Verso Books (November 2002)
In this highly original and provocative work, Jenkins provides a meticulously researched history of US weapons policy from the First World War to the present day. In the first part, Jenkins shows how the US presidency and its advisers portrayed Americans as living on a new high-technology frontier, faced by a German outlaw whose chemical and air weapons would make it an ever greater threat. In doing so, they helped produce the very enemies they warned against, and raised the probability of further war and terror.
The comparisons Jenkins draws with the contemporary situation are clear and compelling: as with the German sinking of Lusitania in 1915, the September 11 attacks are now being used to convince Americans to back the expansion of presidential power and a permanent war against rogue states armed with chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. But the history of the weapons laboratories underscores the danger. With the end of the Cold War, the opportunity for a long-term peace may be lost, and the memory of that chance erased.
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