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171 of 220 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forgery is old news--focus on the loss of morality, August 7, 2008
This review is from: The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism (Hardcover)
EDIT of 3 Sep 08 to add CIA published denial and attack, and comment from Association of Former Intelligence Officers, as a comment.

I have reviewed all the books linked to below, and my reviews of those books will add depth to this review.

Ron Suskind's first book on the current Administration, The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America's Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11 was extraordinary for its deep look at Dick Cheney and how since his Ford days, he has always favored unfettered Executive power and has never, in every Continuity of Government exercise, NEVER, given any thought to Congress. He ALWAYS went for an Executive dictatorship that used "war powers" to overturn the Constitution and every single civil liberty. However, the better books on Cheney (25 documented high crimes) and Bush (a tragedy within a farce) are these:

Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency
The Bush Tragedy

The media and the other reviewers are placing excessive emphasis on the forgery. This is old news. Vaclav Havel, former President of Czechoslovakia, personally said that the White House claims that Iraqi intelligence met Al Qaeda in his country were false. The son in law of Sadaam Hussein who defected asserted, very credibly (and without torture) that the regime kept the cookbooks, destroyed the stocks (Army intelligence tells me they poured so much stuff into the river the future of those downstream is very scary), and were bluffing for regional influence's sake). The fact is that in addition to Cheney's 25 high crimes, there were 935 documented lies told by the White House, and their lack of ethics, integrity, and respect for the Constitution is now beyond repudiation. See for example:

State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration
A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the Abuse of America's Intelligence Agencies
Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush's War on Iraq

I continue to be astonished that citizens of the US are not burning tires in the streets and surrounding the White House demanding the immediate exile of Dick Cheney and the appointment of a care taker Vice President, at a time when open source intelligence (OSINT) is telling all of us, and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) that Dick Cheney has promised Israel the US will nuke the Iranians between November 2008 and January 2009.

The core value of this book is NOT in the forgery, which is old news, but in the broad picture it paints of a Republic that has become a Third World dictatorship in which Cheney calls the shots, Congress is complaint (both parties be damned, the Republicans for being collaborators, the Democrats for being doormats), the war loots the individual taxpayer for Halliburton's financial benefit, and brave Americans die for an illegal, immoral war justified by a cadre of liars: Cheney, Rice, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, and Feith.

I read a a great deal--an almost fruitless attempt to remain sane in a time of mass insanity--and what I admire most about this author and this book is his broad focus on morality, civil liberties, and the values that differentiate true conservatives who read and value philosophy--and liberals who parrot phrases they do not understand. This is SERIOUS stuff!

In support of this author's "brief" to We the People, who should all be absorbing and then acting upon his message of paradise lost, I can only point to four more books within my Amazon limit, but urge all to look at my lists of books on evaluating Dick Cheney, on the case for impeachment, and on strategy, emerging threats, and anti-Americanism for good reason.

Will and Ariel DurantThe Lessons of History, a capstone volume on their 10-volume History of Civilization, tell us that MORALITY is a strategic asset that is priceless. Ron Suskind is right on target when he points out that it is this aspect--the loss of our national morality--that distinguishes the Bush-Cheney regime. Other Presidents have lied, cheated, and stolen, but this is the first in modern history to combine BOTH global imperialism AND domestic subversion on a scale that makes Richard Nixon look like a novice.

Max Manwaring, contributing editor of The Search for Security: A U.S. Grand Strategy for the Twenty-First Century, and his distingusihed authors, make the point that LEGITIMACY is the single most priceless asset for any government, for it empowers citizens and enables commerce, innovation, and civil society.

Ambassador Mark Palmer, author of Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World's Last Dictators by 2025 points out that the US is not respected nor trusted in part because the Bush-Cheney Administration has chosen to be best pals with all but two of the 44 dictators in the world. Rendition, torture, warrantless wiretaping at home (including Guantanamo); deep secret and financial relations--at our expense--with 42 dictators busy looting and terrorizing their publics. Go figure....

