[Note for TomDispatch Readers: Here’s what Howard Zinn says about the newest TomDispatch book (hot off the presses), The World According to TomDispatch: America in the New Age of Empire: “TomDispatch is one of the wonders of the electronic age. A touch of the finger and you get the juiciest, meatiest information and analysis, so rich a feast of intelligence and insight I often felt short of breath. Now, Tom Engelhardt has assembled some of the best of his dispatches, from some of the boldest and most astute commentators in the country. So take a deep breath and read.” Naomi Klein adds: “These are the traits of a TomDispatch essay: unapologetically intellectual, relentlessly original, a little bit dangerous. For many of us, these are the key pieces of analysis that made sense of our post-9/11 world. How odd that many of them have never actually been printed. Until now.” (For more comments on the book from Andrew Bacevich, Amy and David Goodman, and Susan Faludi, click here.)
Readers often ask how they can support this site. One way is certainly to get yourself (and maybe a friend) a copy of this book, to send out to your personal e-lists, urging all those on them to get a first taste of TomDispatch by dipping into this “best of” volume filled with your favorite TD authors from Chalmers Johnson, Michael Klare, and Rebecca Solnit to Noam Chomsky, Bill McKibben, Ruth Rosen, Juan Cole, Nick Turse, and Michael Schwartz, among many others. (And then tell them to sign up for more of the same at the main screen of the site.) Think of The World According to TomDispatch as a survey of what the mainstream media hasn’t covered — and TomDispatch has — over these last crazed, craven years (from the air war in Iraq to the corporate looting of New Orleans). It’s also an instant alternative history of the mad Age of Bush the Younger. Finally, it’s a great way to spread the word about this site, which promises surprises galore in the months to come.!
Without extra dollars for publicity, TomDispatch has long subsisted on the kindness of strangers — on, specifically, word of mouth. Believe me, whatever you do for this book (and the site) will be much appreciated — and I can recommend all this with a clear conscience because I believe the new book really is a stellar reading experience and a striking example of what one guy and his various pals can do in a difficult time.
If you want to view a brief video (by site videographer Brett Story) in which I discuss the new book and the mega-bases the Pentagon has built in Iraq, click here. If you live in New York City, please consider attending an event in honor of the book at Book Culture (536 West 112th Street) on Wednesday, June 11th at 7 pm. Michael Schwartz and I will talk about the book, what the mainstream media doesn’t cover, and the situation in Iraq. It’s also just about the only way to get a signed copy, if you want one. What follows is an adaptation of the book’s introduction. Tom]
“E” for Expeditionary
One Man’s Online Journey through Bush’s Alphabet Soup
By Tom Engelhardt
The Internet teaches its own lessons, often painfully quickly. In April 2005, I followed an urge, as I often did in those days. Our President, who would soon claim to be spending his spare time absorbing meaty books like King Leopold’s Ghost, Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power, and Mao: The Unknown Story, was then largely known for reading The Pet Goat to schoolchildren while the 9/11 attacks were taking place and for being fond of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. So I took a plunge into humor and wrote a mock children’s ABC book that I dubbed “George’s Amazing Alphabet Book of the Contemporary World, or Al-Qaedas All Around.” I claimed that the manuscript, produced by George W. himself, had been leaked to my TomDispatch.com website by “a senior official in one of our intelligence agencies.”
Maybe it wasn’t Jon-Stewart-worthy, but I posted it anyway as my commentary of the week and thought no more about it until the first angry emails began appearing in the TomDispatch mail box. A number of readers claimed I had been “gulled.” I shoulda known! The President could never have written such a document! It had obviously been produced by the CIA! No, the Secret Service! No…