- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster (May 3, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1501144138
- ISBN-13: 978-1501144134
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 50 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #424,410 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Assassination Complex: Inside the Government’s Secret Drone Warfare Program
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"A searing indictment of the U.S. drone program." (Lawrence D. Freedman Foreign Affairs)
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"A searing, facts-driven indictment of America’s drone wars and their implications for U.S. democracy and foreign policy. A must-read for concerned citizens." (Library Journal (starred review))
About the Author
Jeremy Scahill is one of the three founding editors of The Intercept. He is an investigative reporter, war correspondent, and author of the international bestselling books Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield and Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army. Scahill has served as the national security correspondent for The Nation and Democracy Now! and was twice awarded the prestigious George Polk Award. Scahill is a producer and writer of the award-winning film Dirty Wars, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award.
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The book is really well constructed. Its prologue is a view from above by Edward Snowden, who compares the treatment he received with the slap on the wrists to General Petraeus for basically the same thing, the first foretaste of the tsunami of hypocrisy to come. The first stories butter us up with the way civilians are targeted by agencies like TSA, and all the astounding kinds of data they collect on over a million people, most of whom are specifically not even suspected of belonging to terrorist organizations. Then we get into drone killing. In story after story, the methods, the operations and the effects on individuals, families and whole countries comes into stark relief.
Extrajudicial killing is a routine daily practice, with hundreds of civilians killed for every suspect targeted. This includes children, pregnant women, American hostages and whole families. Weddings have been particularly fruitful. American drones have deployed all over Africa and the Arab crescent, and now all kinds of other countries from France to China want to replicate the glorious freedom to kill at will with drones. Since the US has proven the way to get to pretty much anyone is to track them through their telephone SIM card, everyone on the planet is fair game, and there is absolutely no need to be sure of the target. One suspect’s mother was bombed to death because her son lent her his phone. Oh well, try again.
This is an updated collection of stories from The Intercept, an investigative journalism website that clings to ideals like press freedom against the monolith of the US government, which is totally against having to admit any of what it is doing. The book is also beautifully laid out, with dramatic red accents at the beginning and end of every story, and lots of photos and graphics integrated right where they are discussed. The stories are succinct, though they could have been edited to remove duplication.
The epilogue devotes itself to showing Barack Obama as a complete hypocrite, outdoing George W Bush in ignoring the constitution and human rights, using his own words, before (“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency”) and after being elected (“Courts have no role reviewing the president’s war on terror killings”). It is garden variety hypocrisy; once in power, they all revert to type, removing rights, invading privacy and limiting freedoms. In the “war on terror” suspects of any kind have no rights whatsoever. Everyone is a potential suspect, and you have no choice but to play.
Also exposes a grotesque expansion of military "mission" that is doomed to blow back on us.
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