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

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

by Mark Crispin Miller
     
 

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"A critical contribution to America's internal, life-or-death debate over foreign and domestic policy."—Booklist
Read a newspaper or catch the news on television and you might get the impression that America's current leadership is "mainstream": perhaps a bit more conservative and in its foreign policy more belligerent than its predecessors, but still a

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Overview

"A critical contribution to America's internal, life-or-death debate over foreign and domestic policy."—Booklist
Read a newspaper or catch the news on television and you might get the impression that America's current leadership is "mainstream": perhaps a bit more conservative and in its foreign policy more belligerent than its predecessors, but still a federal authority that functions within America's political traditions. But as Mark Crispin Miller argues here with great clarity and effect, we are in fact living in a state that would appall the Founding Fathers: a state that is neither democratic nor republican, and no more "conservative" than it is liberal. He exposes the Bush Republicans' contempt for democratic practice, their bullying religiosity, their reckless militarism, their apocalyptic views of the economy and the planet, and—above all—their emotional dependence on sheer hatefulness. Abraham Lincoln once observed that, if the United States should ever be subverted, "it will be conquered from within." And that is exactly what has happened.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In delivering this blunt jeremiad-Bush is "fascistic," "theocratic," a "crook," etc.-Miller (The Bush Dyslexicon) argues that the Bush-era press isn't simply biased, it has been lulled into an Orwellian false consciousness. One of the major examples Miller, a professor of media studies at NYU, offers is the case of Scott Ritter, the former U.N. weapons inspector who insisted before the war that Iraq probably had no unconventional weapons and was treated by TV interviewers like Paula Zahn as a near-stooge for Saddam. For Miller, further elements of the current order include electronic voting machines that he says were used to tilt the 2002 congressional elections and a cabal of Christian Reconstructionists that wants to impose theocracy on America. Miller, sometimes overheatedly, links the "extremist propaganda" of the Christian right to Bush assertions and policies, traces it to groups like the highly secretive Council for National Policy, and presents what he sees as a final agenda: "To such apocalyptic types, the prospect of a ruined earth is no big deal, as long as God can be alleged to go for it." While such arguments are familiar, as is the indignant tone, Miller's thoroughness and clarity in tracking down the sources of the policies he decries, and the ways in which they are disseminated, set the book apart. Agent, Emma Parry for Fletcher & Parry. 12-city author tour; 20-city radio satellite tour. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Tocqueville's "tyranny of the majority" made it difficult for voices critical of President Bush's policies to find a place in the public sphere. Today, with the war in Iraq going poorly, the opposite seems true. A spate of new books, mostly critical of the President, now flood the market. Miller (media studies, NYU; The Bush Dyslexicon) offers one of the harshest. Condemning the Bush/Cheney administration's bullying religiosity, foreign policy, and obsession with secrecy as irrational imperialism and reckless militarism, Miller argues that the Constitution is in danger; for the goal of this administration is to "abort American democracy, and impose on the United States another kind of government." This "other" kind of government is a radically Christian form of militarism and imperialism that undermines the Bill of Rights and favors the wealthy. The Bush regime, Miller concludes, is un-American. Lively, entertaining, and hard-hitting, this book is a searing indictment of the Bush administration. However, the case made does not always lead to the conclusions drawn, and this work may be too polemical for mainstream tastes. Recommended for public libraries.-Michael A. Genovese, Loyola Marymount Univ., Los Angeles Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
"I will use our military as a last resort, and our first resort." Thus spake Dubya-and Miller saw red. Miller (Media Studies/NYU; The Bush Dyslexicon, not reviewed) detests Bush, and for many reasons. One is the sitting president's refusal to speak and think clearly: "We should take especial notice," Miller writes, "that the president cannot speak standard English when he tries to talk about American democracy." Another is that selfsame president's imperial hauteur: to a reporter questioning the possibility of war in Iraq, Bush snapped, "I'm the person who gets to decide, not you," while to another-this time Bob Woodward of the Washington Post-he said, "I do not need to explain why I say things. . . . I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation." Then, of course, there's the war in Iraq, explained by a man whom Miller characterizes as an architect of modern neoconservative military strategy thus: "Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business." With reasons thus enumerated and plentiful, Miller proceeds to say many unkind things about Dubya, some of them funny, some incisive, some not. Speaking of Bush and his veep as a Borg-like unity-Bush/Cheney-he scores points by writing of the "imperial lavishness" of the administration's spending, which even conservatives have been complaining about. He scores more points by revealing that Bush/Cheney and minions Wolfowitz, Rumself, Perle, et al., had harbored designs on Iraq since at least 1998. And he offers a minor tour de force by contrasting Bill Clinton's supposedly scandalous on-the-tarmac haircut at LAX with a betterdocumented incident in which a Bush White House party of September 5, 2001, ended with the discharge of several hundred fireworks late at night and unannounced to the neighbors. It adds up to a nicely juicy rant-but not much more-some of the details of which may come as news to some readers. Author tour. Agent: Emma Parry/Fletcher & Parry

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393326789
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
08/22/2005
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet 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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