Joel Andreas Addicted to War: Why the US can’t kick militarism, an illustrated exposé

(Updated edition, 2002)

Don’t be fooled by the comic book presentation. This is an important book, one whose importance grows with every day as we approach the seemingly inevitable moment when Bush and his Downing Street lapdog begin their genocidal bombardment of Iraq. All we can do, whilst building a movement to stop what could quite easily turn into World War Three, is equip ourselves with as much information as possible about both the broad background to the “conflict” – in other words, to school ourselves in the history of imperialism in general and the now-dominant American variant. This book helps, bringing together many different strands in a way which will be useful to those who already know much about the ground it covers, as well as to those who need to be introduced to the reality of what is going on.

Addicted to War looks at the history of US imperialism from its beginnings in the notion of “Manifest Destiny”, through the Cold War to the chilling New World Order rhetoric which accompanied the Soviet bloc’s demise. It shows how America’s addiction to war orders the world in a way which suits multi-national corporations whilst draining off resources which could be used to address the obscene levels of poverty, lack of access to health care and crumbling infrastructure of the world’s richest nation.


Backed up by words that come straight from the mouths of those who profit from this global gangsterism, Addicted gives us facts and figures as well as the means to make sense of them.

That it does so in a way which attempts to be as widely accessible as possible – including to those to whom reading is not a first-choice leisure activity and the library or bookshop not the first port of call when seeking entertainment or even information – is a bonus. The arguments are sound, and everyone needs to hear them. Whether or not to support Bush’s bogus “War on Terrorism”  is not a political decision which might divide reasonable people. In reality, it has only two sides: the tiny elite which runs the military machine and the corporations whose interests it is designed to further, and the  rest of us. Anyone who does not have a personal financial interest in selling the machines that will be used to commit mass murder in Iraq and yet supports this illegal and illegitimate “President” and his junta is simply a dupe, or hopelessly corrupt.

The “War on Terrorism” has once more brought to light how far the United States is from being the democracy it so loudly trumpets itself to be, and how easily it might slip towards a near-dictatorship, where “free speech” would become nothing more than a cynical slogan of the people who are in reality in the process of destroying it. This cartoon book has caused a furore in sections of the American media, with some “journalists” claiming that everyone has a duty to back “the President”. Hopefully, this has served to increase its sales. This reviewer has long been aware of the limitations of capitalist “open societies”, but I have rarely heard so blatantly anti-democratic an argument trotted out with such careless ease. There are people now writing in the US media, and controlling the output of its TV stations and other sources of information, who aren’t so much opposed to democracy as entirely ignorant of what it is supposed to mean.

Nevertheless, Addicted to War is out there: exposing the chicken hawks, the oil thieves, the liars and their dupes. Spectre heartily and unreservedly recommends it.

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