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The Maze of Fear: Security and Migration After 9/11 Paperback – September 30, 2004


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About the Author

John Tirman is a program director at the Social Science Research Council. He is the author of The Fallacy of Star Wars and Spoils of War, and has published articles in the New York Times, Washington Post, Esquire, Wall Street Journal, and International Herald Tribune. He lives in Washington, DC.

More About the Author

My focus on the "human element" of war goes back several years. Most of my books have engaged the causes and consequences of war for the innocent people caught up in conflict. This is a neglected topic in academic research and gets little attention in the news media. Somehow, the ordinary people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, and other venues of war don't seem to count for much. The topic is not only important politically and morally -- for how we shape war policies -- but is fascinating (often heart-rending) as stories. Millions of people have been killed in U.S. wars (and other wars, of course), many more millions have been made homeless, destitute, and damaged. Yet we seem as a society to care very little for these people. It's an enormous puzzle, really, why so many civilians suffer in war and why we do so little about that.

I recall one of the best war documentaries ever, "Hearts and Minds," which was about the Vietnam War. Near the end, a Vietnamese man was sobbing over the rubble of his home, which had been bombed by the U.S., asking why his village, which had no military value, was destroyed, and his family destroyed with it. "Tell Nixon she was only a little girl," he cried about his young daughter, "a little schoolgirl." You see this and you must wonder, How could this possibly happen?

So I have set out to explore how and why ordinary people are buffeted by war. Much of my work at MIT is focused on these kinds of questions. The "terrible swift sword" of war strikes all around, even the innocent, particularly the innocent. This -- and the hope to prevent it -- is my life's work.

For a fuller and more conventional bio, see http://www.johntirman.com/bio.html

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