Synopses & Reviews
"James Risen has established himself as the finest national security reporter of this generation, a field crowded with first rank talent." —Newsweek
“An important and powerful book that should be read by anyone who believes it is time to take stock after thirteen years and re-evaluate the nature of the threat the country faces and its response to the atrocity of 9/11.” —New York Times Book Review
Ever since 9/11 America has fought an endless war on terror, seeking enemies everywhere and never promising peace. In Pay Any Price, Pulitzer Prize winner James Risen reveals an extraordinary litany of the hidden costs of that war: billions of dollars that went missing from Iraq only to turn up in a bunker in Lebanon; whistleblowers abused, including a staffer on the House Intelligence Committee persecuted by the F.B.I. for expressing her concerns about the NSA spying on U.S. citizens; and an entire professional organization, the American Psychological Association, forced to investigate its own involvement with the government’s use of torture. In the name of fighting terrorism, our government has perpetrated acts that rival the shameful historic wartime abuses of generations past, and it has worked very hard to cover them up. James Risen brings them into the light.
“[Pay Any Price is] a wide-ranging look at consequences of the so-called war on terror and includes stories of shocking thievery during the U.S. occupation of Iraq.” —U.S. News & World Report
“A no-holds-barred tarring and feathering of the past thirteen years of the U.S. national security system. At times frightening, Risen’s book is a strong reminder of the importance of a free press keeping a powerful government in check.” —Daily Beast
"Risen’s fast-paced, accessible prose and his finely drawn detail make the book read like an implausible thriller. The tragedy is that, however implausible, it all appears to be true . . . enormously impressive. . . . This is an important and powerful book that should be read by anyone who believes it is time to take stock after 13 years and re-evaluate the nature of the threat the country faces and its response to the atrocity of 9/11."
—New York Times Book Review
"At long last we can retire Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein as the icons of investigative reporting. With his second book probing the dark tunnels of the so-called war on terror, James Risen has established himself as the finest national security reporter of this generation, a field crowded with first rank talent."
"A memorable chronicle of the long-range consequences of the panicky reaction of top American officials to the Sept. 11 attacks...Mr. Risen certainly makes the case in this book that America has lost much in its lashing out against terrorism, and that Congress and the people need to wake up and ask more questions about the political, financial, moral and cultural costs of that campaign."
—Tom Ricks, New York Times daily review"A wide-ranging look at consequences of the so-called war on terror and includes stories of shocking thievery during the U.S. occupation of Iraq."
—Steven Nelson, US News & World Report"A no-holds-barred tarring and feathering of the past 13 years of the U.S. national security system. At times frightening, Risen’s book is a strong reminder of the importance of a free press keeping a powerful government in check."
—William O’Connor, Daily Beast"James Risen's Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War is a book every member of Congress and every candidate for president in both political parties should be forced to read." — Michael Goldman, Lowell Sun
War corrupts. Endless war corrupts absolutely.
Ever since 9/11 America has fought an endless war on terror, seeking enemies everywhere and never promising peace. In Pay Any Price, James Risen reveals an extraordinary litany of the hidden costs of that war: from squandered and stolen dollars, to outrageous abuses of power, to wars on normalcy, decency, and truth. In the name of fighting terrorism, our government has done things every bit as shameful as its historic wartime abuses — and until this book, it has worked very hard to cover them up.
Lincoln suspended habeas corpus. FDR authorized the internment of thousands of Japanese Americans. Presidents Bush and Obama now must face their own reckoning. Power corrupts, but it is endless war that corrupts absolutely.
A shocking expose of the inside game in Washington, explaining how so many politicians leave Washington richer than they were when they first arrived. Worst of all, its all legal: members of congress are free to trade stocks based on confidential information, hedge-fund managers are free to extract tips from politicians, and then reward them with access to IPOs, and the Obama administration has been able to reward dozens of campaign contributors with shockingly large grants and guaranteed loans.
Politicians often come into office with relatively modest assets. As investors, they regularly beat the market and sometimes beat the most rapacious hedge funds. Even without making stock trades, they often retire rich. How do they do it?
Billionaires and hedge fund managers often make well-timed investment decisions that anticipate events in Washington. How do they do it?
When such former politicians and federal appointees as Al Gore, Dan Quayle, and Madeleine Albright decide to launch investment funds, wealthy clients sign up. Why?
Welcome to the insidious world of crony capitalism.
Cronyism exists not so much as outright bribery, using suitcases full of cash, but rather in accepted insider routes to wealth: Members of Congress trade stocks based on privileged information. They insert earmarks into bills to improve their own real estate holdings. Campaign contributors receive billions in federal grants. Nobody goes to jail.
Crony capitalism transcends party lines and has become a big business hidden in plain sight. Using personal financial information, government databases, and a team of indefatigable researchers, Peter Schweizer shines a light into the darkest corners of the system — and offers ways to overcome it. It is time to clean house.
The world's best-selling economist's brief, incisive essays on subjects ranging from austerity to inequality, Steve Jobs to climate change, documenting the global financial crisis in real time through the eyes of one of its keenest observers.
About the Author
THOMAS PIKETTY is professor of economics at the Paris School of Economics and the École des hautes études en sciences sociale, and Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics's International Inequalities Institute. He is the author of numerous articles and a dozen books. He has done major historical and theoretical work on the interplay between economic development and the distribution of income and wealth. His most recent book is Capital in the Twenty-First Century.
SETH ACKERMAN is a historian of 20th-century Europe. He is an editor at Jacobin, where his translations have previously been published.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations xi
Part One: CONGRESSIONAL CRONIES
1. The Drug Trade 3
2. Crisis for All, Opportunity for Some 23
3. IPOs: Invest in Politicians Often 40
4. This Land Is My Land 51
Part Two: CAPITALIST CRONIES
5. Spreading the Wealth . . . to Billionaires 75
6. Warren Buffett: Baptist and Bootlegger 105
7. Cronies on Parade: Hedge Funds, Defense Contractors, Colleges, Big Oil . . . and George Soros 120
Part Three: BREAKING THE BACK OF CRONY CAPITALISM
8. Some Are More Equal Than Others 137
9. Why This Matters 151
10. What Needs to Be Done 167