David Frum, a former special assistant to President George W. Bush, is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.
Richard Perle served as an assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration and as chairman of the Defense Policy Board under President George W. Bush. He is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
Hear David Frum, Ken Adelman, Mark Danner, and Katha Pollitt discuss the future of neoconservatism at The New Yorker Festival.
©2004 David Frum and Richard Perle; (P)2004 Books on Tape, Inc.
"A highly charged domestic and foreign policy manifesto for dealing with the terrorist threat....This is a comprehensive, no-nonsense primer on the conservative approach to handling the terrorist threat." (Publishers Weekly)
"It is now possible to describe a neoconservative foreign policy, and David Frum and Richard Perle's new book...is a useful guide to it....Intelligent and worthwhile." (The New York Times Book Review)
Well thought out presentation of the terrorist problem and possible solutions facing America. Those who see our terrorist threat primarily as a legal problem will react badly to what the authors have to say (and might even try to score the book low not on its merits, but because they're afraid of its content and want to supress a valid point of view). Those who see a need for solutions with less due process and more direct action will appreciate the analysis. The work is an excellent contribution to the debate over where we go from here.
I listened to this book because I have seen Perle in interviews on PBS's Frontline documentaries, where he always comes off as very calm, lucid, knowledgeable and earnest, despite his reputation as a rabid neo-con and a self described "hard-liner".
That said, after reading this book Perle has lost all credibilty with me. He knowingly uses discredited information throughout the book to support his arguments, apparently assuming that many of the people that will read this book are ignorant of information readily available in the press. He rails against Saudi Arabia as a corrupt, oppressive, terrorist sponsoring nation and blames the US govt for coddling them, then gives the Bush administration a complete pass on the topic, despite the fact that the Bush administration has the worst record of muzzling criticism of Saudi Arabia, and, not coincidentally, more conflicts of interests with regard to shared financial interests with Saudis than any other administration.
Apparently Perle muzzles his own criticism of Bush because Bush has bought into the Perle's dream of establishing permanent US world dominance by any means necessary, including preemptive warfare against weak nations who oppose us (and I'm not just talking about Iraq. That's just the beginning for Perle).
In this book, Perle and Frum argue that the US ought to act in self interest while all other nations ought to act unselfishly. The argument rests upon the idea that the US is a moral authority and hence not bound by the rule of law. This is in my opinion a highly controversial claim which needs to be backed up by some sort of evidence. The authors fail to provide any such evidence.
Interestingly and strangely, at times the authors argue that the US was justified in attacking Iraq in self defence, due to WMD and al-Queda, and that the UN and those countries opposing the war were wrong. Yet, at other times, the authors acknowledge that there was no treat of WMD or link to al-Queda, but claim that the countries of Europe should have supported the US anyway, out of good will. In the end, the authors seem to believe that the UN and those countries opposing the war in Iraq failed to identify the US as that moral authority of the world the authors claim that it is.
As I read this book, one question kept lingering in my mind: Do the authors believe their own words? I find it more credible to answer the question in the negative. In trying to justify a more selfish foreign policy, the authors have shown themselves prone to adopt Machiavellian ideals. I see no reason why these authors would not adopt the same Machiavellian ideals when trying to persuade their fellow countrymen of their point of view. As Leo Strauss (a respected thinker among neo-conservatives) they seem to think that that it is necessary and proper for leaders to lead the people by creating myths for them to live by. These myths do not have to correspond to any truths about the world, as long as they are convenient and comforting.
I take An End to Evil to be an interesting yet scary demonstration of clever neo-conservative propaganda.
I had to listen to this to see if Richard Perle was as crazy as I thought he was. No question, the man needs a straight jacket. Worth the listen to understand that the NeoCons are as dangerous and stupid as they seem.
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