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Collateral Damage: America's War Against Iraqi Civilians Hardcover – June 3, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Nation Books; First Edition edition (June 3, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568583737
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568583730
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,364,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Pulitzer Prize–winner Hedges (War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning) collaborates with journalist Al-Arian in this slight polemic that investigates the suffering of Iraqi civilians at the hands of American troops. With the help of groups like Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace, the authors identify and interview 50 combat veterans—their methodology, however, is noticeably flawed: their sample is too small and their selection process is skewed toward critics of the war. Interviewees like Sgt. Camilo Majia, who was court-martialed for desertion and given a bad-conduct discharge, are allowed to relate not only eye-witness but also secondhand accounts. Broad allegations implying that most troops are complicit in murdering unarmed Iraqis or that it is standard practice to plant weapons on murdered civilians go unchallenged, while the authors point to a culture of terror and hatred among U.S. forces for whom abusing civilians has become a kind of perverted sport. However admirable the authors' aims, their selective and biased interpretation of events might disappoint readers looking for a more objective analysis. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"A brilliant, thoughtful, timely and unsettling book.... Abounds with Hedges' harrowing and terribly moving eyewitness accounts.... Powerful and informative."

More About the Author

Chris Hedges is a cultural critic and author who was a foreign correspondent for nearly two decades for The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor and National Public Radio. He reported from Latin American, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He was a member of the team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for The New York Times coverage of global terrorism, and he received the 2002 Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism. Hedges, who holds a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School, is the author of the bestsellers American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle and was a National Book Critics Circle finalist for his book War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. He is a Senior Fellow at The Nation Institute and writes an online column for the web site Truthdig. He has taught at Columbia University, New York University, Princeton University and the University of Toronto.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 35 people found the following review helpful By J. Smith on June 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book divided into 4 parts, (checkpoints, raids, convoys and detentions) gives you a daily life front row seat for what it's really like in Iraq. I kept lowering the book and saying to myself "We'll never be able to make it up to them. NEVER". (Soldiers and civilians). Can you imagine being innocent and no one understands what you're saying? Not able to stop the car at a check point because the brakes don't work? Having your dog shot in front of you? Having your friends killed because they couldn't avoid a convoy? This book gives you many accounts on what it's really like over there. I highly recommend it.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Mary F. Anderson on July 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book deals in the ugly civilian deaths in Iraq which resulted from our invasion. The authors, who are scholars, carefully document their work. They honestly present the viewpoint of the American soldier and the Iraqi citizen. It becomes clear in the course of their treatise that while civilian deaths may be inevitable (that alone should be a powerful deterrent to invading a country!), in Iraq bad military planning and preparation and a lack of concern for the civilian population we are supposed to be serving have made the situation much, much worse. I came away feeling some empathy with the troops, fury at the military leadership, and much sadness for the Iraqis.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Ken on June 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book really shows how true evil masks itself behind such high sounding words as `honor,' `glory,' `dignity', `patriotism', `for god and country', 'victory', and so on; words that may have inspired a young man or woman to join the military (although many others may do so for other reasons such as economic necessity) only for many of them to later find that they have been duped and diabolically deceived by those so called `responsible' politicians who had sent them over there along with those other cowardly politicians who only pretend that they want them to come back home.

It's only too late when these young soldiers realize that they are simply the tools of a greedy power elite who only seek profit from human butchery, slaughter and misery and these people could care less about the Iraqi people or for that matter, they could care less about the American soldiers who are used as sacrificial cannon fodder to serve some sick pathological agenda to `occupy' (read: conquer and rape) another culture. In fact, it's even beyond sick as to what goes on in Iraq. It's just plain evil.

By reading the personal testimonial accounts of those soldiers who have been deeply traumatized from their experiences in Iraq, this book really gives the reader a feel for the reality of the horrors of war. The accounts given by the soldiers regarding their experiences traveling in the moving convoys is simply horrific and it's clearly a living nightmarish hell for not only the unfortunate innocent Iraqi's who are butchered from these convoys but for the American soldiers themselves who actually think that they are fighting for some greater `cause.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful By W. Fargo on June 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The book focuses on the damage done to the Iraqi citizenry by the fighting in Iraq. The suffering of Iraqis is made plain. It has it's slow points but the book ultimately succeeds by effectively describing the horror of war and the plight of innocents who find themselves trapped in it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dienne TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 12, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If the title weren't already taken, this book should have been called "A Million Little Pieces" because our invasion of Iraq has shattered both Iraq and our soldiers who served there.

In this slim volume, Chris Hedges and Laila Al-Arian have written a devastating expose for all those who think there is or was anything honorable or benevolent about the Iraq War. We stumbled into a country we knew little about with soldiers, supplies and equipment ill prepared to cope with the reality they encountered. Thrown into this chaos, soldiers have had to improvise to survive. The resulting anger and sense of betrayal has led to frequent acts of hostility and atrocity as soldiers often lash out at the only people they can: Iraqi civilians.

Chris Hedges' introduction alone is worth the price of the book. He confronts the reality of war against the noble and heroic vision that Americans back home hold dear. He discusses the sense of betrayal soldiers experience when they realize the bill of goods they've been sold by their own country. He describes how the frustration of being put in impossible situation with little guidance or support from above leads to rage and hate that inevitably become directed against a dehumanized "other" - the Iraqi people, the very people that they are supposedly fighting to liberate.
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