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Publisher's Summary

In this groundbreaking book of new reportage, sure to stir a global debate, journalist Jeremy Scahill - author of the acclaimed international best seller Blackwater - takes us into the heart of the War on Terror’s most dangerous battlefields as he chases down the most important foreign-policy story of our time.
From Afghanistan and Pakistan to Yemen, Somalia, and beyond, Scahill speaks to the CIA agents, mercenaries, and elite Special Operations Forces operators who populate the dark side of American war-fighting. He goes deep into al Qaeda-held territory in Yemen and walks the streets of Mogadishu with CIA-backed warlords. We also meet the survivors of US night raids and drone strikes - including families of US citizens targeted for assassination by their own government - who reveal the human consequences of the dirty wars the United States struggles to keep hidden.
Written in a gripping, action-packed narrative nonfiction style, Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield reveals that, despite his pledge to bring accountability to US wars and to end Bush-era abuses, President Barack Obama has kept in place many of the most dangerous and secret programs that thrived under his predecessor. In stunning detail, Scahill exposes how Obama has escalated these secret US wars and has built up an elite secret US military unit that answers to no one but the president himself. Scahill reveals the existence of previously unreported secret prisons, kidnappings, assassinations, and cover-ups of covert operations gone terribly wrong.
In this remarkable story from the frontlines of the undeclared battlefields of the War on Terror, journalist Jeremy Scahill documents the new paradigm of American war: fought far from any declared battlefield, by units that do not officially exist, in thousands of operations a month that are never publicly acknowledged.
The devastating picture that emerges in Dirty Wars is of a secret US killing machine that has grown more powerful than whatever president happens to reside in the White House. Scahill argues that far from keeping the United States - and the world - safe from terrorism, these covert American wars ensure that the terror will grow and spread.
©2013 Jeremy Scahill (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

“Dirty Wars is the most thorough and authoritative history I’ve read yet of the causes and consequences of America’s post-9/11 conflation of war and national security. I know of no other journalist who could have written it: for over a decade, Scahill has visited the war zones, overt and covert; interviewed the soldiers, spooks, jihadists, and victims; and seen with his own eyes the fruits of America’s bipartisan war fever. He risked his life many times over to write this book, and the result is a masterpiece of insight, journalism, and true patriotism.”—Barry Eisler, New York Times bestselling author
“There is no journalist in America who has exposed the truth about US government militarism more bravely, more relentlessly, and more valuably than Jeremy Scahill. Dirty Wars is highly gripping and dramatic, and of unparalleled importance in understanding the destruction being sown in our name.”—Glenn Greenwald, New York Times bestselling author and Guardian columnist
“A surefire hit for fans of Blackwater and studded with intriguing, occasionally damning material.”—Kirkus Reviews
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Lanlady on 06-08-13

fantastic book -- and disturbing

THANK YOU JEREMY SCAHILL for bringing us Dirty Wars -- this is a book that had to be written, and in my view it should be read by everyone who is concerned about where our country is headed in its relations with the rest of the world. Succeeds brilliantly in describing how, and why, our most secretive, clandestine defense and national security assets (JSCO, drones) have evolved into the weapons of choice of our political and military leaders, and the shattering implications of this trend. Throughout Dirty Wars we follow the saga of US citizen Anwar Awlaki, targeted for "elimination" by the Oval Office without a shred of due process. Scahill very skillfully puts his story into its global context, but at the same time brings us back again and again to the heart-breakening, human story behind the so-called "signature strike" -- assassination by any other name -- that ultimately killed Awlaki, Samir Khan (another young American), and, soon thereafter, Awlaki's teenaged son and other family members.

Dirty Wars is not a hatchet job against Obama or Bush or any political group in particular. It's about how we as a nation have ceded basic constitutional rights and responsibilities in the name of fighting terrorism, even as, unwittingly, more terrorists and America-haters are created in consequence of our actions.

Scahill's book appears amid a flood of recent stories about NSA etc. harvesting all of our email and phone calls. But one question I haven't heard the media ask is: what the heck are they doing with all that information, what is its practical purpose? But having read Dirty Wars, the answer is pretty clear: they're using it to detect patterns of behavior and build out profiles and "signatures" for the list of kill targets that goes to the president's desk. All of this is going on extra-judicially, beyond any attempt at oversight, much less within legal structures. It is frightening.

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21 of 23 people found this review helpful


By James on 08-23-13

Compelling, informative, balanced

Would you listen to Dirty Wars again? Why?

I started out thinking this book would be a total bashing of the Bush administration but the author was balanced in his treatment of current and past administrations. <br/><br/>Additionally it gave me a much better understanding of how the Executive branch of the US government has managed to side step most of the review process put in place at the end of the Vietnam war to control covert operations. It was real eye opener to hear how little hard evidence is required before a drone strike can be order and how little concern within administration there is for collateral damage and deaths caused by the strikes.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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