Peace Kills: America's Fun New Imperialism
As the "Los Angeles Times has hailed, "When it comes to scouting the world for world-class absurdities, P.J.O'Rourke is the right man for the job." With his latest national best-seller, "Peace Kills, P.J. casts his ever-shrewd and mordant eye on America's latest adventures in warfare. Imperialism has never been more fun. To unravel the mysteries of war, O'Rourke first visits Kosovo to find out what happens when we try to have one without hurting anybody: "Wherever there's injustice, oppression, and suffering, America will show up six months later and bomb the country next to where it's happening." He travels to Israel at the ourbreak of the intifada. He flies to Egypt in the wake of the 9/11 terrorists' attacks and contemplates bygone lunacies. "Why are the people in the Middle East so crazy? Here, at the pyramids, was an answer from the earliest days of civilization: People have always been crazy." He covers the demonstrations and the denunciations of war. "French ideas, French beliefs, and French actions form a sort of lodestone for humanity. A moral compass needle needs a butt end. Wherever direction France is pointing--toward collaboration with Nazis, accommodation with communists, existentialism, Jerry Lewis, or a UN resolution veto--we can go the other way with a quiet conscience." Finally he arrives in Baghdad with the U.S. Army and, standing in one of Saddam's palaces, decides, "If a reason for invading Iraq was needed, felony interior decorating would have sufficed." "Peace Kills is P. J. O'Rourke as both incisive reporter and absurdist, relevant and irreverent, with a clear eye for everyone's confusion, including his own. O'Rourke understands that peace is sometimes one of themost troubling aspects of war.
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P.J. O'Rourke is a kind of guilty pleasure of mine - a conservative columnist. While I tend to disagree with him - a lot - he's funny and insightful and aware that most of the time, there are no easy answers to anything. While it may feel good to say, "Screw France, we do what we want," it's never quite as simple as all that.
This book is a collection of articles that he wrote from various combat zones, mostly centering around the Middle East. He writes from Israel and Egypt and, of course, Iraq. This is what he has seen of war and terrorism. He's a very good observer and, like the best of reporters, he is not afraid to ask that extra question that gets him a little closer to the Truth.
The question, however, is what the Truth is, and this book doesn't really help figure it out. While the essays are certainly interesting - especially the Iwo Jima epilogue - it's tough to figure out quite what he's trying to get at here. Maybe because he figures we're intelligent enough to figure it out.
Near as I can tell, it's this - war sucks, but it is necessary. And there are those out there who will ensure that it never ends. The best the rest of us can do is to hope for the best....
Review: Peace Kills: America's Fun New ImperialismUser Review - Douglas Wilson - Goodreads
Pretty good. Read full review
WHY AMERICANS HATE FOREIGN POLICY
KOSOVO November 1999
ISRAEL April 2001
EGYPT December 2001
WASHINGTON DC DEMONSTRATIONS April 2002
THOUGHTS ON THE EVE OF WAR
KUWAIT AND IRAQ March and April 2003
POSTSCRIPT IWO JIMA AND THE END OF MODERN WARFARE July 2003