Item description for Full Spectrum Disorder: The Military in the New American Century by Stan Goff, Margie Glickman Jones, Lisa McFarren, Chan Heng Chee, Anand Grover, Robert Silverberg & Raymond E. Feist...
Stan Goff combines a spellbinding, first-person account of military maneuvers with a radical interpretation of American foreign policy. Drawing on his Delta Force and Army Ranger experiences, which took him from the invasions of Panama and Haiti to army training grounds in Colombia and South Korea, he depicts the new "American Empire" as over-reliant on technology, ignorant of the lessons of history, and backward in the stereotyping of other countries.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.75" Width: 5.5" Height: 8" Weight: 0.28 lbs.
Release Date Mar 1, 2004
Publisher Soft Skull Press
ISBN 1932360123 ISBN13 9781932360127
Availability 0 units.
More About Stan Goff, Margie Glickman Jones, Lisa McFarren, Chan Heng Chee, Anand Grover, Robert Silverberg & Raymond E. Feist
The author of Hideous Dream, Stan Goff is a retired special forces sergeant. He lives in Raleigh, NC.
Reviews - What do customers think about Full Spectrum Disorder: The Military in the New American Century?
Screaming at the choir Aug 1, 2006
It was hard to choose a rating for this review, so consider my three stars more of a two-to-four rating. Goff's book, "Full Spectrum Disorder", is all over the place, swinging punches at capitalism, imperialism, liberalism, the U.S. military and many token "liberal" or "progressive" issues. He lands a few punches, but much of it reads like wild swinging, and there is little provided to back up his assertions. For this reason, he's likely to reduce the receptivity of any audience except those that already agree with him.
In some ways this works. Goff's primary message seems to be directed at what he believes will be a liberal or progressive revolutionary vanguard. He leaves little room for misunderstanding this message in the last lines of his epilogue: "We are all Palestinian now. When in Palestine, we do what Palestinians do. We learn the lesson of the rocks. Intifada."
The language of violent revolution is unsettling to most self-described liberals, and it is this weak stomach for the grittier realities of global power that Goff is trying to beat out of what might be called the peace-loving, tree-hugging, hippy heart that is driving progressive ideology today. Having lived and worked in the West Bank, I can't subscribe to his belief in the value of violent resistance. I very much appreciate, however, his plea to liberals to drop their holier-than-thou disdain for anything associated with the U.S. military and to recognize the centrality of violence throughout the world today.
Liberals tend to dismiss war and warriors as blood-thirsty or blindly chauvinistic, a characterization that is both inaccurate and - for liberal ideology - self-defeating. In this sense, Goff's challenge to the liberal movement to better engage with the U.S. military is a rare but much-needed message.
If you have ever been called a hippy or a wacky, fuzzy-headed liberal, read this book precisely for this message.
But aside from this one very important message with a very specific intended audience, this book is too scattered to make any solid points. His accusations and assertions are pretty far-reaching, and he fails to properly back them up. He states up front that this book is primarily intended to "shake people up", but he kind of leaves the reader hanging on to his shirt-tails as he bounces around.
As someone who probably agrees with his underlying ideas more than the majority of his readers, I was disappointed. There is certainly value in this book, but with so many interesting books out there, this one is probably worth skipping.
Valuable for specific reasons Jan 19, 2006
In fairness, Goff's writings should be criticized in the appropriate context: they are anecdote laden, rantish, autobographical, yet analytical and provisionally authoritative.
Goff is not uncomfortable deploying simile, metaphor, or limited allegory to connect his personal experiences to the conceptual and/or assumptive framework he offers. A basic premise of his writing is his commitment to engage a world of competing (or impoverished) perspective on global realities, offering clarifications or counter-points to what he regards as conventional and/or largely inadequate wisdom.
That being said, he offers no "smoking gun" critiques of world affairs. I'm not sure that he means to; it's enough that he has been there and seen what needs to be seen; he's not trying to reify or vindicate his point of view, just to provide a meaningful contrast to those views that over-saturate the public imagination. His objective seems to be the "sobering" of the naive and jingoist assumptions that Americans cling to, but too often take for granted.
In other words, he's not trying to convert anyone; he's "playing Cassandra" as Camus said, holding up the mirror to the nation he served and risked his life for, aparently banking on the hope that we'll demonstrate the existence of a national conscience. If in reading his work, you feel disturbed and spurred to a greater degree of deliberation about the narratives you recieve from day-to-day, then his work has had the intended effect.
In this respect, he's just doing his duty. Little more, little less.
It strikes me as a bit absurd that other reviewers would place such liberal import on his political sympathies, as if to imply that these might somehow eclipse the over-all body of points, impressions, and conjectures Goff puts on the table. Goff himself is a bit circumspect (at times, outright cagey) about his personal politics. At others he's in your face about them. I'm not clear on what standard of political objectivity is in vogue with the readers out there, but we swim in a sea of ideology-laden "facts". Let's grow up and move on.
