Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror

Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror

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by Richard A. Clarke
     
 

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"The [Bush] administration has squandered the opportunity to eliminate al Qaeda....A new al Qaeda has emerged and is growing stronger, in part because of our own actions and inactions. It is in many ways a tougher opponent than the original threat we faced before September 11, and we are not doing what is necessary to make America safe from that threat."
No one

Overview

"The [Bush] administration has squandered the opportunity to eliminate al Qaeda....A new al Qaeda has emerged and is growing stronger, in part because of our own actions and inactions. It is in many ways a tougher opponent than the original threat we faced before September 11, and we are not doing what is necessary to make America safe from that threat."
No one has more authority to make that claim than Richard Clarke, the former counterterrorism czar for both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. The one person who knows more about Usama bin Laden and al Qaeda than anyone else in this country, he has devoted two decades of his professional life to combating terrorism. Richard Clarke served seven presidents and worked inside the White House for George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush until he resigned in March 2003. He knows, better than anyone, the hidden successes and failures of the Clinton years. He knows, better than anyone, why we failed to prevent 9/11. He knows, better than anyone, how President Bush reacted to the attack and what happened behind the scenes in the days that followed. He knows whether or not Iraq presented a terrorist threat to the United States and whether there were hidden costs to the invasion of that country.
Most disturbing of all are Clarke's revelations about the Bush administration's lack of interest in al Qaeda prior to September 11. From the moment the Bush team took office and decided to retain Clarke in his post as the counterterrorism czar, Clarke tried to persuade them to take al Qaeda as seriously as had Bill Clinton. For months, he was denied the opportunity even to make his case to Bush. He encountered key officials who gave the impression that they had never heard of al Qaeda; who focused incessantly on Iraq; who even advocated long-discredited conspiracy theories about Saddam's involvement in previous attacks on the United States.
Clarke was the nation's crisis manager on 9/11, running the Situation Room -- a scene described here for the first time -- and then watched in dismay at what followed. After ignoring existing plans to attack al Qaeda when he first took office, George Bush made disastrous decisions when he finally did pay attention. Coming from a man known as one of the hard-liners against terrorists, Against All Enemies is both a powerful history of our two-decades-long confrontation with terrorism and a searing indictment of the current administration.

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
The Barnes & Noble Review
Sharply aimed at President George W. Bush and the strategies of his administration in the war on terror, this blistering attack comes not, as expected, from the liberal left -- rather it comes from White House insider Richard A. Clarke, former counterterrorism czar, national security counselor to three presidents (including Democrat Bill Clinton), and a trusted member of Bush's own advisory staff until May 2003. Sending seismic waves through political circles, Clarke paints an alarming picture of a newly minted administration of right-wing ideologues caught in an eight-year-time warp and utterly fixated on Iraq and Saddam Hussein. He describes how, prior to 9/11, the Bush White House turned a blind eye to repeated warnings about the threats posed by al Qaeda, choosing instead to focus on imagined Iraqi-sponsored terrorism. He recounts how, in the aftermath of the attacks, he was urged by the president to find a connection between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, even though such a link had been thoroughly investigated and discredited. And he chronicles a series of post-9/11 blunders, culminating in the abandonment of the hunt for bin Laden in order to pursue regime change in Iraq.

Although Clarke documents serious mistakes made by previous presidents -- notably Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton -- it is the younger Bush who gets the lion's share of blame for the breakdown of counterterrorism efforts. It is clear that Clarke believes the missteps of Bush's administration contributed, unwittingly, to the attacks of September 11th and that their continued Machiavellian manipulation has seriously endangered America's national security. Unlike so many left- and right-wing bestsellers written by and for converts, this book's incendiary power lies in the fact that its author's allegiance is not to a party -- although Clarke is a Republican -- but to the nation itself. It's a stance that makes this indictment all the more compelling.. Anne Markowski

Anne Markowski
Sharply aimed at President George W. Bush and the strategies of his administration in the war on terror, this blistering attack comes not, as expected, from the liberal left -- rather it comes from White House insider Richard A. Clarke, former counterterrorism czar, national security counselor to three presidents (including Democrat Bill Clinton), and a trusted member of Bush's own advisory staff until May 2003. Sending seismic waves through political circles, Clarke paints an alarming picture of a newly minted administration of right-wing ideologues caught in an eight-year-time warp and utterly fixated on Iraq and Saddam Hussein. He describes how, prior to 9/11, the Bush White House turned a blind eye to repeated warnings about the threats posed by al Qaeda, choosing instead to focus on imagined Iraqi-sponsored terrorism. He recounts how, in the aftermath of the attacks, he was urged by the president to find a connection between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, even though such a link had been thoroughly investigated and discredited. And he chronicles a series of post-9/11 blunders, culminating in the abandonment of the hunt for bin Laden in order to pursue regime change in Iraq.

