Review

Grand Theft Pentagon

Grand Theft Pentagon

Tales of Corruption and Profiteering in the War on Terror

Jeffrey St. Clair

Common Courage Press, 2005

In Grand Theft Pentagon: Tales of Corruption and Profiteering in the War on Terror, Jeffrey St. Clair (co-founder with Alexander Cockburn of the hard-hitting investigative website CounterPunch.org, which receives 60 to 70 millions hits per year) exposes, excoriates, and pillories the multitude of crooks, hacks and morally bankrupt corporate and government officials who are making billions off of war, violence and bloodshed.

The book tells the story of how some of the world’s most powerful corporations exploited the events of 9/11 to make billions in the form of government contracts with the connivance of the Bush administration. And it’s an ugly, distressing tale they tell. This is not a book that warms the heart or gives one reason to hold any faith in the US government.

In the wake of 9/11, the Pentagon was handed what St. Clair shows was essentially a blank cheque, which it used to resurrect a number of Cold War-era weapons programs—-particularly the B-2 stealth bomber, the F-22 fighter and the $80 billion Star Wars missile defense system. He shows through the use of the Pentagon’s own documents that none of these exorbitant weapons systems are needed and that none of them has ever come close to working as advertised. St. Clair posits that such contracts have contributed immensely to the national debt and have sparked a new global arms race with other players including North Korea, Pakistan. China, Iran and even France.

St. Clair never pulls a punch or hides his viewpoint. Those are frivolities he doesn’t have time for. His perspective is obviously not for everyone, but he never minces words or tries to con the reader with the illusion of impartiality. He is an impeccable researcher, consistent in his viewpoints and honest to a fault. What you read is what you get.

My only complaint, and it’s a minor one, is that in this book and others by Common Courage Press the quality of proof reading is average at best. There are repetitions and deletions of words here and there that detract from otherwise well-done, important works.

- John Holt

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