Spiral: Trapped in the Forever War

Mark Danner. Simon & Schuster, $25 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4767-4776-7
This lucid but gloomy book provides a solid account of how the U.S. seems to be mired in a losing and intractable battle against global terrorism. Danner convincingly argues that perhaps the biggest catastrophe of the “war on terror” was branding it as a “war” rather than a state of emergency, or, as he calls it, a “state of exception.” This state of exception has utterly consumed American politics and foreign policy since Sept. 11, 2001, and appears to have no end. Danner shows how the willful decision to torture (or apply “enhanced interrogation” techniques to) suspected terrorists created a ripple effect of prolonging the war and inspiring more terrorists, while gathering little useful intelligence. President Bush and Vice-President Cheney may have begun the war and implemented the laws governing the state of exception, but President Obama and his administration have normalized it. Obama greatly increased the number of drone strikes, refused to prosecute admitted torturers, and still has not closed the Guantánamo Bay detention camp. Danner’s book is a clear-eyed and shrewd examination of how easily terrorists achieve their goals of inspiring fear and retaliation. His proposed solutions for ending the forever war show how difficult it will be for any politician to upend the exceptional period that has, unfortunately, become the new normal. Agent: Joy Harris, Joy Harris Literary Agency. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/04/2016
Release date: 06/14/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
MP3 CD - 978-1-5159-5799-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-5159-0799-2
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-1-4767-4777-4
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