Although Clarke documents serious mistakes made by previous presidents -- notably Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton -- it is the younger Bush who gets the lion's share of blame for the breakdown of counterterrorism efforts. It is clear that Clarke believes the missteps of Bush's administration contributed, unwittingly, to the attacks of September 11th and that their continued Machiavellian manipulation has seriously endangered America's national security. Unlike so many left- and right-wing bestsellers written by and for converts, this book's incendiary power lies in the fact that its author's allegiance is not to a party -- although Clarke is a Republican -- but to the nation itself. It's a stance that makes this indictment all the more compelling.

The Washington Post
… the bulk of the book seeks to fill in the considerable gaps in the White House record leading up to Sept. 11. Beginning with the Reagan administration's financial and military support of the mujaheddin who led the resistance to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Clarke shows how Washington's military and intelligence sachems consistently underestimated the threat that a growing global network of Islamic extremists posed to America's interests and security … Washington will be abuzz for some time over Clarke's recollections of the president's orders. But the real indictments in Against All Enemies involve the long policy background to those frantically barked directives. — Chris Lehmann
The New York Times
The explosive details about President Bush's obsession with Iraq in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks captured the headlines in the days after the book's release, but Against All Enemies offers more. It is a rarity among Washington-insider memoirs - it's a thumping good read.

The first - and by far the best - chapter is a heart-stopping account of the turmoil inside the White House on the morning of Sept. 11, when Washington suddenly came blinking into a bloody new world. I hope Clarke has sold the rights to Hollywood, at least for his opening chapter, because I would pay to see this movie. — James Risen

New York Times
The explosive details about President Bush's obsession with Iraq in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks captured the headlines in the days after the book's release, but Against All Enemies offers more. It is a rarity among Washington-insider memoirs - it's a thumping good read.

The first - and by far the best - chapter is a heart-stopping account of the turmoil inside the White House on the morning of Sept. 11, when Washington suddenly came blinking into a bloody new world. I hope Clarke has sold the rights to Hollywood, at least for his opening chapter, because I would pay to see this movie.
—(James Risen)

Washington Post
...the bulk of the book seeks to fill in the considerable gaps in the White House record leading up to Sept. 11. Beginning with the Reagan administration's financial and military support of the mujaheddin who led the resistance to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Clarke shows how Washington's military and intelligence sachems consistently underestimated the threat that a growing global network of Islamic extremists posed to America's interests and security. Washington will be abuzz for some time over Clarke's recollections of the president's orders. But the real indictments in Against All Enemies involve the long policy background to those frantically barked directives.
—(Chris Lehmann)
Foreign Affairs
Clarke's book turned out to be one of the first shots in the gradual undermining of President Bush's reputation as a war leader-especially since many of Clarke's more damaging accusations have been corroborated elsewhere, including in the investigations undertaken by the 9/11 Commission. The opening sequence, as Clarke describes his efforts as "counterterrorism czar" to respond to the incoming news of the September 11 attacks, is gripping, and his description of the development of policy during the George H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations is useful, if unavoidably self-centered. The big story, of course, lies in his depiction of the current Bush administration's failing to take seriously the al Qaeda threat and then going off on its Iraq tangent.
Publishers Weekly
A few bars of heavy, ominous-sounding orchestral music set the tone for this incendiary account of the events that occurred inside the White House on 9/11 and the months and years prior to it. Former counterterrorism director Clarke starts out by describing how he took charge in the situation room on the day of the attacks and facilitated communication among the White House, the FBI and the FAA. The level of detail Clarke includes is impressive. Not only does he paint a vivid portrait of the White House in crisis mode, but he even recalls a number of conversations (including one in which Bush, after learning of al Qaeda's involvement, purportedly tells Clarke, "See if Saddam did this. See if he's linked in any way"). Whether one chooses to believe Clarke's version of events or not, this first chapter is riveting, and Clarke delivers it like a pro. With his deep tenor and weighty pauses, Clarke never lets listeners forget the gravity of the situation, but he isn't above making an attempt at the various accents and inflections of the major players. His frustration over how the current administration has responded to 9/11 and how he believes the FBI and CIA failed to act leaks through at times, but by the end of this compelling audiobook, many listeners may share it. Simultaneous release with the Free Press hardcover. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
The New York Times Book Review Against All Enemies is too good to be ignored...It is a rarity among Washington-insider memoirs — it's a thumping good read.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780743266406
Publisher:
Free Press
Publication date:
03/26/2004
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
202,260
File size:
395 KB

