Against All Enemies


by Richard Clarke (Free Press)


(This column first appeared in the July 15, 2004 issue of ArtVoice of Buffalo.)


According to a recent poll, the Bush administration has been able to convince half of the nation that their former counterterrorism czar, Richard Clarke, is a liar. Clearly, few of those people have read Clarke's Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror. Once again, as with John O'Neill and others, we have a Republican insider who criticizes our nation's leadership and is pilloried for his insights. In this book, Clarke describes not only recent events but those running all the way back to the time he served Ronald Reagan. I found him humorous, self-critical and as generous in his praise of his colleagues as he is cutting about, most often, agencies like the FBI, the CIA and the Air Force. Individual failures come across by comparison of what they did with what others did and this is where Bush doesn't measure up to Clinton or Condoleezza Rice to her predecessor, Sandy Berger. Clarke makes it very clear through many examples that the current president and his insiders had pre-conceived self-serving answers for which they constructed rationales. You can learn much from this book about how we are manipulated. For example, Clarke says, "Clinton was blamed for a 'Wag the Dog' strategy dealing with the real threat from al Qaeda but no one labeled Bush's war on Iraq as a 'Wag the Dog' move even though the 'crisis' was manufactured and Karl Rove was telling Republicans to 'run on the war.'"-- Gerry Rising