Where to Invade Next

Where to Invade Next arrived in the mail with my most recent issue of McSweeney’s. The title itself is flippant and funny. But there ends the flippancy and humor.

The book is a collection of profiles of seven countries and the reasons for military action to overthrow the current regimes. Edited by Stephen Elliot, this 90-page book has a long bibliography, boasting work by two dozen people in researching and writing it.

As an introduction, it quotes General Wesley Clarke who says in the weeks after the terrorist attacks against the U.S. on 9/11 he was visiting friends at the Pentagon when on told him there were plans to invade Iraq. A few weeks later, Clarke returned and was told that there were now plans to take out seven countries in the coming years.

Most of us will never get to see this memo, but we know it exists.

Now, editor Stephen Elliott, authors Jason Roberts, Eric Martin, and Andrew Altschul, and a team of twenty researchers have re-created this document for the present day. Where to Invade Next contains seven essays, 100 percent factual, laying out in stark detail how the arguments for invasion could be made. A biting look at the role of propaganda in foreign policy, this book outlines exactly how our leaders might make the case for war.

It’s not particularly biting. The blurb above comes from the McSweeney’s web site. Presented merely as it is, the book does a very good job of making the case to change the regimes of Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Syria, Sudan, and North Korea.

The propaganda of such cases isn’t assessed, critiqued, examined, or even satirized in any way. Presenting straight-forward arguments, absent a context of any kind, advocating for regime change in these seven countries does nothing to debunk, defuse, or demystify the propaganda used to whip up public and political support for such actions.

This is one of those ideas that probably looked good when discussing it and while doing it, but doesn’t look so clear in the warm light of day.

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