Monday, January 07, 2008

Shell Game: The Trailer

Steve Alten (do I have to call him doctor because of his PhD in physical education?) has now posted a trailer for Shell Game. Actually probably not a bad idea given that a large percentage of his target demographic for this book are functionally illiterate. The trailer indicates that he is a proponent of LIHOP, both for Pearl Harbor and 9/11, but he will doubtless be embraced by the troof movement on the theory that LIHOP is the gateway drug to full blown trooferism. Well, except for those who have already denounced him as COINTELPRO. Well, when you play with the pigs, you are going to get dirty.

Incidentally Alten defended himself in the comments of my previous post by claiming that what I reviewed was an unedited draft. He did send me the first chapter of his edited book via e-mail though, and other than a few corrected misspellings, none of the mistakes had been changed, so it make no difference. He then sent me another section of the book, and it was even worse. Including this jaw dropping ahistorical claim:

In July of 1979, President Carter had begun a secret campaign to provide military aid to the Mujahideen – Afghan rebels who were fighting the Soviets in Kabul. The Soviets took the bait and crossed the border into Afghanistan, and suddenly the USSR had its own Vietnam War. The House of Saud embraced this guerilla action, for it supported both Islam and the West against the atheist Soviets. When the Reagan Administration took office, the White House increased aid to these “freedom fighters,” causing the Soviets to expend even more resources into the conflict.

The leader of these Afghan rebels? Osama bin Laden.

Osama bin Laden of course, was not the leader of the Afghan rebels. For obvious reasons, he is not even Afghan. In fact there was not even a leader of the Afghan rebels, but several tribal leaders instead, Hekmatyar, Massoud, Dostum and Khan, among others. Bin Laden, who once again WAS NOT AN AFGHAN did not really even become a prominent figure among the Arab fighters until the mid-80s (in 1979 when the war started he was a college student), and then only because he was a member of a prominent family, who was a significant fundraiser and motivator for the cause. His entire reputation as a fighter is really only based off of one battle, the Battle of Jaji in 1987.

Not really helping your cause there Steve. Might want to go back to writing about fish.

Update: I don't think there is any humanly way I could get around to pointing out all the factual errors in the chapter posted on-line, much less the book, but here is another idiotic one. From the section titled "Washington, DC November 23, 2007".

Ryan Gessaman, a rugged man in his forties, wearing a dark suit and matching bow tie, is a senior assistant to Richard Perle, chairman of the Defense Policy Board. Perle, known around Washington power circles as the "Prince of Darkness," is himself a close personal advisor to former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld and a major investor in a number of defense companies.

Just one problem though, Perle resigned from this position, over 4 years earlier.

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