Sunday, September 11, 2011

Nemisis - Chalmers Johnson

When I read the fly leaf I knew I wasn't going to like this book.  I was correct. It's dark, negative, and anti-American. The author quotes Noam Chomsky, George Soros, Norman Mailer, and  Hannah Arendt quite often, and his views echo those of Arundati Roy, Seymour Hersh, Gore Vidal and George Soros. I have no use for any of these people. I am a political conservative with libertarian tendencies and surprised that someone actually printed this book of hate.  

Chalmers Johnson is convinced that America is imploding on it's own arrogance. He has nothing good to say about America or it's people. Nearly every sentence, fact or opinion, is biased and negative. There is no balance.

"The U.S. imposed sanctions against Iraq from 1991 to 9/11: One million Iraqi children have thus far died."  That is not true. Different sources give different answers. It's doubtful that anyone knows for sure.

Chalmers claims that General Tommy Franks said that "....he (Franks) was open to the idea that the Constitution be scrapped in favor of a military form of government."  I don't believe that. Chalmers goes on to say that, according to Newsmax,  Franks also said that "Martial law will replace the Constitution after the next terrorist attack."  I confirmed that he did say THAT.

 "Adam Young, a Canadian political commentator, wondered,  how did the chief magistrate (Geo. W. Bush) of a confederated republic degrade into the global tyrant we experience today, part secular pope, part military despot, part pseudo-philosopher-king and full time overbearing gangster?" This is the kind of invective found on almost every page. 

" American militarism is the contemporary Leviathan that dominates Washington, threatening our nation with bankruptcy, turning many of the organs of our 'free press' into Pravda like mouthpieces, and disgracing the nation by allowing our young men and women to torture prisoners picked up on various battlefields or even snatched from city streets in allied countries."  This is, apparently, his opinion. He offers nothing to back it up.

He states that Hannah Arendt: ". . . called him (Adolph Eichmann) a 'desk murderer,' an equally apt term for George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfield - for anyone, in fact, who orders remote control killing of the modern sort." This is a badly distorted view of all military personnel who believe they are fighting to protect a  valued principle.  

Johnson defines collateral damage: "This military euphenism has been substituted for plainspoken words that might induce guilt in airmen when they bomb and strafe defenseless communities or in soldiers when the kick down doors of private homes, rush in pointing assault rifles at women and children, and sometimes rob residents under cover of searching for enemies or contraband." He continues and complains that American "soldiers are unaccountable for their acts to any authority except their military superiors."  During the time of war who else should they be accountable to?"  

Stop here. Certainly WAR is an ugly business, and wholesale murder and collateral damage is inhuman, torture will always be a controversial issue, and most people I meet agree that  the only way to avoid WAR is not to start one.

The entire book "Nemisis" is filled with dubious opinions given as facts . . . and opinions distorted by hate.


Washington Rules - Andrew Bacevich

This is an outstanding and very important book. 

Every American should read "Washington Rules". The author examines the causes and consequences of  American "wars" and  then describes how our culture evolved until the current time. Today, after reading this book,  we realize that "war" has become a normal American condition. 

"Washington Rules" describes the effect of overwhelming national power. The book explains how this inevitably has lead to the presumption that only the most powerful nation knows how to govern others. The book contends that Americans have harnessed so much power that it has resulted in the current attitude of arrogance in relation to all other nations. Mr. Bacevich uses clear reasoning, good logic, and careful words to describe how American dominance happened . . .  and then (after World War II), began to subside. 

"Washington Rules" is fascinating to read and difficult to argue with. It has convinced me that our government has gone astray, and that our national ability to evaluate other nations is basically from only one perspective, ours. This one sided view often leads us to make incorrect assumptions and to impose the wrong solutions to various national problems. 

America is not perfect and the author pulls no punches as he describes why. Unlike Chalmers Johnson's book "Nemisis", Andrew Bacevich manages to do this without wild and foolish anti-American rants.