Some observers see the global political landscape as a complex amalgam of divergent worldviews, shades of gray that usually move in harmony but sometimes collide with violent results. David Frum and Richard Perle, authors of An End to Evil think it's a great deal simpler than that: the United States is good, those who pose a threat, current or future, are evil and must be neutralized or destroyed. Frum, the former speechwriter for George W. Bush credited with coining the term "axis of evil," and Perle, a former assistant Secretary of Defense who was still serving on the Defense Policy Board at the time this book was published, advocate an aggressive, activist approach to stomping out terrorism both within America's borders and in other countries as well. Their plan, described with forceful and urgent language, calls for the United States to overthrow the government of Iran, abandon support of a Palestinian state, blockade North Korea, use strong-arm tactics with Syria and China, disregard much of Europe as allies, and sever ties with Saudi Arabia. Domestically, the authors say, several federal agencies need to be overhauled, a national ID card system needs to be put in place, and the government and its citizens need to realize the gravity of the terrorist threat and step up the effort, as the title indicates, to end evil. Frum and Perle place blame for American ineffectiveness in the fight against terrorism on some political targets one would expect (Congressional Democrats, Bill Clinton) but also point fingers at the present-day intelligence community and even the State Department. It's a broad-ranging political opinion book--one might even use the words "screed" or "manifesto." Perhaps because it tries to cover so much ground, the individually compelling arguments don't hold together as coherently as one might hope. Still, for those who believe that the threat of terrorism is immense and that not nearly enough is being done about it, Frum and Perle offer a stirring call to arms. --Charlie Williams
From Publishers Weekly
From one former and one present Bush staffer comes a highly charged domestic and foreign policy manifesto for dealing with the terrorist threat. In delivering their "manual for victory" for the war on terror, Frum (The Right Man) and Perle (a member of the Defense Policy Board) urge "a new commitment to security at home, a new audacity in our strategy abroad, and a new boldness in the advocacy of American ideals." In direct, often bulleted prose, the authors voice strong support for President Bush's current policies and initiatives, including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and for his policy of preemptive strikes where there is a perceived threat. They also push for a more vigilant "self-policed" America, the use of national ID cards, unwavering support for Israel, a hard line with Libya, Syria and the Saudis, and indifference toward European governments that stand in our way. The book's most compelling argument, however, is for the need to reform the bureaucracy that failed us on 9/11-this includes both the CIA and the FBI, as well as the need to better enforce existing immigration laws. Despite the authors' insider resumes, little here is groundbreaking. Many of their opinions and arguments are those debated daily in the media. The book is also highly partisan-former President Clinton is treated with contempt, described as "weak-willed" and "lacking the character" to deal properly with the budding threat posed by Osama bin Laden or with Saddam Hussein's expulsion of U.N. inspectors. Nevertheless, this is a comprehensive, no-nonsense primer on the conservative approach to handling the terrorist threat.
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