Thursday, January 19, 2006

Pity the Region: a long review essay of Robert Fisk's new book, The Great War for Civilisation

:For months I felt as though I was married to the monster of a book by Fisk. It is nearly 1,100 pages, and with tiny page margins to boot, but it is serious work by a unique journalist with uncommon knowledge of the Middle East. The full review runs in the Nation, February 6, 2006.
visionaries Wanted: "Fisk's magnum opus is not just about America in the Middle East, but America has a starring role in The Great War for Civilisation and it is not a flattering one. She is America, righteous of voice but tone-deaf to history, jealous of power but so entwined with Israel that she sometimes reads the other character's lines as her own. Notwithstanding Fisk's penchant for denying the powerful the benefit of the doubt, there is more than enough truth in his depiction to show that George W. Bush's promises to the oppressed (notably in his January 2005 inaugural speech) are more rodomontade than factual, especially when the President claimed, 'All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: The United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.' It is impossible to read Fisk's book--replete as it is with evidence of US complicity with dictators, selective tolerance for political violence and erratic respect for human rights--and hear Bush's claims as other than crowd-pleasing boilerplate. "

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