Clarke's book turned out to be one of the first shots in the gradual undermining of President Bush's reputation as a war leader-especially since many of Clarke's more damaging accusations have been corroborated elsewhere, including in the investigations undertaken by the 9/11 Commission. The opening sequence, as Clarke describes his efforts as "counterterrorism czar" to respond to the incoming news of the September 11 attacks, is gripping, and his description of the development of policy during the George H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations is useful, if unavoidably self-centered. The big story, of course, lies in his depiction of the current Bush administration's failing to take seriously the al Qaeda threat and then going off on its Iraq tangent.
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