Monday, August 16, 2004

As Americans, It is Up to All of Us to be Well Informed and Thoughtful

Richard Clarke closes his much (wrongly) maligned book Against All Enemies; Inside America’s War on Terror with the following paragraph: “[a]s Americans, it is up to all of us to be well informed and thoughtful, to help out country make the right decisions in this time of testing. We all need to recommit ourselves to that ancient pledge ‘to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States of American, Against All Enemies…”

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 rifels 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.

Book Excerpt:

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

“We are talking about a network of terrorist organizations call 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 failed to find the linkage doesn’t mean they don’t exist.” I could hardly believe it, but Wolfowitz was actually spouting the totally discredited Laurie Mylroie theory hat Iraq was behind the 1993 truck bomb at the World Trade Center, a theory that has been investigated for years and found to be totally untrue.

End Book Excerpt

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 tented 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!

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