In this groundbreaking book of new reportage, sure to stir a global debate, journalist Jeremy Scahill - author of the acclaimed international best seller Blackwater - takes us into the heart of the War on Terror’s most dangerous battlefields as he chases down the most important foreign-policy story of our time.
From Afghanistan and Pakistan to Yemen, Somalia, and beyond, Scahill speaks to the CIA agents, mercenaries, and elite Special Operations Forces operators who populate the dark side of American war-fighting. He goes deep into al Qaeda-held territory in Yemen and walks the streets of Mogadishu with CIA-backed warlords. We also meet the survivors of US night raids and drone strikes - including families of US citizens targeted for assassination by their own government - who reveal the human consequences of the dirty wars the United States struggles to keep hidden.
Written in a gripping, action-packed narrative nonfiction style, Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield reveals that, despite his pledge to bring accountability to US wars and to end Bush-era abuses, President Barack Obama has kept in place many of the most dangerous and secret programs that thrived under his predecessor. In stunning detail, Scahill exposes how Obama has escalated these secret US wars and has built up an elite secret US military unit that answers to no one but the president himself. Scahill reveals the existence of previously unreported secret prisons, kidnappings, assassinations, and cover-ups of covert operations gone terribly wrong.
In this remarkable story from the frontlines of the undeclared battlefields of the War on Terror, journalist Jeremy Scahill documents the new paradigm of American war: fought far from any declared battlefield, by units that do not officially exist, in thousands of operations a month that are never publicly acknowledged.
The devastating picture that emerges in Dirty Wars is of a secret US killing machine that has grown more powerful than whatever president happens to reside in the White House. Scahill argues that far from keeping the United States - and the world - safe from terrorism, these covert American wars ensure that the terror will grow and spread.
©2013 Jeremy Scahill (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“Dirty Wars is the most thorough and authoritative history I’ve read yet of the causes and consequences of America’s post-9/11 conflation of war and national security. I know of no other journalist who could have written it: for over a decade, Scahill has visited the war zones, overt and covert; interviewed the soldiers, spooks, jihadists, and victims; and seen with his own eyes the fruits of America’s bipartisan war fever. He risked his life many times over to write this book, and the result is a masterpiece of insight, journalism, and true patriotism.”—Barry Eisler, New York Times bestselling author
“There is no journalist in America who has exposed the truth about US government militarism more bravely, more relentlessly, and more valuably than Jeremy Scahill. Dirty Wars is highly gripping and dramatic, and of unparalleled importance in understanding the destruction being sown in our name.”—Glenn Greenwald, New York Times bestselling author and Guardian columnist
“A surefire hit for fans of Blackwater and studded with intriguing, occasionally damning material.”—Kirkus Reviews
THANK YOU JEREMY SCAHILL for bringing us Dirty Wars -- this is a book that had to be written, and in my view it should be read by everyone who is concerned about where our country is headed in its relations with the rest of the world. Succeeds brilliantly in describing how, and why, our most secretive, clandestine defense and national security assets (JSCO, drones) have evolved into the weapons of choice of our political and military leaders, and the shattering implications of this trend. Throughout Dirty Wars we follow the saga of US citizen Anwar Awlaki, targeted for "elimination" by the Oval Office without a shred of due process. Scahill very skillfully puts his story into its global context, but at the same time brings us back again and again to the heart-breakening, human story behind the so-called "signature strike" -- assassination by any other name -- that ultimately killed Awlaki, Samir Khan (another young American), and, soon thereafter, Awlaki's teenaged son and other family members.
Dirty Wars is not a hatchet job against Obama or Bush or any political group in particular. It's about how we as a nation have ceded basic constitutional rights and responsibilities in the name of fighting terrorism, even as, unwittingly, more terrorists and America-haters are created in consequence of our actions.
Scahill's book appears amid a flood of recent stories about NSA etc. harvesting all of our email and phone calls. But one question I haven't heard the media ask is: what the heck are they doing with all that information, what is its practical purpose? But having read Dirty Wars, the answer is pretty clear: they're using it to detect patterns of behavior and build out profiles and "signatures" for the list of kill targets that goes to the president's desk. All of this is going on extra-judicially, beyond any attempt at oversight, much less within legal structures. It is frightening.
I thought this would be a good story about the possible unlawful use of force by the American military in other countries and, to a large degree, it was. But, in telling the story, the author also provided an incredible picture of one of the most effective and efficient non-traditional military forces in the world - JSOC. It amazes how well they are trained, supplied, and led while, at the same time, are abused by the very government they serve.
This was one of the best books I have read about the US special operations world.
Let's face it, these authors aren't paying me, so there's no need to lie!!
First off, this is a GREAT book. Very well researched, full of new information, and written in a way that will hold your attention; especially if you enjoy CIA/black ops/ SEALs stuff.
