This is a deeply disturbing book on many levels, particularly that Fortune 500 companies, news outlets and the US Government use a private intelligence agency, believing that the old mechanisms, bought and paid for by the taxpayer, are now obsolete - literally outsourcing our intelligence service. The question: is this obsolete intelligence network a planned event, and who was poised to take advantage of such an opportunity?
To accept the premise of America’s Secret War, it is necessary to accept the myth that we were surprised by the 9/11 attacks and had no inter-governmental warnings whatsoever, no intelligence. Plans to intercede in the Middle East were long in the making, thanks to the efforts of the neocons, and only required a definitive moment for action. The most disconcerting element of Friedman’s book is that the attacks are used as justification for the war in Iraq, without questioning motivation or evidence.
Military decisions are made for us, the taxpayers, not by us. I find that a staggering revelation. What is implied disturbs me more than what is stated, particularly the Middle Eastern plan long underway pre-9/11 and the enormous toll on this country’s resources. In pursuit of this military expertise, the military-industrial complex clearly has its own agendas.
War as the first option has distorted this country’s image as a democracy. War as the means to an end is a defeat, a last resort, when all else fails. What does violence beget but more violence? In his conclusion, Friedman suggests that Islamic nation-states have learned to use intelligence to defeat Al Quaeda. However, the time may come when people with the same cultural and religious identity will cease killing each other as pawns of the interests of other powers, the Americans viewed only as occupiers.
Friedman bluntly states, “It is not the American people who cannot endure war, but the elite.” Seriously? Are we to believe that the corporate CEO’s and deferment-seeking Washington politicians would have put themselves in harm's way? It is absurd statements like this that destroy any sense of balance this book might claim. Friedman’s lack of bias is questionable, in an expositive book with a conspicuous lack of footnotes or referenced material. Given the timing of the presidential elections, one has to question the motives of the author.