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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror » User review

Where are the references?

  • Jul 7, 2005
Rating:
+1
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 itself is something that most Americans need to know a lot more about; their government's role in combating terrorism, past and present. Second, the author is one of the few Americans who actually know a lot about this subject from personal experience. As such, this book should be on the short list for any American wanting to know more about Middle East terrorism and its affects on the US. Related to this, the author has also served under several different Presidential administrations, adding an air of impartiality to his knowledge. Third, the book is fairly balanced in giving the views and explaining the actions of various groups and countries; the French, English, Germans, Chinese, Japanese, Russians, NATO, the UN, and of course Democrats and Republicans in the USA. Last, the book gives a succinct but fairly complete description of how Al Qaeda came about, its goals, and how it came to hate America. This includes a history of the Afghan War, the First Gulf War and how it provoked Bin Laden, the role of Al Qaeda in the Balkans during the 1990s, in Somalia in 1993, and in the current domestic troubles of Saudi Arabia.

The primary drawback about this book is its complete and total lack of references. Yes, the author relates a lot of events from personal knowledge, but he also states a lot of things that he himself was not involved in. Both of these should be referenced, whether it is to government documents, press releases, trial documents, newspaper clippings, other books, etc... For example, the author spends some time going over Reagan's deployment of Marines to Beirut, the terrorist attack on them, and Reagan's ensuing withdrawal of American military presence from there. I do not recall the author stating that he was involved in these decisions; therefore he is stating them as second-hand knowledge. This then calls for references to more complete texts on the subject. For a subject matter as important and for the accusations the author makes; i.e. the Bush Administration of 2000 - onwards has done a bad job fighting Al Qaeda, the author needs should have included a lot of references to back it all up. For such a glaring omission, I cannot give this book 5 or even 4 stars, but only three stars.


But read it anyways

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Newton Ooi ()
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Hi everyone, so here is the rundown of me. I like reading and writing, nonfiction for both. I love movies, especially original ones. I like nonfiction music, eating out, and basketball. I love to travel, … more
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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 ...
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Details

ISBN-10: 0743260244
ISBN-13: 978-0743260244
Author: Richard A. Clarke
Genre: Nonfiction
Publisher: Free Press
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