The Foreign Service Journal, May 2004

B OOKS Bully’s Pulpit An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror David Frum and Richard Perle, 2003, Random House, $25.95, hard- cover, 279 pages. R EVIEWED BY R ICHARD M C K EE Despite this book’s grandiose title, readers seeking a dispassionate analy- sis of the roots of terrorism or a cred- ible strategy for defeating it should skip An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror. What they will find in this “manual for victory” is a passion- ate defense of the Bush administra- tion’s foreign policy and its ideological roots. Although David Frum, credited with authorship of President Bush’s catch phrase “axis of evil” (i.e., Iraq, Iran and North Korea), is listed first, the book is pure Perle. He is a veter- an advocate of “realism” in U.S. for- eign policy. Perhaps for that reason, charter axis member North Korea receives just a cursory discussion — though this is perhaps a wise choice, in that Pyongyang’s nuclear arms pre- sent a proliferation, not a terrorist, threat. For Perle has other threats in mind, arguing that “the roots of Muslim rage are to be found in Islam itself.” Promised paradise if they die for the faith, manyMuslims have declared war on a decadent and overbearing America that props up the princes and presidents who “sentence them to live in choking, miserable, polluted cities ruled by corrupt, incompetent offi- cials” — a fair, if simplistic, assessment. But then he contends, unconvincingly, that “The Arab-Israeli quarrel is not a cause of Islamic extremism.” Rather, it is the Muslims’ “underlying cultural malaise.” Thus, in his view, creating a Palestinian state would not diminish terrorism. Instead, the U.S. should force neighboring Arab states to grant Palestinians citizenship. The injustice aside, doing so would only undermine Israel’s security by destabilizing its neighbors. After denouncing the two previous administrations’ “weak” and “passive” responses to terrorist provocations, Perle writes that the U.S. attacked Iraq because “We had to strike back hard after 9/11, to prove that terror- ism was not winning.” As a bonus, states that collude with terrorists, such as Iran and Syria, got the mes- sage: “You’re next.” To help justify the Iraq war, Perle claims falsely that Czech intelligence remains convinced that 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta met an Iraqi intelli- gence officer in Prague in 2001. He draws tortured distinctions between Iraq’s supposed “stockpiles” of weapons of mass destruction and “programs” for producing them. He argues that the U.S. erred in refusing to allow Ahmed Chalabi — convicted of bank fraud in Jordan, self-declared purveyor of erroneous intelligence to the Pentagon, lacking popular support — to form a provisional Iraqi govern- ment. And he contends that American-inspired democracy in Iraq will spread throughout the Muslim world — a romantic fantasy, at best. Perle and Frum enthusiastically endorse “Bush’s rule that you are either with us or you are with the ter- rorists,” despite the fact that their own acute analysis of Pakistan tacitly con- cedes that Islamabad is playing both sides. At the same time, their readi- ness to threaten, and follow through on, the unilateral use of force, their disdain for allies’ views and interests (impeding intelligence cooperation), and their reluctance to recognize the legitimizing role the United Nations can play in places like Iraq, would all ensure no end to the evil of terrorism. Back at home, Perle impugns the resolve and, implicitly, the patriotism of his American detractors for ques- tioning his enthusiasm for restricting U.S. residents’ freedom of speech and mobility. Dismissing criticism of the Patriot Act’s intrusiveness, he urges the creation of a domestic political intelligence agency, blasting the FBI and the CIA for bureaucratic inertia and incompetence. But he saves his most egregious slurs for the State Department and the Foreign Service, who, he alleges, disloyally seek to maintain good rela- tions with foreign governments at the expense of American interests as defined by the president. So to “democratize” U.S. foreign policy, he advocates a sharp increase in the Far from bringing victory in the war on terror, Perle and Frum’s approach would actually ensure its prolongation. M A Y 2 0 0 4 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L 65