Book Review: Against All Enemies

(or) “Condoleeza Rice is nice, but I prefer A-Roni.” And the mob goes wild wild wild. [Clutch]

Knowing that I had at least a 6-hour, round-trip drive to Norfolk, I wanted an-about-six-hour audio book to listen to. Audible had intel-czar-cum-whistleblower-slash-media-celeb Richard Clarke’s book available.

The shit is scary. One thing is clear: Clarke is not an apologist to any party or administration. He’s just a dude on the inside for a long-ass time who wants America to be safe.

In its most efficient distillation, there are three major points that Clarke makes:

1. Across multiple administrations, there was a huge lack of intelligence a) analysis, b) coordination, and c) vision leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

2. Across multiple administrations, the intelligence community was holding dear to the Cold War mindset, from whence they were borne.

3. Iraq didn’t matter fuck-one, except to the two Bush Administrations (and their common components), and this ultimately fucked us.

Clarke’s Breakdown on #1: “Raw intelligence” reports do not bear fact, merely things to be investigated further. CIA and/or FBI had various information about this-and-that, but there was no mechanism whereby one could learn from the other.

Either/both of those organizations lacked the ability to see the “big picture” due to that absence of analysis, so they could not draw correlations between possibly-related intel. They could not “connect the dots” (the memetic, media-hackneyed phrase of choice), because they weren’t told what they needed to know, therefore precluding both agencies’ ability to reconcile conflicting or corroborating reports.

Further, Clarke does not give a glowing review of the Clinton Administration, as some would parrot. He does give Bill some props, and paints him as a no-bullshit, bad motherfucker. But career CIA and Pentagon dudes were too bureaucratic and risk-averse to actually do anything when the Oval Office gave the nod. Don’t want to get blamed for anything, as previous administrations had left them to twist, dicks in the wind, for fucking up before. E.g., Iran-Contra. Boo-fucking-hoo.

Clarke’s Breakdown on #2: The Cold War mindset is one of clearly-defined nations that blatantly oppose the US. They have clearly-defined motivations, militias, and political ideologies or agendas that counter America’s motivations and publically-touted agenda.

Why would we worry about one man, Bin Laden? While the intel points to obvious fact that terrorist cells existed in the US as early as 1999 (xref the oft-mentioned thwarting of the LAX millennium mass bombing by a Canadian border guard where the one guy she snagged was on his way into the US to affect the plot to blow up a dozen planes over the Pacific), the intel agencies and agents could not possibly fathom that mean people actually lived here. Do the math: one guy, on his way in, can be on 10-12 planes at the same time?

Clarke’s Breakdown on #3: Iraq?! What the fuck? There’s been no Iraqi-state-sponsored terrorism since 1993. Yeah, there was a ton of shit from Iran until the CIA “outed” their intel guys and bitch-slapped them back into place. But Iraq? What the fuck?

Here’s what the fuck: Iraq because of the instability regarding the House of Saud. Daddy’s boys realize that shit can’t last forever. And when (not if) Saudi Arabian royalty goes tits-up, America’s got no oil. The US needs access to a stable (read: non-OPEC, US-controlled) supply of crude, damnit. Of course, we need a reliable source of oil; that’s a foregone conclusion. Clarke’s point is that our pursuits in Iraq under the guise of the “war on terror” are based on a huge fucking lie.

The public, and many in the (w) administration, are suckling the teat of an internally-generated, conspiratorial line of reasoning. Buy into the idea that Iraqi-state-sponsored terrorism (or future use of weapons of mass destruction) is why we’re there, our American kids are getting shot through the neck, and it’s fucking justifiable. The public, and many in the (w) administration? Cover our political asses, and keep ’em ignorant of an ultimately solid policy decision. Bad thing is… it was an unilateral decision.

America’s disregard for world opinion has left us (the US) holding a huge shit sandwich. America (read: the (w) admin) lied to everyone. Now we have to take a bite.

What does this have to do with Clutch? The “Against All Enemies” audio book ended a bit after hitting 95 north of Richmond, when shit turned into a parking lot. Read the lyrics to “Blast Tyrant” and tell me Neil Fallon hasn’t written about the same shit as Richard Clarke.