The Book Shelf

Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn't Tell You

by Norman Solomon and Reese Erlich

Published 2003 byContext Books
368 Broadway, Suite 314, New York, NY 10013
ISBN 1-893956-39-3 CAN$16.50

By Sue Potvin

If you are seeking a read that lays the facts out in a clear and fair manner, this book is one that will answer your questions. It explores the realities of the arguments for and against an Iraq attack.

Political analyst and Institute for Public Accuracy founder Norman Solomon, and eminent foreign correspondent Reese Erlich, have joined forces to bring this "must read" to you at a crucial time in the world's history.

They start by exposing the tacit collusion between the Bush Administration and the news media, cutting through the spin and explaining how and why it happens. You will clearly see how the U.S. news media have helped market this unpopular war. This chapter alone will probably change the way in which some of you view the world news in future.

"No product requires more adroit marketing than one that squanders vast quantities of resources while slaughtering large numbers of people," Solomon writes about the "media war".

Is it about the oil? This factor is appraised in detail. Acknowledging an energy crunch, ways of alleviating this problem by reducing the dependency on oil are suggested. But oil is not the only force driving the U.S. hawks to war. Erlich goes into further detail on this and tells us what to watch for.

Analyses of such key documents as President Bush's prewar speech and the United Nations Security Council's pivotal resolution are presented. These analyses are made by several leading policy experts.

Only one month before the book's release, Norman Solomon travelled to Baghdad with actor/director Sean Penn. Despite press commentary to the contrary, Penn's sole purpose for the trip was, as he put it, to "find my own voice on matters of conscience."

Penn's subsequent open letter to President Bush is included in the book as an Afterword. In it he writes: "There can be no justification for the actions of al Qaeda. Ever. Nor acceptance of the criminal viciousness of the tyrant, Saddam Hussein. Yet, that bombing is answered by bombing, mutilation by mutilation, killing by killing, is a pattern that only a great country like ours can stop. However, principles cannot be recklessly or greedily abandoned in the guise of preserving them."

You will hear uncensored voices from Iraqi people, putting human faces into the picture -- like the graduate student who told them, "When we see the TV, we say the [American] people have everything. They've got great schools, great education, great lives. Why come and pick on people who are just starting in the world? I'm having a baby in April and I'm thinking, 'Is this baby ever going to come? What situation will it be in?'"

You will learn the facts about the use of depleted uranium armaments by the U.S. and the effects on the peoples both at home and abroad. You will learn that Bush and friends have torn up more international treaties and disregarded more U.N. conventions than the rest of the world has in 20 years. And you will learn how the U.S. made the destruction of the drinking water of people a tool of war.

This review only touches on the incredible information you will find in this book. You owe it to yourself to read it. You won't put it down.

Free For All: Defending Liberty in America Today

By Wendy Kaminer

Published 2002 byBeacon Press
25 Beacon Street, Boston, Mass. 02108-2892
ISBN 0-8070-4411-3 US$16

Lawyer, social critic and columnist Wendy Kaminer has been described as "a beacon shining through the smog," by writer James Gleick who adds she is eloquent, pugnacious, amusing and right. Her taste for liberty, her legal training, her wit and her innate contrarianism help her elude the usual political labels, leading to informed opinions on censorship, feminism, pop psychology, religion, criminal justice and a range of rights and liberties that are at issue today. In this book, she zeros in on the fate of civil liberties in today's America and investigates political freedom, as well as other perennial threats. She warns that blind faith in government "is nearly as dangerous as terrorism" and that "it's difficult for people to admit that their leaders are failing when failure is too terrifying to contemplate."

This is an excellent, insightful book, offering some original views -- well worth the read.