Dirty Wars by Jeremy Scahill
This audio book is TWENTY-FOUR HOURS LONG. Yeah. I mean, I think one of the Song of Ice and Fire audio books is like 48 hours, but following a non-fiction book for 24 hours is a challenge for me. Mr. Scahill does a great job of creating a narrative story in the 680 pages of the book, but there are names of people and places that are unfamiliar, which increased the challenge of keeping up.
I bought this because I had an audible subscription with some extra credits, and the book received great reviews among the political folks I know. Plus, Mr. Scahill wrote Blackwater, which I reviewed last year. He is a journalist who is interested in the war on terror and all the ways it has affected (or perhaps revealed) U.S. military values. Coming on the heels of the release of the torture report at the end of 2014, I can’t help but continue to question nearly everything we are told about this war, the need for it, and how ethically the U.S. military and CIA are acting.
Can we justify assassinating U.S. citizens, killing them without a trial? Can we justify drone strikes that definitely kill innocent civilians because it (might) kill a person who wishes harm to the U.S.? Can we justify the fear that people living in countries like Yemen have as they hear the hum of drones over their heads? And even if we can find a way to justify these actions, should we? What does it say about us that we elect leaders who implement or continue such policies? What does it say about our military leaders that they are willing to take these actions, or about our judicial system if it allows it?
I don’t have the answers. I know that much of what I heard was disturbing. I know that while President Obama has done some great things for this country, his record in this area is deeply, deeply troubling. I also know that there are some people who are acting in despicable ways and yet are utterly convinced that they are saviors on earth, a sort of second coming sent to save the U.S. That should worry us all.