In which I hate on Caroline Glick’s new book and send the Amazon editorial staff to their fainting couches.

March 24th, 2008 11:59 pm by Kelly Garbato

When I signed up for Library Thing Early Reviewer program a few months ago, one of the first books I received was Caroline Glick’s Shackled Warrior: Israel and the Global Jihad. Coulda woulda shoulda done my research; had I known that Glick writes for the likes of The National Review, I wouldn’t have wasted my time on this piece of right-wing neocon trash. Lazy trash, at that: it’s just a collection of previously published columns, with no original content to speak of. Weak.

Anyway, Amazon has this gobawful new policy wherein they don’t allow customers to review products (books, at least) prior to the release date. Which is all fine and good, until you consider that publishers hand out advance reading copies of books to, you know, create some buzz. Like, before the release date. Whatevs.

So come March 20 (the release date), I submit my review, and…nothing. After emailing customer service, come to find out that they rejected my review because

your comments in large part focused on authors and their intentions, rather than reviewing the item itself.

Our guidelines do not allow discussions that criticize authors or their intentions. We encourage all voices to respond openly in our store, both positive and negative. However, we do exert some editorial control over our customer reviews.

As such, your review cannot be posted on Amazon.com in its current format. What I can suggest is that you resubmit your review, restricting your comments to critically analyzing the content of the item.

Oh mahs! I unleashed such slanderous bile as “Like most neoconservatives, Ms. Glick has yet to advance beyond Piaget’s concrete operational stage of cognitive development” and “she seems incapable of anything but dichotomous thinking”! I hope I didn’t drive our fearless heroine to the brink of despair with such uncouth language and personal attacks.

Fucking pearl clutchers.

Firstly, there are only three direct criticisms of Glick the person; the entire second paragraph, basically. The rest of the review either centers on quotations pulled directly from the book, the reasoning employed within, or arguments posited throughout. In other words, I reviewed the goddamn item.

Secondly, an author’s intentions in writing something, be it a book, a column, or a lowly blog post, most certainly are relevant to the discussion. Glick is a Zionist – she’s even received the Zionist Organization of America’s Ben Hecht award for Outstanding Journalism – so don’t tell me she doesn’t have a stake in the war on terror. Clearly an author’s intentions and biases color how they view, interpret and analyze a situation. All of which is totally fucking relevant.

And for thirds, what is a book if not a reflection of its author? Should I dismiss everything written in The Shackled Warrior as not truly representative of what Glick really thinks? She displays black-or-white thinking throughout a decade’s worth of columns, yet it’s a “personal attack” to call her a dichotomous thinker? It’s not as though I used racial, ethnic, or gender slurs – all of which Amazon would be correct in disallowing. Rather, I simply inferred that the personality exhibited in her book is indeed her personality. Silly me. Do you really mean to tell me that I can’t call Ann Coulter a right-wing hack based on the things she’s written and said? For reals?

If I offend her delicate sensibilities (or any neocon Amazonian, for that matter), she can always skewer me in the comments. I mean really, does she need Jeff Bezos to protect her from the mean peoples on the internets?

Besides, I want to know where the fuck Amazon gets off acting all offended by this relatively tame review (the most naughtiest word I used is probably “homosexual”, which is probably how my review got flagged to begin with) when they trade in atrocities such as shark fin soup and cockfighting mags. Wankers.

On the plus side, I hope this means that “neocon” is finally considered an insult. Because it is.

Anyway, being the compulsive personality I am, I revised the review so that the more global, “personal” “attacks” are now directed solely at the book and not the author herself. Let’s see if this salt brings the Amazon editorial staff out of their spell. If not, fuck ’em.

Both reviews are copied after the jump (the original appears first, followed by the revision). If the tittybaby version is ever accepted, I’ll link to it below.

The Shackled Warrior by Caroline Glick (2008)

Neocon Nonsense

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(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through Library Thing’s Early Reviewer program.)

At first glance, journalist Caroline Glick seems well-suited to author a book on the so-called “global war on terror”, particularly Israel’s piece in the puzzle. Born in the United States and educated at Columbia and Harvard Universities, she immigrated to Israel in 1991, where she joined the Israel Defense Force and served as “a core member of Israel’s negotiating team with the Palestinians during the Oslo peace process.” Subsequently, Ms. Glick also served as assistant foreign policy advisor to PM Binyamin Netanyahu. Currently she is a Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, DC., as well as the deputy managing editor of THE JERUSALEM POST (to which she contributes two weekly syndicated columns), and the chief diplomatic correspondent for Israel’s MAKOR RISHON newspaper (which publishes a weekly column of Ms. Glick’s in Hebrew).* THE SHACKLED WARRIOR: ISRAEL AND THE GLOBAL JIHAD is a collection of Ms. Glick’s columns, culled from the pages of THE JERUSALEM POST from 2002 to the present.

