Saturday, September 25, 2010

Banned Books Week: Operation Dark Heart by Anthony Shaffer

Sometimes the people trying to keep a book off the shelves only want it banned because they think it contains material that is overly adult & is offensive to them in some format. Other times people try to keep it off the shelves because it contains something they think is dangerous to the country.

Author & Army Reserve Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer wrote a book about his time in Afghanistan, intending to get it published. However before the first printing even hit the shelves, the US military demanded that the book be reclaimed & destroyed because it contained highly sensitive material. Part of the material deemed too sensitive was supposedly a meeting between Shafer & Philip Zelikow (Director of the 9/11 Commission), where Shafer informed him about the threat & identity of one of the 9/11 terrorists. Information that according to an article on AllVoices was already made public not in the 9/11 documents released, but by Representative Curt Weldon in 2005 & 2006.

The ridiculous part? The military had previously OK’d the book to be released. Now the military is saying that while Shaffer had cleared the book with one part of the army, he didn’t clear it with the army in general as well as the Department of Defense.

Want to read it? Well, you’ll get your chance because there will be a second printing, albeit one with all of the sensitive material blacked out. According to one article by CNN International, “From single words and names to entire paragraphs, blacked out lines appear throughout the book's 299 pages.”

While this isn’t entirely a banned book, it is something that shouldn’t be ignored. We should always be conscious of when something is censored, no matter what the reason is- regardless of whether such actions are for our own safety or not.

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