War Made Invisible
How America Hides the Human Toll of Its Military Machine
by Norman Solomon
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Pub Date 13 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 13 Jun 2023
From the acclaimed veteran political analyst, a searing new exposé of how the American military, with the help of the media, conceals its perpetual war
“No one is better at exposing the dynamics of media and politics that keep starting and continuing wars. War Made Invisible will provide the fresh and profound clarity that our country desperately needs.” —Daniel Ellsberg
More than twenty years ago, 9/11 and the war in Afghanistan set into motion a hugely consequential shift in America’s foreign policy: a perpetual state of war that is almost entirely invisible to the American public. War Made Invisible, by the journalist and political analyst Norman Solomon, exposes how this happened, and what its consequences are, from military and civilian casualties to drained resources at home.
From Iraq through Afghanistan and Syria and on to little-known deployments in a range of countries around the globe, the United States has been at perpetual war for at least the past two decades. Yet many of these forays remain off the radar of average Americans. Compliant journalists add to the smokescreen by providing narrow coverage of military engagements and by repeating the military’s talking points. Meanwhile, the increased use of high technology, air power, and remote drones has put distance between soldiers and the civilians who die. Back at home, Solomon argues, the cloak of invisibility masks massive Pentagon budgets that receive bipartisan approval even as policy makers struggle to fund the domestic agenda.
Necessary, timely, and unflinching, War Made Invisible is an eloquent moral call for counting the true costs of war.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 7 members
Books on America’s failures in the Middle East tend to focus on either strategic/tactical blunders or the toll on American lives and American morale. One such example (though still an excellent book) is Fiasco by Thomas E. Ricks. I would position this book as a good counterpart to Fiasco, as it doesn’t provide as in-depth context for the events it discusses as I personally would have liked. I would definitely recommend this book to people who liked Fiasco.
For me, this book was at its strongest when discussing specific examples of civilian mistreatment. A passage that stuck with me was the author’s interaction with Guljumma and Wakil Tawos Khan, a pair of Afghan refugees and victims of bombing by the US. Reading about the stark reality of their struggle and the lack of help from any channel gave faces to the myriad of statistics cited in this book. I wish there were more firsthand accounts from refugees included in this book. Though this book, at its core, is about the systematic media coverup of civilian suffering in the Middle East at the hands of the American military, parts of this book still feel very America-centric without the voices of its victims included in the discussion.
Nevertheless, this book raised a lot of important points. My favorite chapter discussed the roles of racism and imperialism in America’s continued military involvement in countries around the world. It raised the important question, “What would an America without endless wars even look like? How much would have to change?” The answer is, of course, a lot, and I hope someone, be it the author of this book or someone else, takes that question and examines it further.
War Made Invisible: How America Hides the Human Toll of Its Military Machine By Norman Solomon
This book certainly has a bias. But it leans in a direction I am glad to read as there is too much jingoistic media out there about war by America is good and war by other is evil. As Mr. Solomon points out multiple times even the New York Times more often than not does not inform it readers of the loss of life of the other side. An example is the “Shock & Awe” in Bagdad but not the terrible loss of life and well-being of the people.
It does not hurt to re-emphasize the hand in glove relationship between the major US military industrial companies and the US Government funding everything the military could possibly want.
This book is not balanced but I do not find this a fault, there is too much out there in the main stream fearful of presenting a balanced point of view that might be considered Un-American.
I do recommend this book.