Great War for Civilization the Conquest of the Middle East Book Report

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Great War for Civilisation

Fisk begins chapter 14 Anything to Wipe Out a Devil… with an account of the French invasion of Algeria in 1830 and it's subsequent ramifications. The author went to great lengths to parallel the French invasion of Algeria to the British and American invasions of Iraq. Both the British invasion of Iraq during WWI and the American invasion in 2003 was done under the guise of liberation, the same as the French; but all three encountered the problem of not being welcomed as liberators. Fisk then began to describe a man named Mohammed Bouyali, who fought against the French and then fought against the Algerian government that replaced the French. His story was a microcosm of the story of Algeria: Bouyali helped expel the French only to be disillusioned by the native Algerian secular government which replaced the French. He went on to form a group which actively fought the Algerian government, but was eventually killed. (522-526) Fisk then detailed the secular Algerian government's attempts to keep control against the many different Islamist inspired groups which periodically arose to cause trouble. Fisk concluded the chapter with the story of an Algerian Special Forces officer who wrote a tell all book which Fisk described as "There could be no more damning evidence against the regime." (584) While this book described several atrocities in detail, the governments of Britain, France, and the U.S. didn't do anything.

Planet Damnation Fisk's next chapter described the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, and the American response to it. He asserted that the U.S. And it's allies were defending Saudi Arabia only because of the oil, and then went on to detail the years of military, economic, and political support, not only the West, but also other Muslims gave Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran. Fisk is critical of the way reporters were restricted from reporting anything other than the official American line of propaganda. He didn't want to be under military control as part of the journalist's pools, which he referred to as "censorship." (618) But he also understood the gravity of the actions of the Iraqis in Kuwait and wrote of walking down a street in Kuwait City "to understand the extent of what the Iraqis did, that it really did amount to a crime." (632) Fisk is critical of the Americans and their allies, especially the Saudis, but he does not make excuses for the actions of Saddam Hussein. He only details the hypocrisy and irony of fighting against an evil tyrant who used to be a friend and a receiver of support from those now fighting him. Fisk ended the chapter with a sobering description of the "highway of death," a miles long trail of wrecked vehicles and rotting corpses, the remnants of the Iraqi Army who tried to flee from Kuwait. (644)

The sixteenth chapter of Fisk's book is entitled "Betrayal," and accurately described the aftermath of Operation Desert Storm; the uprising against Saddam Hussein by Kurdish forces in northern Iraq, the Shia in the south, as well as the Kuwaiti reign of terror. In Kuwait, private militias roamed the streets dispensing "justice" to anyone who had collaborated with the Iraqis, including any Palestinian. As the Palestinians had supported Saddam Hussein and his invasion of Kuwait, there were many in Kuwait who retaliated against any Palestinian they happened to find. (650) In Iraq, Saddam Hussein faced a simultaneous uprising with Kurdish forces rebelling in the north, and Shia in the south. Saddam Hussein crushed these uprisings with ruthless efficiency, and even though they had been inspired by the words of American President George H. Bush, the United States stood by and did nothing as these rebels were slaughtered by Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard. Eventually the Americans were forced to create two no-fly zones, one in the north to protect the Kurds, and one in the south to protect the Shia. While the Americans and their allies were enforcing no-fly zones, Saddam Hussein's forces were enforcing his tyranny over the rest of the country.

The next chapter discussed the American-led regime of sanctions against Iraq in the 1990's. Fisk began The Land of Graves by discussing the casualties from the war to liberate Kuwait and the mass graves of Iraqi soldiers killed by the Americans. He made references to the Geneva Convention's rules concerning the treatment of the dead and claimed that the Allied forces "…ignored every one of these basic rules." (692) He then went into the Kuwaiti effort to rebuild their county and the retribution they leveled against the Palestinians who had supported Iraq. The United States then refused to lift the sanctions against Iraq until Saddam Hussein was removed, and for the next several years imposed crippling sanctions which only effected the common Iraqi and not Saddam Hussein, as it was supposed to. The chapter ended with the Iraq situation after President Bush left office, and the Iraqi attempt to assassinate the former President. Several of the assassins received the death penalty in Kuwait, but Fisk felt that & #8230;there was a host of reasons why Kuwaiti and foreign lawyers should have doubted the fairness of this particular trial." (715)

Chapter 18, The Plague began in October of 1994 and described Saddam Hussein's attempts to lift the sanctions, as well as the futility of the "no-fly zones," in light of the Turkish air attacks on the Kurds in northern Iraq and the Allies non-response. President Bill Clinton, with his lapdog British Prime Minister Tony Blair, would periodically launch air attacks against Saddam, but they were more initiated to deflect attention from domestic problems that to force Saddam Hussein from power. Most specifically when Clinton faced impeachment over the Monica Lewinsky scandal. (722) Saddam remained in power while the Iraqi people suffered the effects of sanctions and attacks. Fisk then explored the widespread problems cancer among the Iraqi people, particularly children, and the lack of medicines due to the sanctions. (727) He then concluded the chapter by blaming the Americans and their allies for the massive suffering of the Iraqi people through the use of Depleted Uranium ordinance during the invasion. His attempts to shed public light on this subject was thwarted by both the U.S. And British governments. (734)

The next chapter, Now thrive the Armourers… is a look into the history of arms sales and development in the Middle East. The development of the Israelis armament industry, as well as the import of outside arms to others in the Middle East was discussed by Fisk. The author concluded the chapter with the results of his investigation of the origins of a missile filed by an Israeli pilot into a Lebanese Ambulance on "13 April 1996, killing two women and four children." (773) The investigation demonstrated that the missile fired by the Israeli pilot was illegally obtained through NATO. (783) Fisk demonstrated that the U.S. And it's allies supplied Israel with top-of-the-line, high-tech weaponry.

Even to Kings, He Comes…, the title of chapter 20, is a description of the history of the U.S., and the West in general, relationship with the nation of Syria and the Kingdom of Jordan. Using the funerals of longtime rulers of these two countries, Fisk delved into the history of the establishment of both countries and, because Jordan was more complacent to the West than Syria, Jordan's King received better treatment at his funeral than Syria's. Fisk proposed the idea that King Hussein was naive in his beliefs in peace with Israel and his expectation of treatment by the West. (807)

The events of September 11, 2001 were next explored in chapter 21 Why?, the author's personal actions covering the story, as well as his interpretation of the American reaction. He dismissed the idea that American support of Israel was responsible, stating in an article "No, Israel was not to blame- but the malign influence of history and our share in its burden…" were to blame. (836) The author placed the responsibility for the attacks of 9/11 on American actions in the Middle East. He also claimed that the invasion of Afghanistan was unjustified and the Afghan people were the real victims. Later he went on to accuse the Saudis stating that "Saudi Arabia's role in the September 11th, 2001 attacks has still not been fully explored." (847) Fisk then went on to state his case why the American military presence in Saudi Arabia was the impetus for the more conservative Islamist in Saudi Arabia to begin a religious movement which culminated in the acts of September 11th, 2001.

President George W. Bush's response to the attacks of 9/11 is discussed at the beginning of the 22nd chapter The Die Is Cast. Fisk then stated his argument for why he believed the President used the events of 9/11 to not only attack Afghanistan, but also for his invasion of Iraq. A detailed presentation was made of the Bush Administration's arguments for the invasion of Iraq, along with…[continue]

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