If you're worried about the integrity of Goff's ideological proclivities, go befriend a current or former member of special forces. See what his anecdotes and opinions do to your impeccable clinicism and analytical detatchment. Maybe your "objectivity" is more of an obstacle to your own understanding than you've presumed.
Stunning view of the US military Jul 30, 2005
This is a hard-hitting critique of recent US foreign policy. Goff, who used to be a soldier in Army Special Operations, analyses the US state's wars in Korea, Vietnam, Latin America, Somalia, Haiti and Iraq.
In Korea, General MacArthur ordered his forces to "destroy every means of communication, every installation, factory, city and village from the front line to the Yalu River." General Curtis LeMay boasted, "We burned down just about every city in North and South Korea both, and ... we killed off over a million civilian Koreans and drove several million more from their homes." The USAF dropped more bombs on Korea than on all Europe in all of World War Two and dropped 7.8 million gallons of napalm. US forces killed about four million Koreans, as against `only' three million Vietnamese people.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) faced huge problems. The US state maintained its punitive sanctions. Russia cut its oil supplies by 90%. In 1995, the country suffered the worst floods for a century, which swept away more than 400,000 hectares of prime farmland just before harvest time and made five million people homeless. In 1996, there were more floods and in 1997 a severe drought destroyed 70% of the country's corn. In 2000-01, the country suffered the worst drought in its history.
Despite all these hardships, the DPRK honoured its commitment under the 1994 Agreement with the USA to suspend its plutonium production facilities. The US state, on the other hand, broke its promises by failing to supply the promised alternative energy sources, failing to normalise relations and targeting the DPRK with nuclear weapons. The DPRK had warned that if the USA reneged, it would restart its nuclear power programme. In 2002, Bush named the DPRK as a target in its Nuclear Posture Review. The DPRK then stated that it had the right to develop nuclear weapons in self-defence. (The USA has had nuclear weapons in South Korea since 1958).
Goff also has some brilliant insights into how the American working class can defeat this imperial and anti-American US state. "The most important quality in a leader is the aggressive tenacity that never loses sight of the mission, combined with the creativity to achieve it." He attacks the `left' for "their utter lack of aggression and their constant moral hand-wringing ... they only know how to mobilize fear that demoralizes people, instead of mobilizing rage that drives through fear and seizes the initiative."
Don't Be Fooled May 20, 2005
Contrary to the subtitle, this is NOT a book about the military. This is a book about government policy (so it occasionally discusses how the military is used in pursuit of policy).
Mr Goff is an admitted socialist and this book is an attempt to convince readers that socialism is a much more responsible form of government. His principle argument is that captialism's reliance on economic expansion will inevitably exhaust all natural resources leading to collapse. In this he is probably right. However, he argues that socialism is the cure to this problem. One look at the environmental wasteland of Eastern Europe disproves this, so he ignores it. He claims the reason that the Soviet Union collapsed is that it didn't have enough third-world neighbors to exploit--neglecting the fact that Russia has incredible amounts of natural resources right at home that they couldn't exploit because of their intrinsic flaws.
Reading this book reminds me of Daman Wayans' character on "In Living Color," who [mis]used big words to make himself sound more knowledgable. However, using impressive vocabulary can't hide the fact that he makes many accusations which he fails to support and states as fact that which needs to be proved by argument.
Goff's disillusionment with American policy and the military's role in it is completely reasonable--he has participated in enough outrages to earn the right to be bitter. However, the conclusions he reaches as a result are at best unsupported by fact and at worst totally flawed.
If you're a liberal looking for more reasons to hate capitalism, and the U.S. in particular, you'll like this book (so long as you keep a dictionary handy to decipher words like "reification" and "epistimelogical"). If you're looking for a book about the use of military power in 4th-generation warfare, look elsewhere.
radical insights from a unique and important voice Mar 3, 2005
In this illuminating set of essays, Goff puts forth a series of penetrating critiques of the capitalist world order and the military institutions that sustain it. His humble, direct writing, grounded in a wealth of personal experience in the military and sharpened by years of disciplined autodidactic study, raises many important issues for the anti-capitalist left. His comparison of the Colombian FARC with the Zapatistas in Mexico is an incisive challenge to unexamined pacifism, and his discussion of radical leadership and forms of organization will stimulate anarchists and authoritarian communists alike. I, for one, will be reading his blog closely in the coming months.
A few favorite passages:
"Every successful revolution requires either the neutralization or active participation of military people. It's really time we factor that into our thinking. It's time we thought about organizing within the military. And organizing is not helping out a handful of conscientious objectors (though that is important) or dropping into Fayetteville with antiwar petitions for GIs to sign. Organizing is getting to know them, listening to them, building relationships with them, and standing alongside them when they confront their own institution."
"I will say this about the Zapatistas and the FARC-EP. At the end of the day, the difference between the two, aside from those who are condoned or condemned by those outside the conflict, is that one is winning and one is losing... because one understands the iron logic of war, and the other does not."