If you want to know how we got to this point in history, this era of perpetual war, this is a must read book. I had my own views on this subject, but I had no idea that my instincts were right on the money. This book is an absolute mind blower for anyone who is war weary and fed up with U.S. involvement, in the quagmire of middle eastern politics and war. These aren’t the ravings of some conspiracy nut; this is a thoughtful and insightful tome, which pinpoints all of the key moments and key players involved in our present day predicament. Many of the names in the book are familiar to anyone over thirty, especially Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. There are also names that are still in recent memory, like Generals Mike Flynn, Stanley McChrystal and David Petraeus.
Scahill weaves a tale of sketchy and illegal tactics, duplicity and evading congressional oversight. We learn a new vocabulary, the vocabulary of Orwellian double speak, softening the harshness of torture, assassination and assorted war crimes. now we have high value targets, extraordinary renditions and that old standby collateral damage, which translates to, kill, torture and oops we got some civilians.
The rise of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC.) as Rumsfeld’s private army; and it’s incursion into what was once the private domain of the CIA, is quite chilling. Hiding behind the mantra of National security Rumsfeld has perpetrated some of the most deplorable abuses ever committed by a so called civilized nation. We have all heard the stories and seen the photos from Abu Ghraib,Bagram and Guantanamo and of course the higher ups never had anything to do with any wrong doing. Even though all of the evidence points to the leadership for initiating the horrendous methods used against prisoners; national security was used as a reason for hiding evidence from any congressional oversight and answerable only to Rumsfeld and the white house. In this way Rumsfeld was able to not only ignore international law but to misuse executive privilege. These policies were not restricted to the bush administration, but continued through eight years of the Obama administration. Dirty Wars, is a policy primer, instrumental in bringing about an understanding of our present day situation.