- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Free Press; 1st Edition. edition (March 22, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0743260244
- ISBN-13: 978-0743260244
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 476 customer reviews
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- #1384 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > United States > Executive Branch
- #1411 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Specific Topics > Terrorism
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Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror Hardcover – March 22, 2004
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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 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
From Publishers Weekly
From the first thrilling chapter, which takes readers into the White House center of operations on September 11, through his final negative assessment of George W. Bushs post-9/11 war on terror, Clarke, the U.S.s former terrorism czar, offers a complex and illuminating look into the successes and failures of the nations security apparatus. He offers charged (and, one must note, for himself triumphant) insider scenes, such as when he scared the devil out of Clintons Cabinet to motivate them to fight terrorism. The media has understandably focused on Clarkes charge that Bush neglected terrorism before the attacks on New York and Washington; but Clarke also offers a longer perspective on the issue, going back to the first Gulf War (when he was an assistant secretary of state) and makes some stunning revelations. One of the latter is that the U.S. came close to war with Iran over that countrys role in the terrorist bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996. An important aspect of Clarkes book is that it is only one mans accountand an account moreover that casts its author as hero and others (FBI, CIA, the military) as screw-ups; as has been seen in recent congressional hearings, administration officials (notably, Condoleezza Rice) have challenged its veracity. But those inclined to believe Clarke will find that he makes a devastating case about the Bush administrations failure from the beginning (when Clarkes position was downgraded and he was taken off the top-level Principals Committee) to make terrorism as high a priority as Clintons did. In the face of the Bush teams claim that they didnt know about a threat to the homeland, readers will be haunted by two small words: after mobilizing to confront the Millennium terror threat, Clarke reached what seemed to him the obvious conclusion regarding al-Qaeda: "Theyre here."
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Every American should read Clarke's book. Not one of the principle actors in this tragedy have been able to refute anything he has written, yet Americans still believe the lies told by Cheney and FoxNews to this day. How does this honor the victims of 911 and all the service members killed and hideously maimed in the Bush wars? The Bush apologists are currently advising Rubio and he would launch another war if he gets elected, and our economy would tank and we would create millions more enemies. But the defense industry would clean up again. What is wrong with Americans? Are they really this stupid? Read this book NO MATTER WHAT your political views are. Read it because you are an American and have a responsibility to know what happened, so it does not happen again.
"Against All Enemies" is a fascinating book about the recent history of terrorism during the presidential years of Bush senior, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush from the point of view from insider and counterterrorism czar Richard A. Clarke. This 352-page book is composed of the following eleven chapters: 1.Evacuate the White House, 2. Stumbling into the Islamic World, 3. Unfinished Mission, Unintended Consequences, 4. Terror Returns (1993 - 1996), 5. The Almost War, 1996, 6. Al Qaeda Revealed, 7. Beginning Homeland Protection, 8. Delenda Est, 9. Millennium Alert, 10. Before and After September 11, and 11. Right War, Wrong War.
1. A well-written page turner of a book from a true insider. It reads like a great spy novel.
2. A fascinating look at the history of recent terrorist acts and our responses from the inside.
3. The book starts off like a great action flick but one based on the tragic reality of 911.
4. A critical look at our nation's intelligence apparatus.
5. An interesting look at the contrast of approaches between Presidents. Very few people have this kind of insight and are able to share this kind of information in a direct, even handed manner as well as Mr. Clarke has.
6. This is truly an enlightening book and worthy of a true insider with knowledge.
7. Mr. Clarke is critical but he is also respectful. His criticism is based on policy, and not on ad hominem attacks.
8. The strategic mistakes of the Bush administration come to light.
9. Based on other books that I have read in the past, this book is quite credible and reasonable. The information provided seems to be the best based on corroborating evidence provided by other subject matter experts like George Tenet for instance.
10. The interesting yet flawed obsession with Iraq.
11. So many missed opportunities...including eliminating al Qaeda when the opportunity was there.
12. Interesting history of how bin Laden came to be.
13. A history of "lessons learned" from past policies, including during the Reagan years.
14. Interesting revelations. Including one in which the Ambassador in Kuwait which stated that the Kuwaitis were covering up a plot that they had foiled consisting of an attempt on the life of Bush.
15. The real skinny behind political decisions.
16. Some conspiracy theories debunked.
17. How the eight-year war between Iraq and Iran ended, irony indeed.
18. Some presidential misconceptions debunked.
19. Follow the money...
20. The threat of biological weapons.
21. A detailed account on how a multi-agency exercise results in interesting lessons.
22. "Wag the Dog" strategy.
