May 28, 2009

Absolute Friends - John Le Carre'

I picked this book up at a used book shop for no particular reason except that I usually enjoy this author's work. Well, Absolute Friends did not disappoint me. Despite a major flaw, it's a good read. La Carre' knows the 'grimy soot on dirty concrete' european locales - and the slog and sadness of the spy business. He knows it well.

This time La Carre' shows his liberal bias and anti-Americanism - and he doesn't do it honorably. He strikes out with worn complaints. It was, for me, somewhat disappointing to see a writer of good fiction so enamored with slanted statements and stupid fictions about America. Perhaps it's standard fare in Britain but surely he could find honest differences to criticize.

Let me insert a few direct quotes from the book:

  • After the liberation of Kuwait: "Tony Blair will travel to Kuwait to express his thanks to the Kuwaiti people for their cooperation in the successful conflict. Harumph."
  • After the start of the second Iraq conflict: ". . . Blair has no doubt that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction will be shortly be found. While . . . .Rumsfield. . . speculates that the Iraqis may have destroyed them before the war began."
  • Talking about Saddam: "Palaces with attitude. Illusions of power. The less power he's got, the bigger the illusions he builds. Rather like my gallant prime minister, Mr. Blair." A rocket bursts: "Ask Bush and Blair, our two great war leaders, neither of whom has seen a shot fired in anger."
  • Re:Winston Churchill: "He thought the Indians were a pack of fuzzy-wuzzies, that's why. Flog 'em , hang 'em and teach 'em the Bible."
  • Vietnam: ". . . .paste them with leaflets exhorting all good Nazis to rally to the American genocide in Vietnam."
  • A terrorist's sermon: ". . .pour scorn and hatred on America for the carpet bombing of Vietnam's cities, the poisoning of her crops and napalming of her jungles. Reconvene the Nurenberg Tribunal and arraign the fascist-imperialist American leadership before it with charges of genocide and crimes against humanity."
  • Describing a terrorist: "He has railed against the Shah and his CIA backed secret police, the Savak, and spread himself on the subject of American-sponsored Greek Colonels and the American puppet state of Israel."
  • Re:War: "He has listed America's wars of aggression, from Hiroshima through Korea by way of Central America, South America and Africa to Vietnam."
  • And here's a good one: "Herr Pastor . . . from the politics of the pulpit, he had moved to the politics of the pseudo-liberal ballot box. He joined secret right wing societies and was admitted to certain very select Masonic committees. His American-inspired adoration of the God of Wealth goaded me to the point of dementia."
  • And another: Who is the ultimate class enemy? Answer, unhesitatingly, American military and corporate imperialism. How do we realistically oppose this enemy? Is it by relying on the enemy to destroy himself, but only after he has destroyed the world?"
  • Regarding the pre-emptive strike on Iraq: "And since the so-called coalition, by making an unprovoked attack on Iraq, has already broken half the rules in the international law books, and intends by its continued occupation of Iraq to break the other half, should we not insist that the instigators account for themselves before the International Courts of Justice in the Haque?"
  • Another American conceit: "Despite the fact, of course, that America has unilaterally declared itself immune from the jurisdiction of such courts."

These quotes describe John LeCarre' very liberal politics and anti-Americanism. He is apparently disgusted by the posturing of governments everywhere, and a person that believes nothing is quite real. He seems to value no ideas, standards, or philosophies as being worth defending. I have a lot of trouble with that.

By his own words John LeCarre' is a burned out author who no longer offers any relief from his embittered world.