Now for the negative, and it's not really a negative, just something you should keep in mind.
This author comes across as VERY anti-targeted strikes/ anti-drones. In fairness, he does present both sides of the argument, but he presents much more of the "innocent civilian casualties" side than perhaps is necessary.
He tends to disregard the mindset of most Americans, which is "if people are hanging out with terrorists (IE in the same car with them), then they are probably people that are a threat to the US" I'm not saying I agree with this, and there are always exceptions, but it's certainly a stance that deserved more weight in the book. Let's face it, other than journalists, there aren't many "innocent" people riding around in cars in the desert with the leaders of Al Qaeda. There just aren't.
This didn't paint my enjoyment of the book, however. The author doesn't beat you over the head with one particular opinion or the other, he just simply spends a bit too much time talking to the family members of suspected terrorists. For the most part, he sets out all the facts and lets you decide. I'd give this book 5 stars, simply based on the classified information and incredible interviews that are inside. The story and narrator make it outstanding.
I started out thinking this book would be a total bashing of the Bush administration but the author was balanced in his treatment of current and past administrations.
Additionally it gave me a much better understanding of how the Executive branch of the US government has managed to side step most of the review process put in place at the end of the Vietnam war to control covert operations. It was real eye opener to hear how little hard evidence is required before a drone strike can be order and how little concern within administration there is for collateral damage and deaths caused by the strikes.
I have only just begun listening to this book and as expected it has all the diligent and intelligent insight and reporting I expect from Scahill. However, Maddow, Soufan, Hastings, all found the time to be able to narrate their books themselves not to mention Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbertt. This narrators voice has just thrown me off from the beginning and for a book that is so definitely steeped in Jeremy Scahill's unique intelectual voice it would be nice to have his physical voice as well.
Nonetheless great start to what I am sure will be a great book.
It quickly becomes obvious as to where the author stands with his view on war, and what he thinks of the United States when it comes to geopolitics. It's hard to discern fact from fiction, because the author integrates so much of his own hyperbole with hard facts, and first person testimony, it becomes a convoluted mess.
There are some very interesting stories and research the author has done, but at times it feels like on Oliver Stone movie where he's presenting the data in a way that supports his opinion as opposed to just giving the reader the facts. Almost every personal testimony presents them as an innocent civilian, who has been unfairly targeted by the evil US government.
I don't think there was any story the author presented where the US government was presented in a positive light. This is what irked me the most, because I'm not naive enough to believe that there isn't a ton of nasty things that any government does when it comes to Special Ops, but I didn't get this book to listen to an author give his opinion on this stuff. Just give me the facts!
The only person I would recommend this book to, is anyone who is anti-war or who doesn't agree with how the US Government is handling the war on terror. This book would be very good for you, because it does present great information and your opinion will line up with what the author feels as well.
For anyone else, I would NOT recommend this book.There are lots of other books out there that present this same information is a much more factual presentation, and with a more interactive writing style. By the end, I could barely finish listening to this book as it was just becoming unbearable.
Answer: Kill them, unless you can torture them first. What was the question?
If you're looking for the country that ruthlessly eliminated indigenous peoples, tried to annex Canada in 1812, then annexed Texas from Mexico, then invaded Mexico, occupying Mexico City hoping to seize the continent by divine mandate, who invaded and conquered Hawaii, who then went after territories around the planet--you'll find she's alive and kicking, stomping and shooting.
This amply researched work reveals the dark side that so many pretend is not there or know is there but imagine there's nothing wrong with bellicose imperialism.
If this book won't provide a stroke of conscience, nothing will.
Dirty Wars is a very thorough retelling of the expanded global war on terror. It manages to weave together disparate actions into a larger, more visible whole which is no small feat.
However, Mr. Scahill's effort begins to wear on you a little towards the end. The overly repetitive theme of USA as bumbling agent of blind vengeance starts to feel like more of an antagonism as opposed to a legitimate analysis of events. This position also starts to make him look almost sympathetic to the terrorists - constantly pointing out JSOC and the WH's ineptitude while glossing over the actions of AQAP, Al Shabaab and others as just mere bullet points to be communicated.
All in all it's a good read and informative, but unnecessarily slanted which tends to sap credibility towards the end.
The book had so much potential, it really did. Instead, the writer's bias permeated the entire story with terse comments and flip digs. Clearly, the writer had an agenda.
Great premise for a book, lose the cheap shots and you'll gain more respect from your readers.
Listening to this book feels a bit like being in a military briefing. It is so jam packed with information and the reader delivers every piece with the same level importance. I found it tough to listen to for long periods of time.
This book makes me angry. I don't know that I've ever heard in this much detail the specifics of the US military actions around the world. It's disheartening to hear all of it... albeit important to be made aware of.
Jeremy Scahill is one of the few reporters in the world that I trust at this point.
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