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Norman Solomon, Reese Erlich:

Target Iraq:
What the News Media Didn't Tell You
Review Written by:  Alex Sandell

Most Americans turn to CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, PBS, and/or FOX NEWS for the latest updates on "Operation Iraqi Freedom."  Unfortunately these networks seem to be in a race to see how many times they can say the same thing in an alternative way without the lion's share of their viewers noticing.  After being bombarded with this 24 hour cable "news" reporting over the past couple of weeks, even the most ardent fan of the McCoverage must be yearning for a fresh perspective on this Baghdad Battle.

If a person believed what they heard from the mainstream media, they would believe that every single individual in America is gung-ho over preemptive strikes and that the only people with an opinion worth listening to are generals who so cunningly put the irony in retiring.  Most Americans know that there are other voices out there -- possibly a few from people who are still gainfully employed -- but after weeks of channel surfing they've given up on finding them.  Fortunately, the authors behind Target Iraq:  What the News Media Didn't Tell You have assembled some of the best of these voices and crammed them into what just may the most informative 121 pages of nearly prophetic foresight you'll read in regards to the war in Iraq.

In their alternating chapters, Reese Erlich and Norman Solomon write of their individual experiences in the Middle East.  They tell of the events they experienced, the places they visited and the Iraqis "so routinely rendered invisible or fleeting by U.S. media coverage."  The book is peppered with quotes from people as diverse as a Hollywood celebrity such as Sean Penn to an Iraqi cab driver, eager to let an American into his home to meet his extended family.  The numerous and varied voices, culled from both past and present, lend a sense of timelessness to the book that makes it both current and cautionary. 

While the wealth of knowledge provided in the novel through quotes and interviews is staggering, Norman Solomon and Reese Erlich do not leave the reader with only a large collection of interesting and discerning thoughts and opinions.  Unlike the nightly news, Target Iraq is chockfull of hard facts.  Because of the mountain of evidence contained within its pages, the book is invaluable -- even if you don't agree with Solomon and Erlich's opinions regarding a preemptive strike on Iraq. 

Target Iraq calls into question the "facts" given to us by the mainstream media and effectively exposes them as nothing more than fiction, or at best, half-truths (I prefer, "small lies").  How many times have you heard somebody in the media claiming that U.N. weapons inspectors were "thrown out" of Iraq?  The truth of the matter is that Unscom head Richard Butler withdrew them in December 1998, "just before a blitz of U.S. bombing dubbed 'Operation Desert Fox.'"  The trail of lies fed to us by corporate media is long and staggering, and unless you like being a dupe for General Electric, finding out about as many of them as you can is essential.  This book is one of the best places to start your search and begin the de-duping process. 

Target Iraq doesn't merely call the media to task in times of war -- it also questions the very motives of the United States Government.  While never being apologists for the Iraqi regime, the book's authors do look far enough back to remember a time when Saddam was considered by the U.S. Government to be America's friend (giving out a treasure-trove of troubling information that you won't hear on broadcast or cable news).  The book's authors dare to call into question the "media legend" of Colin Powell.  "Powell's record does not belong to a man of conscience," Norman Solomon writes, "Avid participation in the deplorable has been integral to his career."  Where an O'Reilly or a King or a Matthews would have left his statement at that, without doing much in the way of backing it up, Solomon provides pages of data to back up and verify his bold assertion.  The authors of Target Iraq not only had the nerve to ask the questions, they took the time and found the guts to locate and provide their readers with the answers. 

While "war manuals" have the people behind the news scrambling to find "Patriotic music that makes you cry, salute, get cold chills" while trying desperately to "go for the emotion" by airing the National Anthem "at a specified time each day as long as the USA is at war," all in an attempt to gain back the viewers they've been steadily losing, people such as Solomon and Erlich have already figured out what it is that the audience craves: the truth.  In Target Iraq the truth is dealt out in spades. 

There is a war being fought today on the home front.  In it, people with a dissenting voice are being accused of "protecting tyrants." If Americans would only educate themselves beyond what they've been taught by the corporate media, the dissenting opinion could easily claim victory over the conventional voice.  The only ammo a person needs to win is knowledge enough to separate news propaganda from authentic news.  Target Iraq:  What the News Media Didn't Tell You is an unstoppable "shock and awe" campaign able to shock people with its claims and awe them by backing up each of the claims with reliable facts. 
-Alex Sandell

You can find this book at your local bookstore, in the library, or online at Barnes and Noble ( or

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This review is copyright 2003 Alex Sandell [All Rights Reserved]. 

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