Blood in the Sand

Imperial Fantasies, Right-Wing Ambitions, and the Erosion of American Democracy

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Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, clouds of ash blackened the skies over New York City, Washington, D.C., and rural Pennsylvania. In the wake of the destruction, the United States seemingly entered a new era marked by radical changes in

Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, clouds of ash blackened the skies over New York City, Washington, D.C., and rural Pennsylvania. In the wake of the destruction, the United States seemingly entered a new era marked by radical changes in the nation's discourse and in the policies of the Bush administration. With the toppling of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the invasion of Iraq, and saber rattling elsewhere, America's global war on terror began to take shape. Lofty rhetoric about expanding democracy and defending freedom filled the halls of elite power and dominated mainstream media coverage of American politics. Blood in the Sand offers both an incisive analysis and a confrontational critique of America's recent international pursuits and its dominant political culture. Stephen Eric Bronner challenges the notion that everything changed in the aftermath of 9/11. He shows instead how a criminal act served to legitimize political manipulation and invigorate traditional nationalistic enthusiasms for militarism and imperial expansion. Employing his own experiences in the Middle East, Bronner acknowledges -- but refuses to overstate -- recent progressive developments in the region. He criticizes the neo-conservative penchant for unilateral military aggression and debunks the dubious notion of fostering democracy at gunpoint. While Bronner analyzes authoritarian repression, human rights violations, shrinking civil liberties, and severe socioeconomic inequalities, Blood in the Sand is neither a narrow political diatribe nor a futile exercise in anti-American negativism. The author honors America by condemning the betrayal of the nation's finest ideals by so many of those who, hypocritically or naively, invoke those ideals the most. Bronner sheds new light on those who insist on publicly waving the flag while privately subverting that for which it stands. Blood in the Sand sounds a clarion call for revitalizing the American polity and reshaping foreign policy along democratic lines. Committed to a political renewal, Bronner urges the American people to recall what is best about their national heritage and the genuine beacon of hope it might offer other countries and other cultures.

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