Review (Guest): Pay Any Price – Greed, Power, and Endless War

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James Risen

5.0 out of 5 stars Better Than His Last One – Imagine What He’ll Write From Prison, October 14, 2014

By David Swanson

When New York Times report James Risen published his previous book, State of War, the Times ended its delay of over a year and published his article on warrantless spying rather than be scooped by the book. The Times claimed it hadn’t wanted to influence the 2004 presidential election by informing the public of what the President was doing. But this week a Times editor said on 60 Minutes that the White House had warned him that a terrorist attack on the United States would be blamed on the Times if one followed publication — so it may be that the Times’ claim of contempt for democracy was a cover story for fear and patriotism. The Times never did report various other important stories in Risen’s book.

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Oct 21

Review: Shadow Government — Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World

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Tom Engelbardt

5.0 out of 5 stars Responsible and Compelling — Avoids Some of the Darkest Facts, October 16, 2014

A more timely relevant book for US citizens could not be imagined, at least by me. By the sheerest coincidence, I have also recently read two books that in my view form a tri-fecta of perspective that could help launch an abolishment of the present government of the USA, a two-party tyranny in service to the legalized crime families of Wall Street.

Micah Sifry: The Big Disconnect: Why The Internet Hasn’t Transformed Politics (Yet)
Darrell West: Billionaires: Reflections on the Upper Crust

I won’t repeat my summary reviews of those two books, here I will only say that while Tom Engelhardt is ably laying out the criminal insanity of what we have now in the way of a secret government that has become a “lockdown state” toxic to all forms of life everywhere, Micah has documented why the progressive and activist civil movements are dead in the water without a clue, and Darrell has documented how there are at least 25 billionaires out there who want to get it right but have no one to work with.

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Oct 16

Review: Endgame: The Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror

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Paul Vallely and Thomas McInerney

1.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Guide to Morons in Power, June 19, 2013

This is the single best book for understanding what morons in power think when they pretend to think but are actually pursuing ideological and financial objectives far removed from the public interest.

The authors, who demonstrate how far one could get in the Cold War military without reading or thinking, call this a military assessment. It is not. It is a one-track discourse on why we need to use our heavy metal military to wipe out Syria and Iran and intimidate Libya and Pakistan. It avoids discussing Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Central Asia, Muslim Africa, and Muslim Pacifica. This is not analysis, this is flim-flam.

By way of context in my specific criticism of this book, let me just note that the bibliography does not reflect any appreciation for strategy, e.g. Colin Gray’s “Modern Strategy”, or Col Dr. Max Manwaring and Ambassadors Corr and Dorff’s “The Search for Security”, or Willard Matthias “America’s Strategic Blunders” or Adda Bozeman’s “Strategic Intelligence & Statecraft” or Jonathan Schell’s “Unconquerable World.” I looked in vain for any sign the authors might comprehend the strategic context in which their specific beliefs and recommendations can only be seen as ill-advised. For example, a reference to Shultz, Godson, and Quester (at least one of whom is a neo-conservative), “Security Studies for the 21st Century”, or Robert McNamara and James Blight “Wilson’s Ghost”, or Dean Jeffrey Garten’s “The Politics of Fortune”, or Republican and conservative Clyde Prestowitz’s “Rogue Nation”, or Ambassador Mark Palmer’s “Breaking the Real Axis of Evil”. No cognizance of Kissinger, even.

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Jun 19

Review: The Telescreen – An Empirical and Philosophical Study of the Destruction of Consciousness in America

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Jeffrey Grupp

5.0 out of 5 stars You need a brain to read this book; if you have one, the book will scare you,February 17, 2012

I have been keeping in touch with “alternative” sources for some time, ever since I realized in about 1988 that neither the US secret intelligence world nor the US media were at all reliable — they are each very good at what they choose to do, but that does not include the public interest.

The author refers very often to his 2007 book, Corporatism: The Secret Government of the New World Order, to the point that I do recommend that be bought and read before this book.

I am hugely impressed by this author. He does detailed, meticulously documented research and the presentation is excellent. I especially like footnotes I can see while reading the body instead of endnotes.

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Feb 17

Review: We Meant Well – How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People

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Peter Van Buren

5.0 out of 5 stars 5.0 out of 5 stars Six Stars & Beyond–Open Heart Surgury on a Corrupt Ignorant Government,September 29, 2011

FINAL REVIEW

The author himself begins the book with a reference to Dispatches (Everyman’s Library Classics & Contemporary Classics) followed by Catch-22: 50th Anniversary Edition, to which I would add A Rumor of War. This is a great book, an important book, and I salute the Department of State people with integrity that approved it for publication, while scorning the seventh floor craven autocrats that have bullied the author for telling the truth. This book is the real deal, and I have multiple notes along the lines of gifted writing, humble *and* erudite, quiet humor, ample factual detail, gonzo-gifted prose, an eye for compelling detail, *absorbing,* a catalog of absurdities and how not to occupy a country.

Late in my notes I write “Reality so rich it stuns. A time capsule, priceless deep insights into occupation at its worst.”

And also write down an alternative subtitle: “The Zen of Government Idiocy Squared.”

This is a book, from a single vantage point, of the specifics of “pervasive waste and inefficiency, mistaken judments, flawed policies, and structural weakness.” Speaking of the Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT), the author says “We were the ones who famously helped past together feathers year after year, hoping for a duck.”

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Sep 30

Review: In My Time – A Personal and Political Memoir

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Dick Cheney

3.0 out of 5 stars Here’s the Documented View of Others, and Then Some,August 30, 2011

At three stars–everyone deserves to tell their side of the story, I am pleased to note that this is the ONLY review that is in the middle, all others being on the extreme of blind hate or blind faith.

