Dirty WarsThis book, Dirty Wars, sat on my shelf for a few months before I decided to read it partly because it is almost two inches thick and a bit intimidating.  But since I will soon be hearing the author speak at the Chicago area’s North Shore Peace Initiative fund raiser, I thought it might be helpful to have read the book first.

I was blown away by the information in this book.  Really.  As Americans, we need to know and understand what is happening to our country.

Author Jeremy Scahill has given us a gift in summarizing the United States’s role in international terrorist hunting from just before 9/11 up until 2013. It isn’t pretty. He makes it clear that we in America have a huge problem on our hands in that our nation’s leaders have gone amuck in their attempts to “protect” our country from terrorists, and in doing so have created a world far more dangerous than it has ever been before, this time on a global scale. We have leaders and high-level decision-makers who are narrow thinkers, who don’t do adequate homework before making binding pronouncements, who don’t seem to understand the consequences of their decisions, and when they get in trouble, are all too willing to go very very far in covering up their part in the chaos that they have created.

Readers who actually believe the hype that American media puts out will be shocked at what really goes on. The CIA and JSOC compete for opportunities to capture, torture, and kill suspected terrorists, many of whom are innocent, just folks like you and me going about their business, who through no fault of their own find themselves in the cross-hairs of government-sponsored murderers. Never heard of JSOC? Neither had I until I read Scahill’s book. JSOC is the acronym for Joint Special Operations Command, and is the unit set up to Find-Fix-Finish meaning to track a target, fix his location, and finish him off. Begun in the early 1980s, JSOC has evolved into an elite force that operates in many countries with virtually no oversight, so secretive that its activities are unknown even to congress, but may be called upon by the president for special tasks.

Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld pushed our nation into illegal international activities, and Obama-Biden-Panetta not only continued these policies, but pushed them even further without understanding what they were doing in a long-term sense: creating a perpetual war with no end in sight.  Power corrupts, yes.  Egos cannot allow themselves to be dented.  Men with psychopathic tendencies rise to the top because they do not hesitate to step on those that get in their way.

How we as a nation bring ourselves back to honoring the rule of law and caring about the values that we believe we stand for won’t be easy, and it likely won’t be through elected leaders who say one thing, do another and then cover up actions with lies. If we are to become a beacon of hope for the world once again, as so many of us believe that we once were, we the people may have to find a way to do it ourselves.

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