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On four successive Mondays in Tacoma, Apr. 9, 16, 23, & 30, 2007, UFPPC's book discussion group will examine four recent books that suggest Americans are going to have to choose whether they want their country to be a democracy or an empire.  --  The four volumes are Chalmers Johnson's Nemesis:  The Last Days of the American Republic (Metropolitan Books, 2007), Rajiv Chandrasekaran's Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone (Alfred A. Knopf, 2006), Craig B. Hulet's The Hydra of Carnage:  Bush’s Imperial War-Making and the Rule of Law—An Analysis of the Objectives and Delusions of Empire (Artful Nuance, 2002), and Jeremy Scahill's Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army (Nation Books, 2007).[1]  --  More information below....


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WHAT:  Digging Deeper XXX: Democracy or Empire?
WHO:  Led by Mark Jensen
WHEN:  Monday, April 9, 16, 23, & 30, 2007 -- 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
WHERE:  Mandolin Café, 3923 South 12th St., Tacoma, WA 98405

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United for Peace of Pierce
County Study Circle:
April 9, 16, 23, & 30, 2007
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DIGGING DEEPER XXX:  DEMOCRACY OR EMPIRE?

The publication of the final volume of what historian Chalmers Johnson calls his "inadvertent trilogy" is an occasion for examining the nature of the 21st-century American Republic.  Johnson once reviewed National Intelligence Estimates for the CIA, but was drawn into a closer examination of America's relation to the world beginning in February 1996, when he was invited by the then-governor of Okinawa, Masahide Ota, to come to what Johnson calls "our de facto American military colony" to speak about the problem of U.S. bases in the aftermath of the rape of a twelve-year-old Okinawan girl by two U.S. marines.  Disturbed by what he saw, he went on to analyze what he calls America's "empire of bases" in Blowback:  The Causes and Consequences of American Empire  (2000) and The Sorrows of Empire:  Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (2004).

United for Peace of Pierce County's book discussion group "Digging Deeper" will spend four weeks examining Johnson's latest book and three other volumes that address the problem of American Empire.

· Chalmers Johnson, Nemesis:  The Last Days of the American Republic (Metropolitan Books, 2007).  "Johnson reminds readers of Hannah Arendt's point that successful imperialism requires that democratic systems give way to tyranny and asserts that the U.S. must choose between giving up its empire of military bases (as did Britain after World War II) or retaining the bases at the expense of its democracy (as did Rome).  Johnson also predicts dire consequences should the U.S. continue to militarize low Earth orbits in pursuit of security.  To some extent a timely response to recent arguments in favor of American empire, such as those of Niall Ferguson in Colossus, this account also reiterates Johnson's perennial concerns about overseas military bases, the CIA, and the artifice of a defense-fueled economy." —Brendan Driscoll, Booklist.

· Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Imperial Life in the Emerald City:  Inside Iraq’s Green Zone (Alfred A. Knopf, 2006).  "As the Baghdad bureau chief for the Washington Post, Chandrasekaran has probably spent more time in U.S.-occupied Iraq than any other American journalist, and his intimate perspective permeates this history of the Coalition Provisional Authority headquartered in the Green Zone around Saddam Hussein's former palace. . . . Thanks to these personal touches, the account of the CPA's failures never feels heavy-handed."  —Publishers Weekly.

· Craig B. Hulet, The Hydra of Carnage:  Bush’s Imperial War-Making and the Rule of Law—An Analysis of the Objectives and Delusions of Empire (Artful Nuance, 2002).  "Whether the issue is MAI, GATT, NAFTA, or the more general question of the growing power of transnational corporations over our institutions and everyday lives, Mr. Hulet provides a heavily researched, coldly logical analysis where others too often delve with emotion, biases, and disinformation.  His work should be widely disseminated." —Former Rep. Jack Metcalf (R-WA 2nd).

· Jeremy Scahill, Blackwater:  The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army (Nation Books, 2007).  "Scahill, a regular contributor to the Nation, offers a hard-left perspective on Blackwater USA, the self-described private military contractor and security firm. . . . Scahill describes Blackwater's expansion, from an early emphasis on administrative and training functions to what amounts to a combat role as an internal security force in Iraq.  He cites company representatives who say Blackwater's capacities can readily be expanded to supplying brigade-sized forces for humanitarian purposes, peacekeeping, and low-level conflict.  —Publishers Weekly.

Since July 2004, United for Peace of Pierce County has been conducting “Digging Deeper,” a Monday-night book discussion group, often in the form of a study circle.  Topics have included peak oil, climate change, the corporation, Iran, the writings of Robert Baer, Islam, the evolutionary psychology of human aggression, and American fascism, as well as abiding themes of war, peace, politics, and social change.  Occasionally, the group has spent several weeks reading longer works, like Daniel Yergin’s The Prize or Robert Fisk’s The Great War for Civilisation.

DIGGING DEEPER meets every Monday from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Mandolin Café, 3923 S. 12th St., Tacoma, WA.

Participation is free.  Participants should procure their own copies.  Info:  contact Mark Jensen (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 253-535-7219).

Regular meetings of United for Peace of Pierce County are held on 1st and 3rd Thursday evenings at First Congregational Church, 209 South “J” St., Tacoma, WA.

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United for Peace of Pierce
County Study Circle
March 26 & April 2, 2007
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