Read an Excerpt


from Against All Enemies

Wolfowitz fidgeted and scowled.... "Well, I just don't understand why we are beginning by talking about this one man bin Laden."

"We are talking about a network of terrorist organizations called al Qaeda, that happens to be led by bin Laden, and we are talking about that network because it and it alone poses an immediate and serious threat to the United States," I answered....

Wolfowitz turned to me. "You give bin Laden too much credit. He could not do all these things like the 1993 attack on New York, not without a state sponsor. Just because FBI and CIA have failed to find the linkages does not mean they don't exist." I could hardly believe it, but Wolfowitz was actually spouting the totally discredited Laurie Mylroie theory that Iraq was behind the 1993 truck bomb at the World Trade Center, a theory that had been investigated for years and found to be totally untrue.

Copyright © 2004 by RAC Enterprises, Inc.

Meet the Author

Richard Clarke was appointed by President Clinton as the first National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counterterrorism in May 1998 and continued in that position under George W. Bush. Until March 2003 he was a career member of the Senior Executive Service, having begun his federal service in 1973 in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, as an analyst on nuclear weapons and European security issues. In the Reagan administration, Mr. Clarke was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence. In the first Bush administration, he was the Assistant Secretary of State for Politico-Military Affairs.

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Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 74 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Stock full of an exorbitant amount of insider insights, from a bi-partisan mentality, I might add. Anyone who would recommend you not reading this book is clearly trying to salvage the blind faith of their brutal fraternity.
Anonymous 15 days ago
This was a inside look at what the top of our government was doing or more accurately not doing to address the threat of terrorism pre 911, and the bungeling of Dubya and co after. It also shows that Bush had an axe to grind with Iraq from the moment he took office. It is more evidence that that administration completely lied to the public in the run up to the invasion of Iraq.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LEAVE BUSH ALONE! Will you stop saying bad things about him? WMDs in iraq would be a serious threat. Also notice how no attacks on american soil have been carried out since 2003.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No one provides Richard Clarke's insight into how we functioned on 9/11.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Whether you are a Democrat or Republican, this is a must read for any American that wishes to have an opinion on our country's handling of terrorism. A lifelong Republican, Richard Clarke gives his first-hand account of our country's handling of terrorism. Serving 5 presidents Clarke reveals why he believes Clinton did the best job trying to prevent more terror; and why G.W. Bush's invasion of Iraq has set America back a generation for ending global terror.
gragonfly More than 1 year ago
this is a great read for anyone that wants to know ( politically) about 911 --- this was my first read after the horro --- clarke is well qualified with a blow right to the gut ( he doesn't play around). clear cut read without the BS.
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SighKoBlahGrr-Blogspot More than 1 year ago
It is 1990. Bush 41 is President. Mikhail Gorbachev is Premier of the Soviet Union. A group of Islamic fundamentalists have just defeated the world's No. 2 superpower in a ten-year war in Afghanistan. A year later, the Soviet Union collapses. The same Islamic fundamentalists figure they can accomplish the same thing with the No. =1= superpower. In a hair-raising 300 pages that read like a Tom Clancy novel, but which in fact are the pages of =history= book, 30-year National Security Council veteran and National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism for Presidents Clinton and Bush 43, Richard Clarke, details why - and shows us =how= - Osama bin Laden and the rest are doing so. Published in 2004, =Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror= is the single most compelling and disturbing spellbinder I have encountered since Morris and Denton's =The Money and The Power=. While the implications of the latter book are =very= disturbing; the implications of the former are downright horrifying. Clarke is no ideologue. He is a can-do pragmatist. He ran the entire United States government from the command center in a nearly empty White House for 30 hours on September 11 and 12, 2001. He is no blamer. His orientation is simply, "Here's what happened; and here's what resulted from it, for better or for worse." Republican and Democratic administrations, the CIA, the FBI, the Departments of Defense and State are all praised and blamed equally. The reader - if he can put the book down every now and again to get some sleep - will almost surely come away with a detailed grasp of the entire epic that has transpired since the Shah of Iran was deposed by the Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini in 1979. Worse, that reader will come away realizing that the vision Clarke laid out in 2003 and 2004 is almost exactly what the Islamic fundamentalists have managed to accomplish. The Middle East is =not= Vietnam redux. It is much, =much= worse. The reader may also come away with a bad case of anxiety. This is not a work of fiction. And it is not for the squeamish. Read it at your own risk. But for your sake as an informed voter, do =read= it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The attack on 9/11 was decades in the making. It was the result of opportunities taken and opportunities missed, both on the parts of the terrorists and of our foreign policies. This was an excellent 30- year look into national security.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutly enlightening.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beirut768 More than 1 year ago
Either fight or scuttle.
It is not (and should not be) `Business as usual' anymore.

