solely with elections and civil liberties. Neither jobs, food or shelter, nor education or health care are part of the equation. Thus, a nation with hordes of hungry, homeless, untended sick, barely literate, unemployed, and/or tortured people, whose loved ones are being disappeared and/or murdered with state connivance, can be said to be living in a `democracy' ... provided that every two years or four years they have the right to go to a designated place and put an X next to the name of one or another individual who promises to relieve their miserable condition, but who will, typically, do virtually nothing of the kind ..."
No doubt there will be some who will dispute some of the arguements he presents, but much of it is beyond reproach, such as the section on the US's shameful voting at the UN.
For those of us who are concerned that the British are following the US into one mistaken action after another, it makes very sobering reading.
In his war against terrorism George Dubya needs to look no further than his own secret service to find examples of murder and coercion.
Read this book, then have a stiff drink as you remind yourself that the USA is leader of the free world.
However, the book lacks any progression. This book is simply a catalogue of affairs in which the US has meddled, and as a consequence it reads more like a reference book. It doesn't go anywhere, by and large it doesn't explain the background to each affair, and nor does it follow up with the eventual outcome; it simply contains bursts of historical fact - on average about a page in length although some take short (approx. 5 page) chapters.
The information is certainly well worth knowing - and more people should know about this - but soon after I started I found myself flicking ahead to see if the course changed in any way. It doesn't.
In the 60's Blum worked for the State Department but could only take so much. He has since dedicated himself to trying to counter through one medium or another to mythology of US political credibility. Like all great American dissident writers he cares first and foremost about the victims of terror, torture, genocide and aggression. That may sound familiar as it is the same claim made by the usual suspects who forever appear on Newsnight BUT with one great difference. Their indignation is also about the far lesser crimes of the enemies of the USA (who almost always owe their careers to the CIA in the first place)
while Blum is concerned with the far greater crimes committed upon vastly greater numbers of people by the American Empire.
His style of writing is clear, precise, verifiable and designed for a generation of people who want clear writing that can be read on the commuter trains and time spent in airports and on planes as well as a good read at home.
The only reason I did not give it 5 stars is that should be reserved for grander works like Chomsky's YEAR 501 but this work is far accessible for a wider audience.
An important account of US conduct in the world that the folks on the tele refuse to mention.
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