06 July 2010

61. Peace Kills

Peace Kills: America's Fun New Imperialism - P. J. O'Rourke

This was a book that I thought would be much better than it was. The description of the book says the author "sets out to finally make sense of America's "great game". I never got to the part where he made any sense of it at all. Then again, maybe that was the point.

The author has been a foreign correspondent. He has been to all of the war zones he discusses in this book and others he has written. He has spent a lot of time covering the events of the wars.

This book takes us on a journey to Kosovo. It explains a lot about Serbs, Albanians, etc and the UN peacekeeping forces. There is a lot of history discussed. The whole thing ends up being a big stupid mess and we stuck our noses in there thinking we were going to fix it.

There is, of course, a chapter about Israel and the Palestinian conflicts. That one is never ending. The whole chapter is more like a tourists guide to the area. We travel from site to site learning it's history. We find that each side (Palestinian, Jew, Arab, European, etc) has a different historical perspective and therefore a different solution to the problem. Well, I guess if the parties can't even agree on who built on a given plot of land first then how will they ever achieve peace? Once again, we stuck our noses in there thinking we were going to fix it.

From there we jaunt on over to Egypt. Egypt is an Arab state. It has a lot of Muslims and Christians. They seem to get along. The reasons for all this are discussed. It is not because it is a country full of brotherly love.

There are chapters on chapters discussing Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. Different adventures at different times tell different stories.

In the end I felt like this book could have been better. I loved the glimpses into the historical aspects of the countries and regions that affect their decisions today, but felt that the reason I read this book was to read about America's reasons for its own actions. It never really got there and explained the definitive reasons for our involvement in any of these areas.

Why "Peace Kills"? Becasue we went to all these places to bring peace...and did it through the use of firepower. I guess that is the reason for the title.

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