By David Holloway

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Additional resources for 9 11 and the War on Terror (Representing American Events) (2008)

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Justifying his resignation, he spoke of ‘an obligation’ to write what he knew, and of a higher loyalty ‘to the citizens of the United States’, which ‘must take precedence over loyalty to any political machine’. In the concluding paragraphs of the coruscating preface to Against All Enemies, Clarke paid tribute to the ‘small group of extraordinary Americans [who] created the Constitution that governs this country’ and issued a challenge to his fellow citizens: ‘In this era of threat and change’, he wrote, ‘we must all renew our pledge to protect that Constitution’, not only against threats from ‘foreign enemies’, but also ‘against those who would use the terrorist threat to assault the liberties the Constitution enshrines’.

After the crushing blows taken by the Republican Party in the 2006 midterm elections, the neocon hegemony in the White House was challenged by a powerful coalition of old guard ‘realists’ led by James Baker, chairman of the ISG (who had been Bush senior’s Secretary of State, 1989–93), and Brent Scowcroft, the elder Bush’s National Security Adviser. As the news from Iraq grew steadily worse and the president’s influence diminished in Congress, senior neocons like the former chairman of the Defence Policy Board (DPB), Richard Perle, and Kenneth Adelman, another member of the DPB, ‘scurried off Bush’s sinking ship’, as one former senior aide to Bill Clinton, Sidney Blumenthal, put it (Blumenthal 2006a).

A grouping led by Osama bin Laden began arguing that the defeat of apostate Islam rested on driving out US influence from the affairs of Muslims. Cut the head off the snake, the theory ran, and apostate regimes that depended for their survival on American support would perish, along with Israel. For Scheuer, bin Laden’s historical significance lay partly in his successful lobbying for a shift from targeting apostate governments (reflecting a Koranic requirement to tackle the ‘near-enemy’ first should Islam be attacked) to an ‘America-first’ strategy.

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