A review of Gore Vidal’s latest book
Following his bestselling Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, Gore Vidal returns with a collection of provocative and alarming essays in which he confronts head-on the unelected and unconstitutionally-appointed ‘junta’ of the Cheney-Bush administration. Vidal is sceptical about the supposed motivation for the War on Terror, and raises the issue of Corporate America’s long-standing interest in Eurasia’s mineral wealth. Was the toppling of the Taliban a reaction to the slaughter of 11 September, or was Osama bin Laden ‘chosen on aesthetic grounds to be the frightening logo for our long contemplated invasion and conquest of Afghanistan?’ After all, observes Vidal, with Iraq’s oil as the new prize Saddam Hussein swiftly replaced bin Laden as ‘the personification of evil’ in the Enemy-of-the-Month club.
In a centrepiece new essay on the events of 11 September, Vidal poses questions which will not go away. How much intelligence information did the US security services really have in advance of the tragedy? Was there complicity by elements of the Washington power-elite seeking a pretext for extensive military actions around the world? Whose interests are served by the new US doctrine of pre-emptive attack?
Vidal conjures up a nightmare vision of an America incited to vengeance by orchestrated media hype, its citizens reduced to spear-carrying, and the Cheney-Bush junta as the latest, most cynical strategists of American empire-building. Based on his extensive historical knowledge and research, he unveils a counter-history that traces the origins of the USA’s current imperial ambitions to the Truman Doctrine that gave birth to the National Security State.
Dreaming War, featuring 11 essays and an interview with the author, is essential reading for a deeper understanding of current events.
14 February 2003; 208pp; 21.5 x 13.5 cm; paperback; £9.95; ISBN: 1 902636 41 4