- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Pluto Press; 1st Edition edition (July 20, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0745320104
- ISBN-13: 978-0745320106
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.9 x 6.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 20 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #829,744 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Greatest Sedition is Silence: Four Years in America 1st Edition Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Pitt, coauthor of War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know, is an angry leftist. He is angry with the president and his administration for dismantling the Bill of Rights, distorting our national purpose and placing environmental policy, tax policy and our military power in the hands of corporate oil interests. He is angry with the media for ineptly reporting on important policy issues while endlessly chasing Gary Condit. He is angry at the Supreme Court for giving Bush the presidency. And he is angry with the American public because they "have not been minding the store." It is unfortunate that many of Pitt's speculations about the Bush administration are too far off-center and inflammatory for the majority of even those who oppose the president. His report of the death of democracy in America ("The American Experiment may well be finished") will strike many as premature; his statement that "[p]atriotic Americans fear to speak out against the government" is patently untrue, given the size of recent antiwar demonstrations. Repeatedly, such flights undercut Pitt's more salient complaints. And his impassioned suggestions to the left (e.g., "end tax giveaways to corporations and the rich") break no new ground.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Passionate, informed, important: William Rivers Pitt helps us see what s wrong with American politics today. This book is a call to arms for all progressive-minded Americans, and anyone who believes the US is charting a deadly course. -- Greg Palast, journalist and author of the best-seller, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy As William Rivers Pitt makes very clear in this important book, the great American experiment may well turn out to be a failure, and sooner even than the pessimists among us may have thought. And yet -- as Pitt points out -- we also have the choice, and power, to make this enterprise succeed. That will not happen on its own, through some grand historical reflex. We will win only if we follow in the all-American traditions of dissent, resistance and -- eventually -- self-government. This eloquent and brilliant book is written in that noblest of traditions. We therefore owe it to ourselves, and to the promise of democracy, to read this book with care, and see that many others read it, too. -- Mark Crispin Miller, Professor of Media Studies, New York University and author of The Bush Dyslexicon: Observations on a National Disorder and, with J.H. Hatfield, of Fortunate Son: George W. Bush and the Making of an American President Praise for William Rivers Pitt s previous book, War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn t Want You to Know: A brave and important book. -- The Observer Though it went to press before Tony Blair s dossier was unveiled, the force of this book s arguments is hardly diminished. -- The Guardian An explosive little book. -- Amazon.com
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�Capitalism ... has discovered a fatal cancer in its guts.� Deregulation allowed �asset-stripping� (theft), as at Enron. There is much evidence of Bush and Cheney doing the same. As Pitt writes, �the pirates have seized this ship of state, and have two of their own at the helm.�
The core of the book is a riveting account of the provenance of 9/11. From January 2001 to August, Bush held talks with the Taliban government in Afghanistan to get them to agree to Unocal�s proposed pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan. The Taliban rejected the deal. The Bush administration then threatened them with war, while watering down anti-terrorism measures. Before 9/11, Israel, Russia, Egypt, France and Germany had all specifically warned US security agencies of imminent terrorist attacks using hijacked airplanes against US landmarks. The Bush administration did not pass these warnings on to airport security agencies. When this was revealed, Bush responded that he did not order heightened airplane security because it would have cut industry profits!
Stanley Hilton, a former aide to Republican Senator Bob Dole, charges that Bush allowed 9/11 to happen on purpose, so that he could make political gains from the tragedy. Bush has consistently refused to allow a public inquiry into the events surrounding 9/11, and last November he signed an Executive Order sealing all presidential documentation. After 9/11, US forces replaced the Taliban with a government friendly to the USA and its oil interests: Afghanistan is now, nominally, run by Unocal�s man on the spot.
Saudi Arabia is the USA�s key ally in the Middle East, supplier of most of the USA�s oil and of 80% of Al Qa�ida�s recruits, and chief funder and sponsor of Al Qa�ida. Yet Cuba is part of Bush�s �Axis of Evil�, and Saudi Arabia is not! The CIA did not investigate the roots of Al Qa�ida terrorism in Saudi Arabia because this could have harmed US oil companies� interests. As John O�Neill, Deputy Director of the FBI before he resigned in protest, said, � The main obstacles to investigating Islamic terrorism were US oil corporate interests, and the role played by Saudi Arabia in it.� (Incidentally, George Bush Senior is on the advisory board of the Carlyle Group, a huge multinational heavily involved in the oil business.) Pitt writes, �a blind spot developed in our anti-terrorism preparations out of deference to these business interests.� The USA has now withdrawn its troops from the very country where it should be focusing its war on terror.
On 16 May 2002, the Boston Globe revealed that the CIA had warned Bush months before 9/11 that Al Qa�ida planned to hijack planes. Four days later, on 20 May, the government issued warnings of more terrorist threats: Donald Rumsfeld, for example, said that terrorists would definitely use nuclear or biological weapons in the USA. The next day, 21 May, the Toronto Globe and Mail reported, �the White House acknowledged that the threats are not urgent and that they are partly motivated by political objectives. ... the blunt warnings issued yesterday and Sunday do not reflect a dramatic increase in threatening information but rather a desire to fend off criticism from the Democrats.� In Britain, we too have been lied to about fictitious threats to our national security. How could anything be more irresponsible than to play politics with national security and people�s fears?
Not really. Opponents of dissenting voices have long used the term "sedition" to criticize those who disagree with the party in power. The McCarthy Era being the time that springs to mind. Those who disagreed with Senator Joe McCarthy were called seditious and "un-American." Congress even set up a committee to investigate these un-Americans. Pitt is being ironic by pointing out that it is actually contrary to what our nation was founded on to allow a group (in this case the Bush administration) to damage our nation. Since America was founded by those courageous enough to stand up to a tyrannical King George, it is actually "un-American" not to stand up to this one and block his efforts to further erode the Bill of Rights, distort our national purpose and place environmental policy, tax policy and our military power in the hands of corporate oil interests (as it says in the Publishers Weekly review above). To remain silent in such a situation is more sedition than speaking out which is actually in keeping with the idea that gave birth to this nation. Clear enough?
Essentially, Pitt explains in very certain terms how the Bush administration has recast 9/11 into an event that frames, and limits, the range of policy debate now. Additionally he details how several Bush initiatives are fundamentally repugnant to our Constitution and how the media all too willingly assists in the selling of the administration's message.
He concludes with an well thought out, if ever so slightly "ranty", section on how those who love the ideals of this country - those who no longer wish to see them betrayed - can begin to reclaim the institutions that are rightfully ours.
Overall, a nice rehashing of the issues that plauge many of us coupled with insight material and commentary on the post 9/11 failings of the administration. Easy to read in an afternoon.
In a world where hero's are far and in between, just having the guts to write the factual truth should be enough, but if anyone can step up to the plate and prove Pitts is wrong, well, I'd like to see it. Thanks Mr. Pitt for giving me the truth when no other media had the nerve or cared to.