The Men Who Stare at Goats by Jon Ronson
The question isn’t whether or not you’re paranoid; it’s whether or not you’re paranoid enough to read The Men Who Stare at Goats…
If you want to know more about the U.S. Military’s PSYOPS programs, then The Men Who Stare at Goats is a must read. Hell, even if you don’t, you’ll still get a kick out of this quirky book. Here’s a description from author Jon Ronson’s website:
“In 1979 a secret unit was established by the most gifted minds within the US Army. Defying all known accepted military practice—and indeed, the laws of physics—they believed that a soldier could adopt the cloak of invisibility, pass cleanly through walls and, perhaps most chillingly, kill goats just by staring at them. Entrusted with defending America from all known adversaries, they were the First Earth Battalion. And they really weren’t joking. What’s more, they’re back and fighting the War on Terror. ‘The men who stare at goats’ reveals extraordinary—and very nutty—national secrets at the core of George W Bush’s War on Terror.
With first-hand access to the leading players in the story, Ronson traces the evolution of these bizarre activities over the past three decades, and sees how it is alive today within US Homeland Security and post-war Iraq. Why are they blasting Iraqi prisoners-of-war with the theme tune to Barney the Purple Dinosaur? Why have 100 de-bleated goats been secretly placed inside the Special Forces command centre at Fort Bragg, North Carolina? How was the US Military associated with the mysterious mass-suicide of a strange cult from San Diego? ‘The men who stare at goats’ answers these, and many more, questions.”
Speaking as a fellow journalist, I laud Ronson for maintaining his credibility in putting this book together. He’s not some crackpot with an agenda and he never tries to define or manufacture some massive government conspiracy. He simply follows his research wherever it leads—and it leads him to some bizarre places indeed.
The film adaptation does a fair job of fictionalizing some of these findings, but this is a case where truth really is stranger than fiction. Read the book and you’ll see why.