four-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
24-Sept-Oct-2006
By: 
Ron Suskind
user_rating: 
0

Deep Inside America’s Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11

A-One Percent DoctrineThe One Percent Doctrine was born when the current Bush administration learned that Pakistani nuclear experts had met with Osama bin Laden. From that point forward, official U.S. policy, as voiced by Vice President Dick Cheney, stated that if there was a one-percent chance of a threat against the United States coming to fruition, the administration would act first. Poking his narrative camera over the shoulders of the CIA operatives who tracked the terrorists, Suskind offers a firsthand view of the conflict between national intelligence and the administration that guided it.
Simon & Schuster. 367 pages. $27. ISBN: 0743271092

Washington Post 4.5 of 5 Stars
"This is an important book, filled with the surest sign of great reporting: the unexpected. It enriches our understanding of even familiar episodes from the Bush administration’s war on terror and tells some jaw-dropping stories we haven’t heard before." Barton Gellman

Baltimore Sun 4 of 5 Stars
"It is at once a page-turning, blow-by-blow, inside-the-administration account of the days, weeks, months and, eventually, years that followed the Sept. 11 attacks; an apologia for the Central Intelligence Agency during this time; and a critical but nonpolemical analysis of why this particular group of people acted in the way that they did during this critical period of the American story." Michael Hill

Los Angeles Times 4 of 5 Stars
"It makes for deeply unsettling reading and is a major contribution to our national conversation concerning these issues. … Unlike other books that have preceded this one, the author does not rely wholly on unnamed sources, which is entirely to his credit as a reporter and adds immeasurably to this book’s effect." Tim Rutten

New York Times 4 of 5 Stars
"In fleshing out key relationships among administration members … it adds some big, revealing chunks to the evolving jigsaw-puzzle portrait of this White House and its modus operandi, while also giving the reader some up close and personal looks at the government’s day-to-day operations in the war on terror." Michiko Kakutani

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 4 of 5 Stars
"Much of this book portrays the hard-working agents of the CIA and the FBI as the frontline heroes in the war on terror, describing in detail their successes and failures in this bewildering struggle. … To his credit, Suskind is a neutral reporter throughout his book." Bob Hoover

Wall Street Journal 1 of 5 Stars
"He offers cartoonish portraits of the Bush administration’s major players. Not one of them is given credit for being an honest, if perhaps misguided, civil servant facing genuinely difficult questions about how to protect the country. Rather, they are bad people determined to destroy civil liberties and lie us into war." Robert L. Pollock

Critical Summary

As the debate over who did what in the buildup to the war in Iraq moves from newspapers’ front pages into history books, former Wall Street Journal writer Ron Suskind continues to build the case against the Bush administration. As with his previous book, The Price of Loyalty (reviewed but not rated in our July/Aug 2004 issue), Suskind has privileged access to his subject, and reviewers note more than a few revelatory journalistic scoops. Even though he’s clearly no fan of Bush and Company, he’s also no apologist for former CIA boss George Tenet or his charges. Fair-minded to most, thorough, and unfazed by access to power, Suskind seems the best kind of rabble-rouser. Only his former home paper comes down against Suskind in its attack on his generalizations and poor analysis. Note: We haven chosen to rate the book according to our usual system, though we hesitated to do so. The critics’ reactions to One Percent are strongly linked to their political leanings, so we cannot assure that we are publishing a set of objective or balanced opinions.