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Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War…
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Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror (2004)

by Richard A. Clarke

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This is a very interesting and compelling account of Clark's experiences in counter-terrorism in the decade or so leading up to 9-11. Clark's main point is that U.S. leadership was slow to wake up to the threat, especially Republicans. He has some criticism for Clinton but generally gives him good marks for attempting to institute a comprehensive program.

Clark savages the Bush (43) Administration, saying that Bush used 9-11 to fulfill long-held agenda items, including invading Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9-11. Clark puts the blame on a conspiracy theory that linked Hussein to the 1993 WTC bombings and subsequent Al Qaeda attacks, links which had no evidence to support them. He also criticizes Bush for his cheapness, refusing to put substantial resources into the war in Afghanistan because he was saving them for Iraq. He also comments that the newly formed DHS was also done on the cheap, making a flawed project that much harder. In essence, he argues that Bush wasn't serious about defeating terrorism because he didn't take time to understand the problem and didn't want to spend the money to counter it.

It is remember that this is a memoir and like most memoirs, it paints the author in a good like while taking shots (in this case with howitzers) at the people he didn't like. So take it with a big grain of salt. But with that said, it is difficult for anyone who reads the book to think highly of George W. Bush or his administration, and even harder to take their national security policy seriously. ( )
  Scapegoats | Nov 24, 2018 |
To Dick
+ Judy

Dick Clarke
  chestergap | Oct 3, 2018 |
Now long outdated, this was a useful guide to the politics and conflicting priorities that plagued our foreign affairs and national security community in dealing with the thread of terrorism. ( )
  nmele | Sep 7, 2017 |
Inside the White House's War on Terror - what really happened
  jhawn | Jul 31, 2017 |
Excellent and level headed analysis. ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
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The explosive details about President Bush's obsession with Iraq in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks captured the headlines in the days after the book's release, but ''Against All Enemies'' offers more. It is a rarity among Washington-insider memoirs -- it's a thumping good read.
 
Bush and Blair have long given up hope of salvaging any political advantage from Iraq. The latest inquiries in Washington and London over weapons of mass destruction and the flawed intelligence of the last several years will cause them further damage. The jigsaw is painstakingly being put together. Whatever his motivation, whatever his timing, Clarke has provided some invaluable new pieces.
added by Lemeritus | editThe Guardian, John Kampfner (Mar 27, 2004)
 
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743260244, Hardcover)

Few political memoirs have made such a dramatic entrance as that by Richard A. Clarke. During the week of the initial publication of Against All Enemies, Clarke was featured on 60 Minutes, testified before the 9/11 commission, and touched off a raging controversy over how the presidential administration handled the threat of terrorism and the post-9/11 geopolitical landscape. Clarke, a veteran Washington insider who had advised presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush, dissects each man's approach to terrorism but levels the harshest criticism at the latter Bush and his advisors who, Clarke asserts, failed to take terrorism and Al-Qaeda seriously. Clarke details how, in light of mounting intelligence of the danger Al-Qaeda presented, his urgent requests to move terrorism up the list of priorities in the early days of the administration were met with apathy and procrastination and how, after the attacks took place, Bush and key figures such as Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and Dick Cheney turned their attention almost immediately to Iraq, a nation not involved in the attacks. Against All Enemies takes the reader inside the Beltway beginning with the Reagan administration, who failed to retaliate against the 1982 Beirut bombings, fueling the perception around the world that the United States was vulnerable to such attacks. Terrorism becomes a growing but largely ignored threat under the first President Bush, whom Clarke cites for his failure to eliminate Saddam Hussein, thereby necessitating a continued American presence in Saudi Arabia that further inflamed anti-American sentiment. Clinton, according to Clarke, understood the gravity of the situation and became increasingly obsessed with stopping Al-Qaeda. He had developed workable plans but was hamstrung by political infighting and the sex scandal that led to his impeachment. But Bush and his advisers, Clarke says, didn't get it before 9/11 and they didn't get it after, taking a unilateral approach that seemed destined to lead to more attacks on Americans and American interests around the world. Clarke's inside accounts of what happens in the corridors of power are fascinating and the book, written in a compelling, highly readable style, at times almost seems like a fiction thriller. But the threat of terrorism and the consequences of Bush's approach to it feel very sobering and very real. --John Moe

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:43 -0400)

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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. 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. 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. 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.… (more)

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