Those who are not yet convinced of the dangers of U.S. imperialism and the quest for a religious-based empire building may want to read Crusade: Chronicles Of An Unjust War as soon as possible. This moving and utterly gut-wrenching collection of Boston Globe columnist James Carroll’s essays are passionate, powerful and profound. Carroll, a bestselling author of such notable books as American Requiem and Constantine’s Sword, offers this first collection of his Globe columns, all providing a searing critique of the U.S. policies that led to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, wars Carroll clearly sees as a sort of new religious crusade against the Islamic world.
Each essay offers facts and details sure to change even the most diehard pro-war mind, but it is the author’s own profound ability to see directly into the soul of each issue that makes these essays ring with truth. His cry from the heart, delivered from a moral center that compels both the political right and the left to come together, covers the lies and deceptions of an administration bent on global domination and religious fanaticism, no matter how many lives it costs, and his plea for protest and dissent reminds us that we all have a critical role to play in waking up the masses before our nation loses all heart and all hope.
Carroll, also the son of a general, an anti-war chaplain and activist, tackles every subject from the first whisperings of a war against Iraq to the deceptive Afghanistan war, to the President’s use of the word “crusade” as indication of a deeper religious reason behind the endless quest for destroying the strongholds of Islam. Carroll also talks about the level of hatred behind Mel Gibson’s vicious The Passion of the Christ, and how the public readily embraced such hatred without ever really examining the source. In fact, it is Carroll’s assertions that the movie and the current level of fear and anti-Muslim hatred coming out of the White House have worked hand in hand to lay the foundation for public support and acceptance of a war based upon lies and manipulations of facts and data.
The sheer volume of material covered in these powerhouse essays makes Carroll one of the most important voices speaking out against imperial hubris and religious fanaticism today, and Crusade is a potent introduction to the sharp and often scathing insights of a man who firmly believes we are moving fast and furious down a bad, bad road. My only regret is that the book ends before many of the most recent revelations about lies and deceptions on behalf of the Bush administration were uncovered, and one can only hope Carroll is busy compiling a second book of essays.
Ultimately, Crusade is a wake-up call for anyone who aches for the America that could be, were our leaders not so hell-bent on war and were our own citizens not so deeply asleep in some zombie-like state that keeps them from rising up in protest against the obliteration of our dreams, our hopes and our liberties. Carroll dissects the true destructive nature of what is facing all of us today, and grabs hold of our hearts in an attempt to shake us awake and make us all too aware of the potential for even greater damage, unless we do something about it now.