Sign up for our free newsletter

Free D.C. news, delivered to your inbox daily.

WEDNESDAY

“It’s not right to respond to terrorism by terrorizing other people,” writes Howard Zinn in his new book, Terrorism and War. The slim publication lays out Zinn’s reasons for opposing America’s war on terror—primarily, the suffering of innocent civilians and the futility of military intervention. Predictably, Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States, isn’t a big fan of George W. Bush, and his prose is sprinkled with the usual slew of lefty insinuations against the president. (Bush doesn’t know history. He’s a tool of the military-industrial complex.) But, strangely enough, Zinn’s suggestions for foreign policy sound a lot like Bush’s worldview pre-Sept. 11: Zinn adopts an isolationist stance, suggesting that America become a “more modest nation” by reducing its military presence abroad. And though his reasoning is solid and his rhetoric compelling, Zinn’s original research is slim. For example, he posits that Americans’ overwhelming support for the war in Afghanistan might falter if people knew more about the suffering of Afghan civilians. “What if [Americans] learned more about the many human tragedies in Afghanistan—the names of the dead, images of the villages that were bombed, the words of a father who lost his children, the ages of the children?” he writes. Good point. But readers won’t get that info from Zinn, who fails to nail down his assumptions with even a single portrait of a suffering Afghan. As a result, after reading Zinn, you’re still left wondering, What if? Feel free to pry when Zinn appears at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 10, at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Felix Gillette)