Much of what the author has brought together is not new for those of us that continually monitor and agonize over crimes against the Republic, but I have to give him credit for crafting an elegant presentation that makes his book a moving and hence essential wake up call for the Republic. The people are NOT sovereign today, the people are sheep whose civil liberties, freedom of expression, right to bear arms, even their right to assemble, are all under attack.

With my final link, choosing from over 1,000 candidates, I conclude with a strong recommendation for the book Fixing Failed States: A Framework for Rebuilding a Fractured World. America is a failed state, and it is not just Noam Chomsky and Chalmers Johnson that are saying this, but also true conservatives steeped in thinking and integrity who are aghast at both the crimes of this Administration "in our name," and the two clowns we have running for President, neither of whom can produce a strategy to restore America in the face of the ten high-level threats to humanity, a coherent policy matrix (twelve policies from Agriculture to Water), or a draft balanced budget and notional Cabinet proving they have a clue. They do not.

The USA has become a Third World nation. We let it happen by abdicating our moral and civic responsibilities as citizens of a Republic. Right now, regardless of who "wins" in November, we all lose. THAT is the point of this great book. The Republic is adrift and sinking fast.

Learn how to do public intelligence in the public interest at Earth Intelligence Network. It's time we take back the power.
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Showing 1-10 of 22 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 7, 2008 5:04:58 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 7, 2008 5:06:22 PM PDT
This is an interesting review by an expert on national security issues and especially the U.S. Intelligence System. I haven't read Susskind's book and so will have to defer to those who have read it. I would like to say, however, that Steele's claim that the U.S. is slipping into a third world status, like many of his observations is a lot more accurate than generally realized. I returned to the U.S. after some years of living in Belgium, I felt I had just landed in the former Belgian Congo. I found a corrupt federal government, corrupt and inefficient police forces, a crumbling infra-structure, ineffective local government, a health care system near collapse, and an increasingly violent society with gangs of youths (often armed) terrorizing neighborhoods and public places like mauls. I am not sure that I would blame all this on the two party system, but it sure hasn't helped the situation

Posted on Aug 8, 2008 12:27:34 PM PDT
K. Thornton says:
May I suggest you add Crossing the Rubicon to your list of books?

Posted on Aug 8, 2008 12:48:53 PM PDT
B. Wysowski says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Aug 8, 2008 11:15:34 PM PDT
DB says:
the us is a third world nation? i dont think people living in 3rd world poverty trying to dream of being here would agree with that notion very much

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 9, 2008 2:09:32 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jun 23, 2009 2:39:29 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 9, 2008 2:14:26 PM PDT
I have lived 20 of my 56 years in the USA, visited 19 small towns across America courtesy of the American Committee on Foreign Relations, and spent the rest of my life in Third World nations, some of which are now Second World (e.g Vietnam, Singapore which is in a class by itself, and so on).

When I say something like "The USA has become a Third World Nation," I would hope readers would take that in context. I won't spend a lot of time on this, but in the context of our wages now being lower than they were in equivalent terms in the 1960's, our infrastructure and light industry gone, our agriculture corrupt to grow corn we cannot ead for cattle that put disease into spinach via their feces (Amazon does not allow the S-word), our schools collapsing and substandard, the gap between rich and poor ever growing, the middle class destroyed, blue collar labor destroyed, the list is long. We the People have been ripped off by the Federal Reserve (which is neither Federal nor a Reserve--it is a front for hijacking the economy to benefit banks, credit card companies, mortgage companies, and big corporations)....there is not enough room here. However, if you visit Earth Intelligence Network to gain an understanding of the strategic global analytic framework our non-profit is putting forward for citizens, and you then read all of my reviews, you might see the validity of my comment in the larger time, space, and funding context.

Best wishes,
Robert

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 10, 2008 1:54:44 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 10, 2008 2:46:39 AM PDT
I am an Australian but I think a lot of Mr Steele's comments apply to countries other than the USA.

Is the US becoming a Third World Nation? Probably not per se. But parts of it are already. Some regions and sections of US cities are positively from the third world. And the US Heath Care system is worse than some Third World countries for the uninsured judging by some indicators like infant mortality.

