Book Review: The Terrorism Trap

Book Review: The Terrorism Trap

A Review by Alex Vavoulis 

In 2002, after the tragic event of Sept. 11, the renowned author Michael Parenti wrote The Terrorism Trap: September 11 and Beyond. It should be required reading for anyone who believes in a true democracy rather than a corporate state and/or a security state. Parenti emphasizes the need for a change in U.S. policy as it relates to the world free market, which has become a metaphor for the obscene differences in income for “the haves and have nots.”

Driven by a love of democracy and a passion for the truth, Parenti strips naked the secretive machinations of the U.S. government leaders that give little regard to people throughout the world. The book is heavy with examples focusing on this important theme. For example, he writes: “Less than a month after the September 11 attacks, US leaders began an all-out aerial attack on Afghanistan, the country harboring Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist organization. At the same time little was said about the more twenty years of US intervention in Afghanistan that has helped Osama bin Laden and the very Taliban regime the US military forces now set out to destroy.”

Parenti describes for the reader the forces that have brought the United States to be hated by so many people throughout the world. In this book, he is able to acutely dissect these forces.

In his epilogue, he writes words that could have been written in present-day America:

And what of the long-term conditions that foster terrorism? Here too, US leaders seem more interested in taking advantage of terrorist’s attacks than in preventing the conditions that breed them. They have neither the interest nor will to make the kind of major changes in policy needed to dilute the hatred that so many people around the world feel toward US power. For one thing they have no interest in breaking the “cycle of violence” by refraining from massive aerial assaults that wreak death and destruction upon innocent civilian populations.

Parenti, a political scientist who is a progressive and humanist, feels strongly for the suffering of innocent people. This, in a not too complicated way, represents a cry from his soul to change America into a more humane and less violent society.


Alex Vavoulis is professor emeritus in chemistry at Fresno State. He served as president of the Fresno Free College Foundation for 20 years and was a founder of KFCF Radio. He is an Honorary Board Member of the Sword of Zeus Project. Contact him at 


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