Empire for Dummies

I wish I could spend more time with this book but it is WAY overdue from the public library (paying fines is my little way of donating to public services). Arundhati Roy's An Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire is a collection of stinging yet witty editorials which is happy to take aim not only at the American imperial project, but also the lingering British version of this in India. As she puts it, "Empire is on the move, and Democracy is its new war cry" (47). Or better, "Democracy has become Empire's euphemism for neo-liberal capitalism" (56).

Her concerns range from corporate control of the so-called "free press" (see my Fors Clavigera post on this), to the "poverty draft" that fills our military ranks (though increasingly not even that is enough).

One of her more witty tropes is the suggestion of Saddam Hussein's remarkable restraint: "If the Saddam Hussein regime indeed has weapons of mass destruction, it is showing an astonishing degree of responsibility and restraint in the teeth of extreme provocation" (35). With all those threatening WMD in Iraq, you'd think he might have pulled the trigger as American forces bore down on Baghdad.