23. An FBI that was not well equipped...interesting.
24. Al Qaeda defined.
25. The evolving politics of going after al Qaeda.
26. A comprehensive counterterrorism agenda defined. Excellent.
27. The birth of Homeland Security and the trials and tribulations of defining it.
28. The surprising lack of funding to assist cities after the 911 attacks.
29. Sound and logical criticism of the approach to go after Iraq instead of the Taliban backed al Qaeda and the ramifications of such decisions.
30. It's clear, Iraq had nothing to do with 911.
31. The understanding of how the invasion of Iraq increased support for al Qaeda.
32. Interesting read from cover to cover.
1. The biggest negative of this otherwise insightful book was the lack of a notes and bibliography sections.
2. Perhaps some unnecessary shots taken at George W. Bush at the end of the book but overall I felt the book was fair.
3. Books like this will always favor the author's perspective. Very few times where the author takes blame for mistakes he has made.
4. The author appears to hold a grudge but is careful to be fair of the historical accounts.
In summary, "Against All Enemies" is a fascinating historical read. I highly recommend this book. Mr. Clarke has written one of the most insightful books about terrorism.
I remember when Clarke, a career Civil Servant who has served under four Presidents released this book. The Republican pundits and Bush Administration officials alike, lined up in lockstep spreading all sorts of malicious trash about the man in an effort to undermine his creditability and question his motivations. Nowhere were theses attacks on Clarke more vicious then on Fox News. To a certain extent the attacks worked, insofar as not enough Americans have read this book, and took to heart its message. And we all need to read this book; that is if we truly care about our national safety.
In "Against All Enemies; Inside America's War on Terror" Clarke says that he is telling a personal story, one that led him first to the Sate Department where he held a number of high ranking positions, the then to the White House where he worked the counterterrorism problem for some ten year, under three different Presidents, becoming the first Director of Counterterrorism under Clinton. If anyone knows how Usama bin Laden and his ever growing gang of murders think, it is him, and those who served with and under him. As far as I can tell he has no agenda other than the truth and the safeguarding of America.
What I learned by reading "Against All Enemies; Inside America's War on Terror" is the startling, and often troubling history of our governments struggle against fundamentalist Islam, a struggle that begin with the ineffectual responses by President Reagan. I was in the military at the time the Marines barracks was bombed and could never understand why we didn't respond to the bombing in like kind, despite the massive lose of life (what is little known is that the Marines were told not to chamber rounds in their rivals and had no clips in their guns when they were attacked). Now I understand our response, or lack thereof, and the disastrous consequences that have ensued.
Clarke lays it all out in easy to verify facts that paint a picture of neglect from Reagan to Bush Jr. Many Republicans have decried his treatment of Clinton in the book, stating that he let Clinton off the hook. Never mind that what Clinton did during his tenure is a matter of fact. But Clarke does not let Clinton off the hook, he is critical of the former President for not leaning on the CIA and FBI enough, and for allowing the Monica Lewinski scandal to diminish his political capital.
Critics had tended to focus on his treatment of Bush Jr., and true Clarke has few kind things to say about him, but Bush flubbing of the War against Terror are well documented. What Clarke does is give us a behind the scenes look at what Bush's ill conceived decision to invade Iraq have done to U.S. security, and the over all War on Terror, and why after three years of fighting in Afghanistan we are not safer as a nation.
Then too Clarke writes volumes about the failures in the FBI, CIA, State Department, Justice Department etc. to take the terrorist threat seriously enough to end the incessant infighting long enough to form a united front and do something about it. And this was never more pervasive then under the current Bush Administration, where, yes, terrorism was not on the front burner until the tragedy of 9/11.
It is clear after reading the book, that our (Americans in general) ignorance of the fundamentalism Islamic movement might well be our undoing. They do have an agenda, and it is not just to kill Americans, it is world domination as absurd as that may sound. But in "Against All Enemies; Inside America's War on Terror", Clarke makes a convincing case that this is Usama's and his followers intent, their long sought after goal, and a study of Islam and it spread at the fall of the Roman Empire will bear him out.
We are at a crucial nexus in our nation's history. Vexing problems beset out society from within and without and this general election is perhaps the most important in our Republic's history. I do not hide my distain for the sitting President and his Administration. I believe they have endangered this country with arrogance, inept leadership, and a plentitude of unwise decisions most of which have left the United States in a position of being scorned, ridiculed, disrespected and feared. We owe it to ourselves, or children, and each other to go into this election armed with knowledge and understanding; in short to be informed and informed well.
By writing "Against All Enemies; Inside America's War on Terror" Richard Clarke has attempted to do just that, inform the American public. I implore you not to dismiss this book out of hand out of loyalty to Party; read it with an objective eye, and open mind. The future of the Republic depends on an informed electorate, be informed!