Review: First Do No Harm–Humanitarian Intervention and the Destruction of Yugoslavia

5 Star, Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Humanitarian Assistance

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Superb Re-Discovery of Core Knowledge, Presents New Insights,

July 4, 2009

David N. Gibbs

At the age of 56, having been educated in the 1970’s when political science created “comparative studies” as a ruse for avoiding field world and foreign language mastery in favor of statistical comparisons from afar, I am now quite accustomed to seeing each generation rediscover core knowledge.

Even more distressing for one who loves books as artifacts of human wisdom, is to see each generation re-discover knowledge known to earlier generations, without citation. Scholarship seems to be on a wheel making little forward progress, at least in the humanities.

This is a fine book. It is exceptional for both its clear-eyed understanding of the combination of evil and banal ignorance that characterizes those in power, whether of one party or another. In the 1970’s, for the US Institute of Peace, I wrote that the greatest threat to peace was the cataclysmic separation of those with power from those with knowledge. This book manifests all of that brilliantly.

It is also exceptional in this era for being a clear-eyes appraisal of the evil of military intervention. This again is not new knowledge, but it is helpful to have this generation be reminded.

Great evil has been done “in our name,” for the basest of reasons. I pray that our rising generation of digital literati will not be as ignorant in power as those who now surround world leaders–sychophants, dilitants, and craven opportunists.

See also:
The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (The American Empire Project)
Deliver Us from Evil: Peacekeepers, Warlords and a World of Endless Conflict
Tragedy & Hope: A History of the World in Our Time
War is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic by America’s Most Decorated Soldier
Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World’s Last Dictators by 2025
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It
Grand Illusion: The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny
The Search for Security: A U.S. Grand Strategy for the Twenty-First Century

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