Whether or not the US is a Third World Nation depends a lot on where you live and what you do for a living. If you are well off, have a good job that is connected to the global economy you are ok. If you are part of the growing underclass life is not so good.

Thomas Barnett needs to redraw his "Pentagon's New Map" to take account of the fact that whole areas within a country, even one as developed as the US, can be part of the unconnected "Gap" while similar enclaves of "The Core" can exist even in developing countries. Mentally the level of an individuals connection to the global economy will determine how they relate to other people and groups. Alvin Toffler described it well in an old Wired Article "Shock Wave (Anti) Warrior" [Google, the article is still available online].

"The master conflict of the 21st century will not between cultures but between the three supercivilizations - between agrarianism and industrialism and post- industrialism.
Each of these have different interests. They need different resources. They view reality from different perspectives. Even their conceptions of time, and of history, differ. "

According to a friend of mine who does rural development here in Cambodia young adults who have been educated in the city are almost unable to communicate with rural Khmer people. They have more in common with youth from other parts of the world.

Robert D. Kaplan describes similar conceptual gaps within the US in his book "An Empire Wilderness: Travels into America's Future". The 'class' to watch are the military who are for the most part professionals who make up a separate caste who (and in the majority of cases at least in the junior pay grades) have a set of values beyond enriching themselves. From Kaplan's book:

"Officers at Leavenworth read The Economist and Foreign Affairs, and watch the The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer, but that doesn't mean they interpret the information the way civilian policymakers and people in the media do. However sophisticated the reading lists, many of the people doing the reading here come from rural, blue-collar America. As soldiers, they live in materially poor conditions, especially compared with people who spend their lives in the affluent Washington suburbs."

Seeing that the military are on the receiving end of the insanity inflicted by Military-Industrial-Prison-Healthcare Fraud complex the Washington elite may wish to review a letter home written by the ancient Roman Centurion Marcus Flavinius:

"We had been told, on leaving our native soil, that we were going to defend the sacred rights conferred on us by so many of our citizens settled overseas, so many years of our presence, so many benefits brought by us to populations in need of our assistance and our civilisation.

We were able to verify that all this was true, and because it was true we did not hesitate to shed our quota of blood, to sacrifice our youth and our hopes. We regretted nothing, but whereas we over here are inspired by this frame of mind, I am told that in Rome factions and conspiracies are rife, that treachery flourishes, and that many people in their uncertainty and confusion lend a ready ear to the dire temptations of surrender . . . Make haste to reassure me, I beg you, and tell me that our fellow citizens understand us, support us and protect us as we ourselves are protecting the glory of the Empire.

If it should prove otherwise, if we should have to leave our bleached bones on these desert sand in vain, then beware of the anger of the legions."

[The source for the quote was "The Centurions" by Jean Larteguy. Why can't a smart publisher release a new edition of "The Centurions" with a suitable introduction by Ralph Peters or Robert D. Kaplan]

Posted on Aug 10, 2008 10:37:06 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 11, 2008 12:17:09 AM PDT
z_bookworm says:
The credibility of your review is impaired by your stated belief that conservatives have a monopoly on reading and critical intelligence, i.e. "the values that differentiate true conservatives who read and value philosophy--and liberals who parrot phrases they do not understand". The remark is gratuitously hostile in that it does not even deal with the subject of Suskind's book. Furthermore, an examination of amazon.com reviews of the books you recommend shows that the majority of those reviews are by liberals. It would take a book to comment on liberal authors and economists who have carefully thought out and well-grounded analyses of important subjects. Are you perhaps feeling defensive because the perpetrators of the treasonous acts Suskind writes about are self-proclaimed conservatives? At any rate, you are one seriously confused person whose reviews I will skip in the future.

Posted on Aug 12, 2008 10:02:09 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Aug 12, 2008 10:17:39 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 12, 2008 3:00:44 PM PDT
Brilliant contribution, thank you. I was last in Australia for the 1998 Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) conference organized by LtCol Ian Wing (today Dr. Wing), eager to find a reason to come back. Thank you for the extensive comment!
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