Book Reviews - Browse Book Reviews Categories Book Reviews - Search Book Reviews Book Reviews - About Us Book Reviews - FAQ
Book Reviews Categories

Accessories Arts & Photography Audio CDs Audiocassettes Bargain Books Biographies & Memoirs Business & Investing Calendars Children's Books Computers & Internet Cooking, Food & Wine Entertainment Gay & Lesbian Health, Mind & Body History Holiday Greeting Cards Home & Garden Horror Large Print Literature & Fiction Mystery & Thrillers Non-Fiction Outdoors & Nature Parenting & Families Professional & Technical Reference Religion & Spirituality Romance Science Science Fiction & Fantasy Sheet Music & Scores Sports Teens Travel e-Books & e-Docs

Link Partners:
Literature Forums Define Words Electronic Dictionary Writers Wanted Writing Forums Writing Articles Writing Resources Cheat Literature Vault XBox Cheats Cheats Literary Escape Cheat Codes PS3 Demon Gaming PS3 Cheats XG Cheats


Book Reviews

Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror
Book: Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror
Written by: Richard A. Clarke
Publisher: Free Press
Average Customer Rating: 4.0 / 5

the administration's obsession with Iraq and the rush to war
Rating: 5 / 5
This book is a real eye opener. I highly recommend this wonderful book to anyone who wonders about how the gov't worked related to terrorism (under the 4 recent presidents) and how we got into Iraq.

Foreign and Domestic
Rating: 5 / 5
Richard Clarke spent his long government career working to prevent what happened on September 11, 2001. But he couldn't do it alone and when he was marginalized by the White House, we were left unnecessarily vulnerable.

The first chapter of Against All Enemies reads like a thriller, and it is easy to see why Sony Pictures bought the movie rights. Clarke takes us through the events of September 11 from inside the White House. Although there was disbelief at first, it wasn't long before everyone kicked into gear and started dealing with the attack. Were there more attacks to come? Where was the President? Was Washington a target? You will relive the day as you read, imagining what you would have done if you had been a member of the tense and focused government team.

As gripping as the first chapter is, the real story of course, is the events before and after September 11. Before the attack, Clarke describes warning Condoleezza Rice about the threat of Osama bin Laden and trying to warn the President, without success. The incredible frustration Clarke experienced comes through in his book.

After September 11, it gets even worse. Even though it was obvious to everyone that Osama bin Laden was responsible for the attack, the President and Vice President were convinced (or pretended to be convinced) that Saddam Hussein was somehow involved, too. Clarke worked hard to dispel this unwarranted notion, but was ultimately unsuccessful. As soon as possible after the Taliban was ousted from power in Afghanistan, Iraq became the next target. Clarke argues that Iraq was not involved in the September 11 attacks and was not in cahoots with terrorists. Further, and more important, fighting a war against Iraq diverted resources from Afghanistan, where bin Laden still had not been caught, and hadn't been stopped from planning further attacks.

It seems Clarke might have given the Administration the benefit of the doubt if they had simply ignored the threat before September 11. But they refused to learn from their mistakes and continued to focus their attention AWAY from bin Laden, giving him time to regroup and giving him further ammunition in his recruiting efforts. It isn't hard to see why a man who had spent his entire adult life in counterterrorism finally had to leave government and speak out.

Against All Enemies is a great book, with behind-the-scenes descriptions, the history of counterterrorism in the U.S., and a warning for the future. Who would have thought that a career bureaucrat would be such a good writer?

Rating: 5 / 5
It's hard to argue that there is much new here. And it is tempting to view this as Clarke's effort to vindicate himself and secure his reputation as the world's foremost authority on fighting terrorism. But the book does tie things together in convenient and well reasoned parcels, so it is a good, solid document on the issue of Islamic terrorism.

Clarke traces the arc of terrorism back to 1979 and the Revolutionary government in Iran. Afghanistan's long woes and the fall of the Soviet Union figure into the equation. He discusses the transition from state sponsored terrorism which essentially ceased at the end of the Iran-Iraq war to network sponsored terrorism of the al-Qaeda kind.

Clarke establishes his credentials and his credibility. He has been a central figure working at a high level from the White House to fight terrorism since the mid 1980's. He knows the history of terrorism. He knows its motive forces. He knows the characters involved, and their modus operandi. He understands terror's consequences. He knows what it takes to prepare good responses, and understood for at least four years prior to 9/11 how woefully unprepared the US was (and is) to respond to a large scale attack.