Unfortunately, Ms. Glick’s considerable knowledge and experience is dwarfed by her black-or-white, “you’re either with us or against us” world perspective. Like most neoconservatives, Ms. Glick has yet to advance beyond Piaget’s concrete operational stage of cognitive development. To wit: she seems incapable of anything but dichotomous thinking.

For example, take the following passage (from the column “Politically Correct Perfidy”, dated September 11, 2006).

The setup: Harvard University students are protesting a scheduled visit from former Iranian president Muhammad Khatami, who was invited to speak at the school by Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. The same week, VP Dick Cheney had to scurry through the back door of the Harvard Club in Boston in order to avoid a few hundred angry protesters.

Glick blasts Harvard for extending an invitation to Khatami; doubly so, their failure to schedule a two-person debate rather than an uninterrupted monologue.** She then wonders,

“[H]ad a debate between him [Khatami] and Cheney been organized, it would have been interesting to see which side the protestors outside of the Harvard Club in Boston would have supported.”

Because, ya know, you just can’t detest two fascist, murderous regimes simultaneously.

Seriously, though, as a self-described liberal/progressive, I think equating Bush/Cheney with the likes of Hitler is misguided hyperbole at best. Even so, I do consider BushCo war criminals, and both the VP and the President ought to be impeached. That doesn’t, however, mean that I must automatically support Khatami (along with the likes of Saddam Hussein, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, radical Islamists, suicide bombers, and other assorted bigots who would kill and oppress the Other in order to gain power and/or advance their particular strain of superstition). Again, this “you’re either with us or against us” dubya speak is the kind of egotistical blather that lost us the hearts and minds of most of the world – allies and “damsels in distress” alike.

In addition to this black-and-white “reasoning”, Ms. Glick dons the blinders when it comes to seeing any possible negative consequences on the “War on Terror”.

In the Preface, she writes,

“The forces of jihad – whether comprised of states actors or non-state actors – are the enemy in this war. Consequently, anything that advances jihad’s aim of Islamic domination is antithetical to the interests of the free world. Anything that harms that cause advances the interests of human liberty and freedom.”

In two tidy sentences, Ms. Glick has justified torture, indefinite detention, warantless wiretapping, and countless other violations of civil liberties. “Anything that harms jihad advances the interests of human liberty and freedom.” The terrorists hate us because we’re free – so let’s not exercise our freedoms, or the terrorists win! Jonah Goldberg? Is that you?

Not to mention, half the Iraqi population is female. Female humans. Female humans who have seen their rights steadily eroded since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. But, again true to neocon think, I guess they don’t count since they have lady bits and all.

Aside from the actual content of the book, I was also dissatisfied with the format. The bulk of the book is columns that have previously appeared in THE JERUSALEM POST. They’re arranged by topic into ten chapters, and then chronologically within each chapter. The only new material is the book’s preface, meant to introduce the compilation. With no chapter intros to string the individual columns together, the book simply doesn’t flow well. Additionally, the columns are presented without context; unless the reader is intimately familiar with everyday happenings in the Middle East, it’s sometimes challenging to read the topic as part of a larger narrative. Some background information, where appropriate, would have been much appreciated.

All in all, I can sum up my review with one pithy statement: Why buy the book when you can (not) read the neocon nonsense for free? ***

* Information gathered from Amazon’s THE SHACKLED WARRIOR listing, as well as Wikipedia’s entry on “Caroline Glick”.

** When the current Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was similarly invited to speak at Columbia University on September 24, 2007, this format worked out wonderfully: given the chance to spout off, Ahmadinejad’s rants no doubt taught the students in attendance much about the hard-line leader’s warped worldview. “No h*mos*xuals in Iran”? Indeed.

*** Google the individual columns to read them online – or take a shortcut right to TownHall, the epicenter of right wing neocon nonsense.

——-

Fails in both Form and Content

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Journalist Caroline Glick seems well-suited to author a book on the so-called “global war on terror”, particularly Israel’s piece in the puzzle. Born in the United States and educated at Columbia and Harvard Universities, she immigrated to Israel in 1991, where she joined the Israel Defense Force and served as “a core member of Israel’s negotiating team with the Palestinians during the Oslo peace process.” Subsequently, Ms. Glick also served as assistant foreign policy advisor to PM Binyamin Netanyahu. Currently she is a Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, DC., as well as the deputy managing editor of THE JERUSALEM POST (to which she contributes two weekly syndicated columns), and the chief diplomatic correspondent for Israel’s MAKOR RISHON newspaper (which publishes a weekly column of Ms. Glick’s in Hebrew).* THE SHACKLED WARRIOR: ISRAEL AND THE GLOBAL JIHAD is a collection of Ms. Glick’s columns, culled from the pages of THE JERUSALEM POST from 2002 to the present.

