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Document Type

Book Review

Abstract

War and disaster define the contemporary experience in no small manner. This is not just because pervasive warfare inevitably produces disasters. Whether war is waged between nation-states or by nation-states on ideologies (e.g., war on terrorism), civilian populations (e.g., war on youth or war on the poor), or things (e.g., war on drugs), the disasters of war are now coupled, to an unprecedented degree, with disaster more generally and the increased awareness of the possibility of disaster. As we witnessed with the Indonesian tsunami of 2004 or the mass devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, disasters are natural--sometimes unexpected, other times predictable and avoidable. Disasters, as the world witnessed in the U.S. government’s response to the natural disaster of Hurricane Katrina or post-“mission accomplished” Iraq, can be human-made--inflicted on humans by other humans through a shrewd combination of political malice and government incompetence rather than overt warfare--and, for that reason, perhaps shock individuals and groups and destroy communities that much more incomprehensibly (Bauman, 2006).

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