These ten books serve as my alternative reading list on Dick Cheney and his regime–I believe that George Junior had the best of intentions and was played like a fiddle by Cheney, while also undermined by his own family and the two-party mafia.

Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency
My review extracts from the book and itemizes over 20 impeachable offenses, many involving the deliberate degradation of Colin Powell, all of which merit retrospective indictment, investigation, and public confession of the truth.

The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America’s Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11
My review extracts core insights by this author on how Dick Cheney was able to make millions of smart people do stupid things.

The Bush Tragedy
I am among those who feel Bush Junior was well-intentioned and played like a fiddle by Dick Cheney, who overturned Presidential decisions without a qualm. He is a Walker and a misfit in relation to the Bush Crime Family, Dick Cheney was closer to the Bushes than their own black sheep son, and he knew it.

9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in USA, Fourth Edition
Three months prior to 9/11, Dick Cheney scheduled a national counter-terrorism exercise for “the day” and put the command center on the piers of New York City instead of using the existing Command Center in the World Trade Center. Nine nations warned us of 9/11 in advance; the FBI blew off two walk-ins, one in Newark, one in Orlando, and CIA conspired to not share key information with the FBI. In all of this, one man alone, orchestrated the mix of institutionalized ineptitude and high crimes and misdemeanors: Dick Cheney.

A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the Abuse of America’s Intelligence Agencies
Dick Cheney made the most of 9/11–he certainly Let It Happen (LIH), but he needed 935 lies to fully exploit it for his own ideological ends–CIA, less George Tenet, got it right with the defecting son in law and line crossers. Tenet betrayed what little CIA has left in the way of integrity the way Cheney betrayed the Republic.

Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History
It started with Senator Phil Graham (R-TX) and came to its fullest depth of depravity under Clinton, but for Dick Cheney, this was the lesser criminal conspiracy–he did much more with military power to dishonor and deprive the Republic of blood, treasure, and spirit.

The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict
My review extracts key facts for public consideration.

Grand Theft Pentagon :Tales of Corruption and Profiteering in the War on Terror
My review summarizes the manner in which the Bush Crime Family in particular, Cheney as their hit man, has used the Pentagon to steal trillions from the public treasury.

The Mafia, CIA and George Bush
One of the better books underlying an entire literature on deep secrecy, off budget gold-based funding, and other impeachable offenses.

Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude
My fellow case officer tells one of the best stories around. Personally I would like to see the Saudis avoid what has happened in Egypt and is about to happen in Syria, but unless they listen, they are next. We have been enablers as well as abject subjects.

As the #1 Amazon reviewer for non-fiction, I would enjoy reading this book and picking it apart as Colin Powell has, but this is one book I will never buy for the reasons outlined above. It is quite enough for me to have Larry Wilkerson, Colin Powell, and Condolezza Rice, among others, call into question the veracity of much of this book.

I offer as a gift to the public my book review lists, all of reviews I have written, all findable online by searching for the exact titles. The first two are summary of all the positive and negative books I have reviewed in the past eleven years on Amazon. Below those two links are some of the applicable negative sub-lists (also within the negative list).

I hope Dick Cheney lives long and prospers–I mean him no ill will and no retrospective punishment, but before he dies, I would like to see him indicted and forced to appear before a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and to be subject to sustained interrogation by a real professional (no torture) to get all the facts on the table. As Bob Seelert, Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide has said so beautifully, “When things are not going well, until you get the truth out on the table, no matter how ugly, you are not in a position to deal with it.”

Relevant lists, search for exact titles on any search engine (all reviews lead back to their Amazon page):

Worth a Look: Book Review Lists (Positive)

Worth a Look: Book Review Lists (Negative)

Within the above negative list, see especially:

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Corruption

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Dereliction of Duty (Defense)

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Disinformation, Other Information Pathologies, & Repression

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Empire as Cancer Including Betrayal & Deceit

Worth a Look: Impeachable Offenses, Modern & Historic

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Bankruptcy of US Economy, Federal Reserve Malfeasance

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Class War (Global)

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Corporate & Transnational Crime

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Corporate Lack of Integrity or Intelligence or Both

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Religion

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on the War on Science

Ex-Bush Official Col. Lawrence Wilkerson: “I am Willing to Testify” If Dick Cheney is Put on Trial

It is what it is, they are what they are, what we make of all that is up to us. Read and think for liberty and justice for all…including Dick Cheney.

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Aug 30

Review: Violent Politics — A History of Insurgency, Terrorism, and Guerrilla War, from the American Revolution to Iraq

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William R. Polk

5.0 out of 5 stars Chuck Spinney Raves About This Book…., June 12, 2011
By Robert D. Steele (Oakton, VA United States) – See all my reviews

Chuck Spinney, along with Pierre Sprey and Winslow Wheeler and a few others, one of the top twelve brains with integrity on US defense fraud, waste, and abuse, raves about this book, calling it “one of the very best books of the subject of guerrilla warfare and insurrection that I have ever read.” For myself, this would normally be a four, but since Chuck is one of my intellectual way points, I won’t argue and go with five. I can see what Chuck likes so much about the conclusion–it is a summary of the “true cost” of a government that lacks both intelligence and integrity, and strives to perpetuate global war as a matter of momentum. The author does an excellent job of including in the “total cost” the mental and physical disability toll, the social toll, the foreign “collateral damage” toll, and of course the financial toll including all the borrowing that has been done “in our name” but not in our interest.

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Jun 12