The Society of Professional Journalists’ preamble begins with: “Members (of the SPJ) believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty.”
Jeremy Scahill is not only at the top of his field in journalistic thoroughness, honesty, and integrity, as well as courage, he is in a class all his own. In “Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield” he has chronicled the opening salvo of the twenty-first century. He lays out in incredibly researched and factual detail, what America has done to the world in our never-ending War on Terror. The reader cannot help but come away with the realization that America’s violating of the international laws we were instrumental in creating, our use of torture, our massive numbers of assassinations by JSOC death squads and drones, has created far, far more enemies than we have killed, or can ever hope to kill. Example: Scahill quotes a Special Ops source revealing that after their team had killed their way through a HVT (high value target) list of 30 to 50 that their next kill list was 3,000, and it extrapolated from there. Equally important is how he exactingly exposes the destruction of our nation’s laws—how in twelve short years we have dismantled our 250 year legacy of a legal structure that allowed for a civilized society and protected us as a people.
There is no polemic narrative; he lays out the dark and ugly facts with objective, but stark, clarity. Every American should read this book. And then every American—regardless of their political stripe—should ask themselves what kind of world we want to leave our children and grandchildren. Do we want to return to being a country based on the rule of law? Or do we continue to allow our leaders to pursue this path that has not only tarnished our country, but will ultimately be our own destruction. I read a lot, but this book goes on my short-list of the best of the decade. It provides the true underbelly of our recent history, and it will go down in history as one of the most important books of our time.