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Iraq: The Borrowed Kettle (Wo Es War)

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

An iconoclastic analysis of the ideological and political stakes of the attack on Iraq.

In order to render the strange logic of dreams, Freud quoted the old joke about the borrowed kettle: (1) I never borrowed a kettle from you, (2) I returned it to you unbroken, (3) the kettle was already broken when I got it from you. Such an enumeration of inconsistent arguments, of course, confirms exactly what it endeavors to deny — that I returned a broken kettle to you...

That same inconsistency, Zizek argues, characterized the justification of the attack on Iraq, whereby a link between Saddam's regime and al-Qaeda was transformed into the threat posed by the regime to the region, which was then further transformed into the threat posed to everyone (but the U.S. and Britain especially) by weapons of mass destruction. When no significant weapons were found, we were treated to the same bizarre logic: OK, the two labs we found don't really prove anything, but even if there are no WMD in Iraq, there are other good reasons to topple a tyrant like Saddam...

Iraq: The Borrowed Kettle analyzes the background that such inconsistent argumentation conceals and, simultaneously, cannot help but highlight: what were the actual ideological and political stakes of the attack on Iraq? In classic Zizekian style, it spares nothing and nobody, neither pathetically impotent pacifism nor hypocritical sympathy with the suffering of the Iraqi people.

Review:

"As Slovenian public intellectual and provocateur Zizek puts it in his pungent sequel to Welcome to the Desert of the Real, a major motivational problem with the U.S.'s Iraq adventure has been 'too many reasons for the war.' As each pretext collapsed in the face of events, another rose to take its place. Thus, he says, the 'war' has been as much on logical consistency as on Iraq. As piercing as Zizek can be about the rhetorical excesses of the Bush administration — his Lacanian reading of Rumsfeld's infamous 'known knowns' speech is a tour de force — he doesn't spare what he sees as the smug complacencies of 'Old Europe' and the left, putting them under the general rubric of convenient pacifism and selective outrage. Structured as an essay with two long appendixes, Zizek's book is consistently funny, engaging and accessible whether discussing Hitchcock or Heidegger. If some of the philosophical excursions in the book's second half threaten to derail the cogency of its arguments, they generally reward patience. And if the sheer exuberance of Zizek's biting invective acts as something of a tonic, the sobriety of his basic message — that we have entered a permanent, Orwellian 'state of emergency' that threatens the very freedoms we are supposedly defending — is never lost. Simultaneously invigorating, depressing and maddening, Zizek's book reveals him to be an intellectual made for these times, a mixed blessing if ever there was one." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Book News Annotation:

The inconsistent arguments from the old joke about the borrowed Kettle--(1.) I never borrowed a kettle from you (2.) I returned it to you whole (3.) Anyway, it was broken when you gave it to me.--are analogous to the shifting justifications given for the Anglo- American invasion of Iraq, argues Zizek (senior researcher, Institute for Social Studies in Ljubljana, Slovenia). Just as the joke's inconsistent arguments reveal that the speaker borrowed and broke the kettle, so the shifts from Weapons of Mass Destruction, to connections to Al Qaeda, to Saddam Hussein's persecution of his people point towards the reasons that they are attempting to conceal. For Zizek, these are ideological belief in Western democracy, the assertion of US hegemony in the New World Order, and the economic interest of oil. He explores these intertwined reasons in essays penned in immediate reactions to different stages of the war.
Annotation 2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

Zizek analyzes the logic behind toppling Saddam Hussein despite no evidence of WMDs and questions the actual ideological and political stakes of the attack on Iraq.

Synopsis:

A characteristically iconoclastic analysis of the ideological and political stakes of the attack on Iraq. Already a cult philospher, Slavoj Zizek turns his attention to one of the most controversial issues of our times.

Synopsis:

In order to render the strange logic of dreams, Freud quoted the old joke about the borrowed kettle: (1) I never borrowed a kettle from you, (2) I returned it to you unbroken, (3) the kettle was already broken when I got it from you. Such an enumeration of inconsistent arguments, of course, confirms exactly what it attempts to deny—that I returned a broken kettle to you ...

That same inconsistency, Zizek argues, characterized the justification of the attack on Iraq: A link between Saddam’s regime and al-Qaeda was transformed into the threat posed by the regime to the region, which was then further transformed into the threat posed to everyone (but the US and Britain especially) by weapons of mass destruction. When no significant weapons were found, we were treated to the same bizarre logic: OK, the two labs we found don’t really prove anything, but even if there are no WMD in Iraq, there are other good reasons to topple a tyrant like Saddam . . .

