Ruses for War

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Review by David Gordon by David Gordon

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John Quigley’s book has a valuable main thesis and, I suggest, an even more valuable claim that underlies this thesis. The purpose of his book, Quigley tells us, is to explore “U.S. military actions abroad over the past half-century. We look in each instance at what the president and his aides said, and what reasons they gave. Then we examine the situation in light of what is known today to determine whether the administration was truthful.”

Quigley, an authority on international law, examines around thirty cases, beginning with the Korean War and ending with Iraq, where the United States has used force. In each instance, he shows, the administration’s account has been blatantly false. Often, e.g., it is claimed that we must intervene to protect American citizens at risk in a foreign crisis; but it turns out that almost all of these Americans have left the scene before our expeditionary forces arrive. In our farcical invasion of Grenada in 1983, the administration maintained that it needed to protect American medical students from warring factions of the leftist party in power. The students had not been harmed; the administration “could not a present a logical explanation why the Grenadan government might take hostages”; and when the “rescue” force arrived, it ignored the students.

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