Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire / Chalmers Johnson -- NY: Henry Holt, 2004.
This is the first book in a three book series written by Chalmers Johnson. Blowback makes the point that much of what is described as irrational terror attacks are in fact what the CIA has termed "blowback," or the unpleasant consequences of US actions abroad. Much of the book describes the ill effects of US military bases in Okinawa. The second book, Sorrows of Empire, focuses on the massive (and growing) number of US military bases abroad. Over 700 are officially recognized by the Pentagon, but Johnson reminds us that there are many more covert bases. The third book, Nemesis, recapitulates many of the points made in the previous two volumes and emphasizes how the ascendent values of militarism may be imperceptibly transforming American government into a unconstrainable military bureucracy.