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Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terrorby Richard A. Clarke
Synopses & Reviews
"The [Bush] administration has squandered the opportunity to eliminate al Qaeda....A new al Qaeda has emerged and is growing stronger, in part because of our own actions and inactions. It is in many ways a tougher opponent than the original threat we faced before September 11, and we are not doing what is necessary to make America safe from that threat."
No one has more authority to make that claim than Richard Clarke, the former counterterrorism czar for both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. The one person who knows more about Usama bin Laden and al Qaeda than anyone else in this country, he has devoted two decades of his professional life to combating terrorism. Richard Clarke served seven presidents and worked inside the White House for George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush until he resigned in March 2003. He knows, better than anyone, the hidden successes and failures of the Clinton years. He knows, better than anyone, why we failed to prevent 9/11. He knows, better than anyone, how President Bush reacted to the attack and what happened behind the scenes in the days that followed. He knows whether or not Iraq presented a terrorist threat to the United States and whether there were hidden costs to the invasion of that country.
Most disturbing of all are Clarke's revelations about the Bush administration's lack of interest in al Qaeda prior to September 11. From the moment the Bush team took office and decided to retain Clarke in his post as the counterterrorism czar, Clarke tried to persuade them to take al Qaeda as seriously as had Bill Clinton. For months, he was denied the opportunity even to make his case to Bush. He encountered key officials who gave the impression that they had never heard of al Qaeda; who focused incessantly on Iraq; who even advocated long-discredited conspiracy theories about Saddam's involvement in previous attacks on the United States.
Clarke was the nation's crisis manager on 9/11, running the Situation Room — a scene described here for the first time — and then watched in dismay at what followed. After ignoring existing plans to attack al Qaeda when he first took office, George Bush made disastrous decisions when he finally did pay attention. Coming from a man known as one of the hard-liners against terrorists, Against All Enemies is both a powerful history of our two-decades-long confrontation with terrorism and a searing indictment of the current administration.
"[I]ncendiary....Clarke's brash manner is on full display in Against All Enemies, a searing portrait of missteps and misjudgments in the war on terror." Dan Eggen and Walter Pincus, The Washington Post
"[Against All Enemies] is a rarity among Washington-insider memoirs — it's a thumping good read....The first — and by far the best — chapter is a heart-stopping account of the turmoil inside the White House on the morning of Sept. 11..." James Risen, The New York Times
"This book won't come easily for the reader. You will have to work at it. But it's worth the work. Accept it or reject it, but read it." Lynell Burkett, San Antonio Express-News
"To those inclined to accept the smears of Clarke and his book by right-wing pundits and Republican activists, bear in mind the abundant external evidence that substantiates Clarke's 'insider' testimony." Walter C. Uhler, San Francisco Chronicle
"[T]here is...genuine passion in [Clarke's] descriptions of his fights over three decades with a lumbering, risk-averse federal bureaucracy, hobbled with committees and subcommittees charged with coming up with plans for more initiatives and agendas." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"[A] concise, fast-paced summary of the last two decades of U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle East and of the concomitant growth of terrorism against the United States." James Mann, Los Angeles Times
"No matter what political conclusions you draw from it and no matter what motives you think Clarke had for writing it, this is a book well worth reading." Margo Hammond, St. Petersburg Times
"Considering its anti-Bush bias, maybe Mr. Clarke's book should have been called Against One Enemy." Richard Miniter, Wall Street Journal
"Although news stories have focused on Clarke's attacks on Bush's preoccupation with the war in Iraq, much of his detailed yet accessible narrative is devoted to the history and rise of al-Qaeda." Nancy Pate, Orlando Sentinel
With all-new excerpts from Richard Clarke's dramatic public testimony, and revealing corroboration from The 9/11 Commission Report
"On the day of the meeting [September 4, 2001], Clarke sent Rice an impassioned personal note. He criticized U.S. counterterrorism efforts past and present. The 'real question' before the principals, he wrote, was 'are we serious about dealing with the al Qida threat?...Is al Qida a big deal?...Decision makers should imagine themselves on a future day when the CSG has not succeeded in stopping al Qida attacks and hundreds of Americans lay dead in several countries, including the US,' Clarke wrote. 'What would those decision makers wish that they had done earlier? That future day could happen at any time.'"
andlt;Bandgt;THE EXPLOSIVE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLERandlt;/Bandgt; andlt;BRandgt; With all-new excerpts from Richard Clarke's dramatic public testimony, and revealing corroboration from The 9/11 Commission Report andlt;BRandgt; andlt;Bandgt;From the 9/11 Commission Report:andlt;/Bandgt; andlt;BRandgt; "On the day of the meeting [September 4, 2001], Clarke sent Rice an impassioned personal note. He criticized U.S. counterterrorism efforts past and present. The 'real question' before the principals, he wrote, was 'are we serious about dealing with the al Qida threat?...Is al Qida a big deal?...andlt;Iandgt;Decision makers should imagine themselves on a future day when the CSG has not succeeded in stopping al Qida attacks and hundreds of Americans lay dead in several countries, including the US,'andlt;/Iandgt; Clarke wrote. 'What would those decision makers wish that they had done earlier? That future day could happen at any time.'"
About the Author
Richard A. Clarke was appointed by President Clinton as the first National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism in May 1998, and continued in that position under George W. Bush. Until March 2003 he was a career member of the Senior Executive Service, having begun his federal service in 1973 in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as an analyst on nuclear weapons and European security issues. In the Reagan Administration, Mr. Clarke was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence. In the first Bush Administration, he was the Assistant Secretary of State for Politico-Military Affairs and then a member of his NSC Staff. He served for eight years as a Special Assistant to President Clinton and served as National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism for both President Clinton and President George W. Bush. From 2001 to 2003, he was the Special Advisor to the President for Cyberspace Security and Chairman of the President's Critical Infrastructure Protection Board. He is now chairman of Good Harbor Consulting.
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