- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (December 30, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1400061946
- ISBN-13: 978-1400061945
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 101 customer reviews
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#2,718,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #1888 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Specific Topics > War & Peace
- #4807 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Specific Topics > Terrorism
- #5102 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > International & World Politics > Security
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An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror Hardcover – December 30, 2003
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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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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A blatant parochialism is evident in the suggestions in chapter 5: "The War Abroad". Concerning Iran (and other Islamic nations get the same sort of treatment) the suggestion is that governments are not legitimate if they are not democratic. For support of this thesis F&P use an ad populum - the American popular opinion. While they offer no support for their feeling that most Americans feel this way, this is a typical misappropriation of the social contract theory to those outside the scope of such social contracts - that may very well be a general feeling among relatively uneducated Americans. Apart from UN attempts to legitimize democracy as universal in scope to even those countries that are non-member states - or even member states that interpret the social contract differently, like China, there is certainly no coherent legitimating narrative supporting the argument that all people have rights as granted by our social contract when they do not belong to our nation state. Children in some foreign countries, like Sudan, can be legitimately sold as slaves, even by their parents, regardless of how abhorrent the practice is to Americans. Using this argument to support the overthrow of the legitimate government of Iran is no different than the Imams arguing that it would be right to overthrow our government because it does not follow Islamic Law. The real argument here, as they most closely follow through the book, is the point that we are at war with Islamic fundamentalism, Iran is a country ruled by Islamic fundamentalists, and so we ought to destroy the Islamic state - or any Islamic fundamentalist state. I would imagine it would also be right, to be coherent, for us to destroy any fundamentalist state regardless of their religion. Since that is not part of the narrative it looks very much like the view that it is us against them despite the suggestion that it is acceptable to use power to liberate them.
Since this epistle was published, Mr. Perle (leading Iraq war advocate 1996-2003) has avoided a definitive response to former SEC chairman Richard Breeden's committee allegations that his role as a key director enabled Lord Black to loot Hollinger (of $300 million). This was only the latest controversy in a resume that includes alleged self serving advocacy for Global Crossing, Loral, Boeing, and several others. All admirably preemptively defended by his Canadian co-author in the press (unmentioned in the book).
Mr. Perle resigned as Chair of the Defense Policy Board, then from the DPB altogether. One wonders if it was to deflect scrutiny over past comments ("In Iraq itself, his - Saddam's - downfall would be met with dancing in the streets" -- NYTimes 28 Dec 2001; "If we had to finance it ourselves, I think we would be better off doing that than inviting in those who were opposed to this war of liberation...But we won't have to finance it ourselves because happily, Iraq has very substantial indigenous resources that can be put to the service of rebuilding Iraq, and let me just observe in that connection, that there was very little damage from this war." -- AEI Coffee, 15 April 2003).
This book is well worth reading. It's lucid and well written. Mr. Frum is a talented advocate. In the end, it's value is as testimony to a failed (if not criminal) proposition.
Google the authors' contemporary public source comments over the years, compare them with current reality, and decide for yourself.
I wouldn't hire this pair to fix a toilet, let alone the world
Most recent customer reviews
The authors' notions of good and evil are laughable and simplistic.Read more