Those who advocate resignation in the face of the different facets of ` international threats - disguised as promotion of science and technology' tend to exaggerate.
If you give up as The World Power (bound to play an important role) you will, in that case, be abdicating your responsibilities.
Then you will lack a sense of measure and will lose to some demented and screaming `gangsters' labelling themselves as `leaders'.
Panic can give way to submissive fatalism as happened to you in many countries in the Middle East and even in Somalia and Kenya wherefrom unfortunate events sounded like a work of fiction but indeed they led to real-life drama in which there were `many heroes'.
It was your fault to let the gathering clouds coming from small countries to herald worldwide storms that overtook (because they misinterpreted) your delay in taking immediate action.
Now you are acting differently.
But, would countries in Asia learn the lesson and take heed that America is now more serious than before; at least you've wiped-out the sense of defeatism.

Perhaps the scenario of deliberations between your two main `rival' parties should be tightly knit to become acceptable to the world ears so that future course of action can `pass' without qualms.

Continuity is Key....
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mr. Clark gave his all and caveat's to try to alert the people that should no better about the pending doom. I just finished reading The Looming Tower subtitle 'Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9-11' Written by Lawrence Wright. According to his fine research there was two very vocal people in the country in 1998 who were screaming about the threat of terrorist. Richard Clark and John O'Neill, former FBI Agent who died at the World Trade Center. They were acutely aware of the pending danger and Alqaeda and Osma Bin Laden. President Clinton did what he could but the subsequent administration closed the door on any pending threats. That threat is worst today then it was before we went into Iraq. We could have won this war if we had stayed in Afganistan, but this little cabal of civilians thought they knew best and as a consequence, were in dire trouble. Just today I heard three General's testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, it was ugly, they all have been or have been involved with the Iraq Theater. And yet, the people of this country are not being told the truth and as Richard Clark so predicted, we are in harms way. This did not have to be and as the General's so pointed out, Rumsfeld has to go. And now we have Bob Woodward's book, State of Denial. I fear many Americans' have their head in the sand and we need to move forward and save not only this country, but our Democracy. Thank you Richard Clark for being one of the first to bring this to our attention and your courage.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In AAE's, Richard Clarke paints a portrait of the GW Bus Administration as being so preoccupied with Saddam Hussein that they ignored the threat posed by Al Qaeda, until 9/11 forced them to finally sit up and take notice. If you question Clarke's credibility, consider this: Clarke was one of the main sources in conservative author Richard Miniter's own book, Losing Bin Laden. Miniter NEVER Questoned Clarke's Crediblity in LBL-Not Once. Consider also that, while the Bush Adminstration made a lot of GENERAL criticisms of Clarke, not a single participant has personally denied the SPECIFICS of his recollections of the events in question. Consider finally that Clarke served in the administrations of three Presidents, both Republican and Democrat. Whether or not Clarke's memory is 100% accurate on every detail-which he himself admits it may not be-his many years of public service has earned him the right to tell his story.