Terrorism and Tyranny:
Trampling Freedom, Justice and Peace to Rid the World of Evil
by James Bovard
From Publishers Weekly
Journalist Bovard, who has written for the Wall Street Journal and the American Spectator, among others, looks at the post-September 11 policies and actions of the government and finds them sorely lacking. (He also has a lot to say about how the government let the terrorist attacks happen in the first place.) Instead of fighting the terrorist menace, he argues, the Bush administration’s cosmetic gestures reward incompetence and establish dangerous legal precedents. While dealing with civil rights issues (the Patriot Act “treats every citizen like a suspected terrorist”), the book casts a wider net, including the intertwining of the wars on drugs and terrorism and the continued bungling of flight security (additional guards at airports “did little more than take up space and consume oxygen”). Meticulously documented from contemporary news accounts, ... may well leave readers as angry as its author.
“The war on terrorism is the first political growth industry of the new Millennium.” So begins Jim Bovard’s newest and, in some ways, most provocative book as he casts yet another jaundiced eye on Washington and the motives behind protecting “the homeland” and prosecuting a wildly unpopular war with Iraq. For James Bovard, as always, it all comes down to a trampling of personal liberty and an end to privacy as we know it. From airport security follies that protect no one to increased surveillance of individuals and skyrocketing numbers of detainees, the war on terrorism is taking a toll on individual liberty and no one tells the whole grisly story better than Bovard.
2 The First American War on Terrorism
3 Blundering to 9/11
4 Patriot Railroad: Safety through Servility
5 Plunder and Proclaim Victory
6 Racking up the Numbers
7 Salvation through Surveillance
8 Groping to Safety
9 License for Tyranny
10 State Terrorism and Moral Clarity
11 The Drugs-Terrorism Charade
12 The Israeli Model for Fighting Terrorism
13 Iraq and the War on Terrorism
14 Bastardizing Freedom
15 A Few Steps to Protect America
From “Washington’s Watchdog Author” by Karen A. Decoster
Jim Bovard is, without a doubt, the best political researcher-writer in politics today. ... He doesn’t make wild judgments or blanket allegations; he provides an encyclopedia’s worth of timely quotes laid out in chronological fashion to funnel the reader through an extensive framework of US government double-dealing, coercion, corruption, and propaganda milling.
Perhaps the most unforeseen and brilliant facet of Bovard’s chronology is his application of the war on terror’s inauguration as being firmly planted in the Ronald Reagan camp. ...
From “An Important And Essential Book For Our Times” by Barron Laycock
On the dust jacket of his new book, author James Bovard quotes Attorney General John Ashcroft’s chilling words regarding the costs associated with the raging war against terrorism. Ashcroft claims, “Those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty...will only aid terrorists as they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America’s enemies and pause to America’s friends”. Such is the poisonous atmosphere created by the current administration and its utter disregard for the civil liberties and precious personal freedoms of average Americans. This ... is an extremely well written book that exhaustively details the manifest ways in which the Bush administration has misused and abused its power and privilege in what is obviously the most blatant grab for exclusive executive power in the last two hundred years.
Characterizing the war on terror as the single most aggressive growth industry of the new millennium, Bovard ... documents the specifics of the Bush’ administration’s war against its own people through the implementation of a wide range of anti-democratic measures to ensure its hold on power and to use the rationale of the war on terror to pursue a plethora of totally unrelated neo-conservative goals. ...
Much of the book centers on the specific ways in which the tyranny of the established order attempts to justify its own actions by portraying them as being taken in the public interest. ... The Bush administration constantly conjures up references to freedom and liberty, yet supports many governments that are both anti-democratic and authoritarian to their own citizens.