In the interest of completeness, I wish to record also the following review in what is probably Canada’s foremost newspaper, the Toronto Globe and Mail (Peter Hart, “Visions of the post-9/11 world,” January 26, 2008):
The Road to 9/11, by Peter Dale Scott, former Canadian diplomat and English professor at the University of California, Berkeley, sees the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq as expansionist, driven by imperial and elite interests. Or, as he puts it, they are the work of the “deep state” (military and intelligence interests) led by “meta-groups” (alliances between private and public figures) who belong to the “overworld” (the influential rich). This semi-Scientological prose is combined with a Pynchonesque vision of world affairs in which almost everything is secretly connected to everything else, usually by oil and heroin.
Hard facts are scarce, but Scott’s logic is fascinating, especially since it leads to the grand suspicion that al-Qaeda was merely a puppet of a “cabal” led by Dick Cheney, plotting to take over the United States. The key evidence, rather disappointingly, is that a dozen or so minutes of Cheney’s time are unaccounted for on the morning of Sept. 11. Scott is sincere, passionate and profoundly right about the corrupting influence of secrecy, but his larger thesis is grossly unconvincing.
This review was picked up on the Internet, leading me to post the following response to it:
In his review of my book The Road to 9/11, Peter Hart claims I argue that “the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq are the work of the “deep state” (military and intelligence interests) led by `meta-groups'” In my book (p. 179) there is precisely one digression of two short paragraphs about meta-groups, which I introduce precisely to contrast them to the state (or in this case the deep state). What I was explicitly separating, Peter Hart merges. It appears that he composed his review by scanning the index of my book, not the text.
I would like to clarify another confusion in the Hart review, by appending my letter to the editor of the Globe and Mail, which they predictably failed to publish:
Peter Hart’s review of my book The Road to 9/11 is throughout so flippantly wrong that it is hard to reply to it. But let me address his chief claim: “Scott’s logic leads to the grand suspicion that al–Qaeda was merely a puppet of a `cabal’ led by Dick Cheney, plotting to take over the United States. The key evidence, rather disappointingly, is that a dozen or so minutes of Cheney’s time are unaccounted for on the morning of Sept. 11.”
I harbor no such suspicion, and my logic does not lead to it. My focus on forty minutes on September 11, about which Cheney himself gave two contradictory accounts, did not concern al-Qaeda, but orders Cheney implemented then for shooting down planes and for “Continuity of Government.” COG was a secret emergency response plan which Cheney and Rumsfeld had been refining every year since the 1980s, even in the 1990s when neither man was in the official U.S. government. I suggested, from admittedly limited evidence, that COG instituted their long-planned but controversial arrangements for warrantless surveillance, warrantless detention, and suspension of habeas corpus. My book’s charges are endorsed by other scholars, including a former National Security Council staffer. They deserve a more serious response than Mr. Hart’s obfuscations.
The Globe and Mail review, to this date (2/5/08) the only one in a mainstream journal, is reminiscent of the Globe and Mail‘s review of my long poem Coming to Jakarta (“only a quarter of this book is poetry”). Coming to Jakarta was later nominated for a Canadian Governor-General’s award, and honored with extended critical treatment in two literary journals. Hart’s review is also of a piece with the summary dismissals fifteen years ago of my book Deep Politics and the Death of JFK in the New York Times (“stunningly opaque”) and Washington Post (“strangely lucid”). It stands in vivid contrast to the favorable reviews my book has received on the Internet, and from renowned scholars in the field.
The whole episode illustrates the emerging gap between the received opinions of the mainstream media and of the Internet – a gap which I suspect may well contribute to the former’s alarming declines in readership.