Iraq: The Borrowed Kettle analyzes the background that such inconsistent argumentation conceals and, simultaneously, cannot help but highlight: what were the actual ideological and political stakes of the attack on Iraq? In classic Zizekian style, it spares nothing and nobody, neither pathetically impotent pacifism nor hypocritical sympathy with the suffering of the Iraqi people.

Praise for Welcome to the Desert of the Real:

'Zizek is a stimulating writer; with a knack for turning scenes from movies into little parables, and he is adept at spotting other people's nonsense.' New Yorker

'Zizek's book is perhaps particularly helpful in understanding the 'we wished for it,' from his reading of the terrifying predictability of the American response.' parallax

About the Author

Slavoj Zizek is Senior Researcher at the Institute for Social Studies in Ljubljana. His books include The Sublime Object of Ideology, The Plague of Fantasies, The Ticklish Subject, and Welcome to the Desert of the Real.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781844670017
Subtitle:
The Borrowed Kettle
Author:
Zizek, Slavoj
Author:
Iek, Slavoj
Publisher:
Verso
Location:
New York
Subject:
Middle East - General
Subject:
International Relations - General
Subject:
Military - Iraq War
Subject:
Iraq War,
Subject:
Military - Iraq War (2003-)
Subject:
Iraq War, 2003
Subject:
Political
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Includes bibliographical references.
Series:
Wo Es War Series
Publication Date:
June 2004
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
192
Dimensions:
7.82x5.68x.77 in. .82 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Humanities » Philosophy » General

Iraq: The Borrowed Kettle (Wo Es War) Sale Hardcover
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$10.98 In Stock
Product details 192 pages Verso - English 9781844670017 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "As Slovenian public intellectual and provocateur Zizek puts it in his pungent sequel to Welcome to the Desert of the Real, a major motivational problem with the U.S.'s Iraq adventure has been 'too many reasons for the war.' As each pretext collapsed in the face of events, another rose to take its place. Thus, he says, the 'war' has been as much on logical consistency as on Iraq. As piercing as Zizek can be about the rhetorical excesses of the Bush administration — his Lacanian reading of Rumsfeld's infamous 'known knowns' speech is a tour de force — he doesn't spare what he sees as the smug complacencies of 'Old Europe' and the left, putting them under the general rubric of convenient pacifism and selective outrage. Structured as an essay with two long appendixes, Zizek's book is consistently funny, engaging and accessible whether discussing Hitchcock or Heidegger. If some of the philosophical excursions in the book's second half threaten to derail the cogency of its arguments, they generally reward patience. And if the sheer exuberance of Zizek's biting invective acts as something of a tonic, the sobriety of his basic message — that we have entered a permanent, Orwellian 'state of emergency' that threatens the very freedoms we are supposedly defending — is never lost. Simultaneously invigorating, depressing and maddening, Zizek's book reveals him to be an intellectual made for these times, a mixed blessing if ever there was one." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , Zizek analyzes the logic behind toppling Saddam Hussein despite no evidence of WMDs and questions the actual ideological and political stakes of the attack on Iraq.
"Synopsis" by , A characteristically iconoclastic analysis of the ideological and political stakes of the attack on Iraq. Already a cult philospher, Slavoj Zizek turns his attention to one of the most controversial issues of our times.
"Synopsis" by , In order to render the strange logic of dreams, Freud quoted the old joke about the borrowed kettle: (1) I never borrowed a kettle from you, (2) I returned it to you unbroken, (3) the kettle was already broken when I got it from you. Such an enumeration of inconsistent arguments, of course, confirms exactly what it attempts to deny—that I returned a broken kettle to you ...

That same inconsistency, Zizek argues, characterized the justification of the attack on Iraq: A link between Saddam’s regime and al-Qaeda was transformed into the threat posed by the regime to the region, which was then further transformed into the threat posed to everyone (but the US and Britain especially) by weapons of mass destruction. When no significant weapons were found, we were treated to the same bizarre logic: OK, the two labs we found don’t really prove anything, but even if there are no WMD in Iraq, there are other good reasons to topple a tyrant like Saddam . . .

Iraq: The Borrowed Kettle analyzes the background that such inconsistent argumentation conceals and, simultaneously, cannot help but highlight: what were the actual ideological and political stakes of the attack on Iraq? In classic Zizekian style, it spares nothing and nobody, neither pathetically impotent pacifism nor hypocritical sympathy with the suffering of the Iraqi people.

Praise for Welcome to the Desert of the Real:

'Zizek is a stimulating writer; with a knack for turning scenes from movies into little parables, and he is adept at spotting other people's nonsense.' New Yorker

'Zizek's book is perhaps particularly helpful in understanding the 'we wished for it,' from his reading of the terrifying predictability of the American response.' parallax

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