He lambastes the FBI for completely ignoring the problem of terrorism before 9/11, though he acknowledges that the problem is partly institutional. The FBI is barred by law from investigating crimes until they occur. And he admits the historical necessity of this point. He lambastes the CIA for completely ignoring terrorism before 9/11. Here again, he points out that the reason had to do with the agency's desire for self-preservation. In this case, a cold war institution fights to preserve its status a decade after its raison d'etre has ceased. And it does so not by engaging where it is needed, but by fighting bureaucratic turf wars. Hmm.

He spends a full chapter discussing how he built an anti-terrorism program under Clinton. He discusses how supportive Clinton was to the idea. He shows how brilliant Clinton was in selling the program to staffers and high ranking scientists. He points to some of its victories.

One such victory was the prevention of Millenium disasters. The tiny knot of people he worked with noticed that there was much 'chatter' about something happening on January 1, 2000. So alert levels were heightened. But the breakthrough was almost completely accidental. An operative on a ferry from Vancouver acted suspiciously. When confronted, he ran. His car was found packed with explosives meant to be deployed at the LA airport. His interrogation led to another cell in Jordan. A third cell failed accidentally by piling too many explosives into a small boat, causing it to sink in mid-harbor.

In one way, this example illustrates how a single centralized, small group of motivated people can energize local law enforcement people to do the leg work it takes to detect terrorist acts before they occur. If this level of functionality had been in place in the Boston Airport on 9/11, we would not be discussing that date here.

And this brings us to the question of subsequent failures. By July of 2001, Clarke was so fed up with the total lack of response of the Bush administration to even discuss the issue of terrorism that Clarke had asked to be reassigned to a lower status position working on cyper security.

Bush had been neither capable of comprehending the danger nor interested in hearing about it. He was completely uninterested in terrorism, even though (or perhaps because) Clinton had told him it was his top priority. Bush aides were spouting ideas about state-sponsored terrorism that were products of conservative think-tank fantasy. These ideas were historical dinosaurs long before George Herbert Walker Bush lost the election to Bill Clinton. But they were the gospel and all the Bush team were believers.

So arrogantly and dogmatically did they hold their prejudices that they simply would not listen to anything Clarke said. This despite the fact that Clarke was arguably the most capable, most knowledgeable, best informed, and most accomplished fighter of terrorism in the USA. It was in this as it has ever been with the Bush administration "Don't confuse us with the facts, because we already know all the answers." (My words, not Clarke's)

The section on what happened on 9/11 is slim. And the ideas about what America might have done to prevent it are slimmer. Probably 9/11 would have occurred in exactly the same way had Bill Clinton been President. The thing that could have prevented it - highly qualified and motivated airport screeners - was politically impossible in the post Reagan 'shrink government until it hurts" years. Only real hurt could change this fact. In other words, the governmental problem that contributed most to making 9/11 possible was an attitude about government inherited from the Reagan years.

But even if the catastrophe was inevitable based on the political climate, the response to 9/11 would have been different under another administration. Firstly, the Clinton administration would have focussed on Afghanistan. Tora Bora would have been shut down before bin Laden got there. Clarke's team had run the game plan already and planned to be there first. And the manhunt would not have stopped until bin Laden was captured.

The war in Iraq would never have happened. The endless and fruitless departmental shuffling in Washington to secure de "Vaterland" ahem creata a "Homeland Security Agency" and a body of law turning the US into a police state in contravention to constitutional principles and bodies of international law would not have occurred.

And in the end, America would not be doing as it is now - to quote a bumper sticker - "Making enemies faster than we can kill them."


Against All Enemies
by Richard A. Clarke

The Da Vinci Code
by Dan Brown

Worse Than Watergate
by John W. Dean

Eats, Shoots & Leaves
by Lynne Truss & Lynne Russ

The South Beach Diet Cookbook
by Arthur Agatston

The South Beach Diet
by Arthur Agatston

The Spiral Staircase
by Karen Armstrong

Angels & Demons
by Dan Brown

The Maker's Diet
by Jordan Rubin

South Beach Diet Good Fats/Good Carbs Guide
by Arthur Agatston

South Beach Diet Book by Arthur Agatston
Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

The Purpose Driven Life by Lemony Snicket

© Copyright 2024 Book Reviews. All rights reserved.