Unfortunately, the columns collected in THE SHACKLED WARRIOR do not offer the nuanced examination of Middle Eastern history and politics that one would hope. Instead, the book is written from a black-or-white, “you’re either with us or against us” world perspective. The reasoning employed by the author throughout her work is characteristic of Piaget’s concrete operational stage of cognitive development. To wit: Ms Glick’s logic generally takes the form of dichotomous thinking. Either you unquestioningly support Bush & Co. or you’re unpatriotic, anti-American, a terrorist, even. Either you’re a Zionist or you’re an anti-Semite. Either you agree that the war on terra is The Greatest War or you’re a Muslim extremist. There is no in-between, just two extreme poles.

For example, consider this missive from the column “Politically Correct Perfidy”, dated September 11, 2006.

The setup: Harvard University students are protesting a scheduled visit from former Iranian president Muhammad Khatami, who was invited to speak at the school by Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. The same week, VP Dick Cheney had to scurry through the back door of the Harvard Club in Boston in order to avoid a few hundred angry protesters.

Glick blasts Harvard for extending an invitation to Khatami; doubly so, their failure to schedule a two-person debate rather than an uninterrupted monologue. (Nevermind that this format worked wonders when current Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was similarly invited to speak at Columbia University on September 24, 2007: given the chance to spout off, Ahmadinejad’s rants no doubt taught the students in attendance much about the hard-line leader’s warped worldview. “No homosexuals in Iran”? Indeed. )

She then wonders, “[H]ad a debate between him [Khatami] and Cheney been organized, it would have been interesting to see which side the protestors outside of the Harvard Club in Boston would have supported.”

Because, ya know, you just can’t detest two fascist, murderous regimes simultaneously.

Seriously, though, as a self-described liberal/progressive, I think equating Bush/Cheney with the likes of Hitler is misguided hyperbole at best. Even so, I do consider BushCo war criminals, and both the VP and the President ought to be impeached. That doesn’t, however, mean that I must automatically support Khatami (along with the likes of Saddam Hussein, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, radical Islamists, suicide bombers, and other assorted bigots who would kill and oppress the Other in order to gain power and/or advance their particular strain of superstition). Again, this “you’re either with us or against us” dubya speak is the kind of cowboy politics that tarnished America’s reputation and cost us valuable allies.

In addition to this black-and-white “reasoning”, Ms. Glick dons the blinders when it comes to seeing any possible negative consequences on the “War on Terror”.

In the Preface, she writes,

“The forces of jihad – whether comprised of states actors or non-state actors – are the enemy in this war. Consequently, anything that advances jihad’s aim of Islamic domination is antithetical to the interests of the free world. Anything that harms that cause advances the interests of human liberty and freedom.”

In two tidy sentences, Ms. Glick has justified torture, indefinite detention, warantless wiretapping, and countless other violations of civil liberties. “Anything that harms jihad advances the interests of human liberty and freedom.” The terrorists hate us because we’re free – so let’s not exercise our freedoms, or the terrorists win!

Ms. Glick also ignores that sad reality that the global War on Terra has actually set women’s rights back decades, particularly in Iraq. A full half of the Iraqi population is female – females who have seen their rights steadily eroded since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. But I guess they don’t count since they have lady bits and all.

Aside from the actual content of the book, I was also dissatisfied with the format. The bulk of the book is columns that have previously appeared in THE JERUSALEM POST. They’re arranged by topic into ten chapters, and then chronologically within each chapter. The only new material is the book’s preface, meant to introduce the compilation. With no chapter intros to string the individual columns together, the book simply doesn’t flow well. Additionally, the columns are presented without context; unless the reader is intimately familiar with everyday happenings in the Middle East, it’s sometimes challenging to read the topic as part of a larger narrative. Some background information, where appropriate, would have been much appreciated. Or not, depending on how you look at it.

As it stands, all but true blue (or is that red?) neoconservatives will dislike THE SHACKLED WARRIOR. Even so, the book is a waste of money for Town Hall types as well, since most of the content is available online (for free, to boot!).

(This review is also posted on Library Thing and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you think it so.)

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One Response to “In which I hate on Caroline Glick’s new book and send the Amazon editorial staff to their fainting couches.”

  1. Thirty Ways of Looking at Hillary – AND ZOMG HER BREASTS!!!!1!!1! » V for Vegan: easyVegan.info Says:

    […] way of advertising my blog. But lately they’ve turned into quite the pearl-clutchers. First they rejected my review of Shackled Warrior: Israel and the Global Jihad because I was too mean to the book’s […]

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