Return of the Recursive Reviews

This is a review of Nick Basciano’s review of Jeremy Scahill’s Dirty Wars. It’s here, if you want to read something depressing.

The piece begins with a paragraph designed to make the reader (one assumes other Brookings Institute alums, interns, etc.) move on to another piece, most likely reminiscing about the manliness of Ronald Reagan or some other old, dead, WASP, by placing the positive point at the end of the paragraph:

Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield by Jeremy Scahill—the activist-turned journalist previously known for his exposé of the military contractor formerly known as Blackwater—is a bad book. But it’s a bad book with a significantly redeeming feature.

“Activist-turned-journalist.” To Basciano’s credit, he didn’t just say activist, nor simply the favored term, “community organizer”, which apparently in the Brookings lexicon can mean “secret Muslim,” “socialist,” and “Hitler.” It’s a word that carries many meanings to people who dislike organized communities and prefer the predictability and stability of anarcho-capitalism along with the utopia it has brought upon us all including the ownership of homes, secure retirement funds of both private and national kinds, good credit, low unemployment rates, falling poverty, and a healthcare system that is second-to-none.

Next, Basciano points out for the reader (again, assuming one hasn’t already clicked over to check one’s portfolio) the folly of Mr. Scahill’s assertion that there is a “dark side” to the United States of America murdering US citizens without trial. Who, in Mr. Basciano’s acquaintance, hasn’t wished there were just fewer brown people in coffee shops? It can be a drain on one’s day, taking away from opportunities of attaining funding from the Ford Foundation, ExxonMobil, Bank of America, and the Feinsteins. Lefty-pinkoes like that.

Fewer also makes for simpler solutions. This is a think tank after all.

Most troubling, however, is how a man employed at a think tank could be so ignorant of the facts. First, he doesn’t make the slightest mention of the bizarre similarity between the unused OPERATION NORTHWOODS (a plan developed by the Pentagon in 1962 to wreak terrorist havoc on the United States and frame Cuba for it) and the various similar events that transpired leading to and following 9/11.

As most such people, many politicians included, fail to mention this (and by the way, that Barrett Brown did mention it and that many pieces the man wrote have been essentially “banned” by the Federal government from being discussed) he can almost be forgiven. After all, this news was printed only months before 9/11, and who can remember anything at all that happened before that fateful day?

What is unforgivable, however, is how he invokes the name of Anwar al-Awlaki repeatedly and in a similar manner failed to mention Mr. al-Awlaki status a CIA asset:

There are more such pieces as well. Apparently they are all IP-blocked over at Brookings. No doubt due to NetNanny or similar software run amok.

At this point, I myself was ready to switch to reading something else…anything. A LOLCAT pic would do:


…because Mr. Basciano, most of all, has made me sad by either being an ignorant member of a think tank, or a disingenuous liar. Either, in a country with so many ills including the violent backlash due to the deaths of innocent people whose minds we are allegedly trying to change (he calls it both important and over-stated. I confess to being confused as to how something can be both), is not a welcome omen to recovery nor of solutions that don’t simply involve killing and torturing our way out of.

To Mr. Basciano’s credit, he does manage to tie Awlaki to other CIA assets, such as the Christmas Day bomber. I think then perhaps it is not ignorance at work.

There is then a flurry of words that boil down to the typical empty rhetoric of the well-educated and despotic: “it’s just too complicated for you, mere mortal, to understand” as if that excuses false-flag attacks and assassinations that murder Americans.

He closes with a compliment about Scahill reminding us of the human cost of war and then discounts those costs entirely. One supposes because the main person in question is brown, poor, and dead and he is none of those.


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