Against All Enemies
by Richard Clarke
Published by Free Press
"Against All Enemies" by Richard Clarke has come to bookstands in the midst of a phenomenon, and pushed it to its climax. This is the phenomenon of the many "tell-all" books by former White House officials right in the middle of an election year. Many of these books have leaned in the anti-Bush direction, and have also sparked new public interest in the politics of Iraq and terrorism. Richard Clarke's book is no exception. It is an account of his ten years as the country's leading counterterrorism coordinator. Many speculate on the timing of Clarke's work because prior to its initial publication Clarke was featured on 60 Minutes, testified before the 9/11 commission, and touched off a raging controversy over how the first Bush, Clinton, and the second Bush administrations handled (or mishandled) the threat of terrorism and the post-9/11 political landscape.
The majority of Clarke's book is a discussion of how the first Bush administration and the Clinton administration gradually came to realize the existence of al Qaeda and tried to figure out what to do about it. The story is framed, at the beginning and end, by the events of September 11, 2001. The true story, however, lies in the days and years before September 11 that laid the groundwork for what happened that day. He was indeed an insider in the White House throughout these crucial years, and in his books reveals many details explaining why September 11th was inevitable and goes on to tell of the Bush administration and its many shortcomings.
The first chapter of Against All Enemies takes the reader into the White House center of operations on September 11, through Clarke's final negative assessment of George W. Bush's post-9/11 war of...