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The Age of the Warrior: Selected Essays by Robert Fisk Hardcover – July 29, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
He sums up this period as the age of the warrior, describing how Bush changed the US Army's official `Soldier's Creed' to "I am a warrior" whose sole mission is `to destroy the enemies of the United States of America'. An American veteran wrote that the new creed "allows no end to any conflict except total destruction of the `enemy'. It ... does not allow one ever to stop fighting (lending itself to the idea of `the long war'). It says nothing about following orders, it says nothing about obeying laws or showing restraint. It says nothing about dishonourable actions ..." Change the word American in the creed to Muslim and it could be bin Laden's creed.
The American veteran wrote that this new creed encouraged the committing of atrocities. For example, the CIA had videos of prisoners being waterboarded, recently admitting that it had destroyed them. Americans in authority believe, wrongly, that `Torture works', as one Special Forces major put it.
Fisk notes how politicians impose policies against our national interest and against all morality, and how they use power to terrorise us. But our consent is not unthinking or automatic; the thought is that `authority is trustworthy', despite the evidence. He noted that some of his fellow journalists refuse to see cruelty and use the notion of `balance' to avoid the truth. He also notes the growing efforts to censor criticism, whether of Israel or of Islam.Read more ›
The sum total of his death-defying forays into the Middle East is contained in his excellent Pity the Nation, which covers the Lebanese civil war, and The Great War for Civilization, a monumental, 1,300-plus page catalogue of man's inhumanity to man which, Fisk tells us, will eventually be followed by a second volume.
The Age of the Warrior departs from the blood-soaked pages of his previous books and offers more personal insights into Fisk the man. In it we find the ponderings, through a decade or so of editorials he wrote for the Independent, of a man who probably has seen more dead bodies than any reporter alive today. The 116 entries can be read as hiatuses, "a foreign correspondent's thoughts amid war, a corner of the journalist's brain that usually goes unrecorded," recorded here for our benefit.
Some entries, such as "The forgotten art of handwriting" or "The cat who ate missile wire for breakfast" -- a true story, by the way -- are light in tone, but underlying the whole volume is the same anger we have come to expect from Fisk in the face of injustice, double standards and Western complicity in the suffering that finds such fertile ground throughout the Middle East.Read more ›
I would give Fisk three stars on the basis of the intrinsic merits of his writing, but have added a fourth star due to its importance. The quality of Fisk's writing seems to have deteriorated over time, becoming more and more emotional, polemical and reliant on epithet, especially since the events of September 11, 2001 and the subsequent US attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq. While I can well understand his anger, I think a professional writer shouldn't need to be told how important it is for the quality of his writing to keep a cool head while working.
Fisk's reporting on issues such as the consequences of the use of depleted uranium in armaments deployed in wars in Iraq and the former Yugoslavia is undoubtedly very important. Given the extreme pro-Israeli, anti-Palestinian bias of the US media, it is also very important for people like Fisk to balance our picture of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some of Fisk's work from the 1990s is of particularly high quality. I was particularly impressed by a brilliant piece, dated 19 June, 1994, on the forces that tore apart Yugoslavia, and another, dated 12 October, 1995, on the suffering of women working as domestics in the Gulf States.
However, Fisk's increasing tendency to let his emotions take over sometimes leads to writing that I find downright unintelligent.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Robert Fisk together with Tariq Ali and the late Edward Said clarify the obscure political Machinations , that is collectively called " The Middle East".Published 7 months ago by Christopher Condon
Fisk is brilliant and frank about a wide range of subjects he covers in this book. It is a collection (more than 100 as I recall) of his editorial pieces from work at the... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Phillip Skaga
Robert Fisk has always been the voice or reason and practicality in the middle east. Tell it like it is. Great read.Published 21 months ago by John Temprile
An impressive collection of many of his Independent columns. Clear, unambiguous and ruthless in his dissection and analysis of many of the Middle East problems, past and present. Read morePublished on November 22, 2013 by Catwhisperer
A bad mix of provocative opinions and biased data. Even if there is some level of truth in this collection of brain barf, garbage mixed with honey is still garbage…It was waste of... Read morePublished on November 1, 2013 by yank65
Robert Fisk has many stories to tell about many places and times. He definitely has a perspective, and uses considerable grace to make his points, whether you agree or not. Read morePublished on May 31, 2013 by Digger Anderson
This is, surprisingly, not unlike his magnum opus, The Great War for Civilization, the attention to minitua makes it very difficult to get an overview but my admiration of Fisk is... Read morePublished on January 22, 2013 by Fred Clancey
This bood by Fisk is a little old, so it can be outdated, but it is a masterpiece still relevant today.Published on December 21, 2012 by moo
Mr Fisk relates a series of tales about the Middle Eastern world that we should pay attention to as we evaluate our actions and intentions viv a vis Iraq, Iran, Afganistan, Syria,... Read morePublished on September 3, 2009 by Charles G. Weaver