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Few political memoirs have made such a dramatic entrance as that by Richard A. Clarke. During the week of the initial publication ofAgainst All Enemies, Clarke was featured on60 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 Enemiestakes 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
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ISBN-10:  0743260244
ISBN-13:  978-0743260244
Author:  Richard A. Clarke
Genre:  Nonfiction
Publisher:  Free Press
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review by . March 21, 2009
"Later, on the evening of the 12th, I left the Video Conferencing Center and there, wandering alone around the Situation Room, was the President. He looked like he wanted something to do. He grabbed a few of us and closed the door to the conference room. "Look," he told us, "I know you have a  lot to do and all ... but I want you, as soon as you can, to go back over everything, everything. See if Saddam did this. See if he's linked in any way..."    I was once again taken …
review by . July 07, 2005
This book by Richard Clarke offers insight into America's involvement with terrorists and terrorist groups as witnessed by a person who saw it firsthand over the last two decades. The book begins with a recollection of events on September 11, 2001, goes back through the history and events leading up to it, and finishes with a commentary on the Second Gulf War and the Bush Administration's foreign policy.     This book is worth reading for numerous reasons. First, the subject …
review by . August 17, 2004
Pros: Written from the basis of verifiable facts, not supposition, or opinion.     Cons: None     The Bottom Line: By writing Against All Enemies; Inside America’s War on Terror Richard Clarke has attempted to inform the American public about our government’s failures to protect us against terrorism.     Richard Clarke closes his much (wrongly) maligned book Against All Enemies; Inside America’s War on Terror with the following paragraph: …
review by . August 07, 2004
Clarke served as a senior official in the Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, and Bush 43 administrations, specializing in terrorism. In Against All Enemies, he examines the policies and initiatives of each in response to that global threat. He is especially critical of the current administration, charging that President Bush and his key advisors (notably Vice President Cheney, Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz) essentially ignored Al-Quaeda prior to September 11th (2001) and …
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