Cruel and Unusual: Bush/Cheney's New World Order

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9780393059175: Cruel and Unusual: Bush/Cheney's New World Order

Offers a critique of the right-wing threat to American freedom and democracy as exemplified by the Bush administration, condemning its contempt for democratic principles and practice, bullying religiousity, and reckless militarism.

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Review:

While numerous books have been written criticizing the policies and practices of the George W. Bush administration, few have been as foreboding about the meaning of those policies and practices as Mark Crispin Miller's Cruel and Unusual. In Bush and company, Miller sees a regime comparable to the most ruthless authoritarian dictatorships of the modern era and warns that Americans, skillfully duped by a corrupt government and a complicit mass media, are blithely accepting the curtailing of their liberties and the eradication of their democracy. The attacks of September 11, 2001 and the tremendous fear and insecurity they generated among the American people provided, in Miller's estimation, ample opportunity for Bush and company to move the country to a place where dissent is crushed by force, wars are started on lies, and democratic elections will soon be a thing of the past. Cruel and Unusual makes a compelling case by providing massive amounts of evidence, some concrete and some speculative, although at times the sprawling range of his subject matter harms Miller's attempts to form a cohesive argument. And for someone writing a book about George W. Bush, Miller is awfully preoccupied with the treatment President Bill Clinton received from the press and right-wing activists. Particularly strong, however, are passages related to the build-up to war in Iraq and the discrediting of weapons inspector Scott Ritter, who insisted that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. Miller provides transcripts from cable news talk shows where administration spokesman attack Ritter with the apparent assistance of like-minded hosts while Ritter himself doggedly defends himself and persistently rejects the main reason given for war. Cruel and Unusual is one of the most energetic and dire criticisms of the Bush administration but its urgency is matched by the crimes it sees being committed. --John Moe

About the Author:

Mark Crispin Miller is a professor of media studies at New York University and the author of The Bush Dyslexicon. He lives in New York City.

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