At a time when the ‘war on terror’ was on everybody’s lips, Richard Perle, chairman of the Defense Policy Board, and David Frum, the speechwriter for President George W. Bush, published a book described by themselves as “a manual for victory” (9). An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror addressed the circumstances that the United States of America found itself in after having won the battles in Afghanistan and Iraq. Problems continued in both nations, which is why an ongoing commitment to victory was considered necessary.
This book, along with many others written on the same subject at the same time, addressed the United States’ ongoing commitment to victory. The authors offer a variety of suggestions in An End to Evil. Given the importance of the authors in terms of their governmental roles, these suggestions are worthy of being paid attention to. Even if the suggestions of the authors are unheeded, their book recounts the prevailing views of many important people in the government. For this reason, An End to Evil is an excellent source for understanding current global affairs with respect to the United States.
Published in 2003, the book starts out with the assertion that Washington is in a state of ambiguity as well as tension, and the allies of America are hesitant and grumbling. Then there are those who would like the United States to stop itself from dealing severely with its enemies. However, the opinions of such people are best ignored. According to the authors, both of whom have a rather confident voice in suggesting courses of action that the United States should take – the fact is that America has reached a critical juncture where there is no clear route visible to victory. That is in fact the reason for their book, they claim.
The “manual for victory” is meant to show the way to the Americans, their government, as well as the allies and enemies of the United States. All the same, for the enemies of America, the book is a threat and advise to lose the war on terror. Frum and Perle criticize former President Clinton’s “disinclination…to respond forcefully” when al-Qaeda launched its attacks during his presidency (28). The authors further state that America could have done what it did after 9/11 before the biggest terrorist attack on the American soil. Instead, the United States allowed the terrorist organization to strike first.
The authors then take the reader into the history of radical Islam. They claim that the Nazis and their Fascist cousins had found the Middle East receptive to their ideas. After Hitler and Mussolini, the Arabs were inspired by the Russians – the old enemies of America. Frum and Perle also write about Islamic extremism in the United States and outside the country. Much of the extremism described is anti-Semitic in nature. Frum and Perle shift their focus to terrorism in the United States after this. They suggest the use of national identity cards in order to avoid the failures that led up to 9/11.
Moreover, the authors call for improved coordination of law enforcement. A major part of An End to Evil is dedicated to the Middle East. But North Korea is also discussed. Frum and Perle criticize Clinton’s policy on North Korea, yet they do not make an effort to analyze the nature of the policy or its shortcomings. As a matter of fact, the authors do not provide much advice on how to deal with the foreign policy issues that the United States faces with North Korea. They state that North Korea has thousands of artillery tubes near Seoul, and undoubtedly, the country has weapons of mass destruction apart from atomic bombs.
In order to deal with this problem, advise the authors, “we should develop detailed plans for a preemptive strike against North Korea’s nuclear facilities” (103-104). Frum and Perle would like North Korea to surrender absolutely. This desire, of course, continues to be expressed by the U. S. government today. Going back to the Middle East, the authors offer their advice on Iran and Syria. In the case of Iran, they would like the regime to be abolished, and for this they would like to provide the Iranian revolutionaries with communications technology, finances, as well as information technology in order to speed up the process of revolution.
Frum and Perle point out that the Iranian dissidents require the support of the United States, and this support must be both “consistent and vocal” (112). With regards to Syria, Frum and Perle write that they would like Damascus to stop supporting terrorists, to leave Lebanon alone, to seal the Syrian border with Iraq, to stop its anti-Israeli propaganda, and to open its economy. If Damascus follows the advice of the authors, according to them, Syria would be granted “generous economic aid” (115). Saudi Arabia is next in line in An End to Evil.
Frum and Perle demand the United States to be honest about the fact that there are Saudis that support terrorism. Furthermore, they would like such Saudis banned from entering the United States. These people’s assets must also be seized by the U. S. government. The authors additionally demand the ceasing of the missionary activities of the Wahhabists who preach around the world, seeing that the Wahhabists are understood to be radical Muslims. Frum and Perle would like new kinds of air itineries to Saudi Arabia introduced. In these itineries, passengers should be warned of the dangers to American women in Saudi Arabia.
Finally, with reference to Saudi Arabia, the authors reflect on demolishing the Saudi state and splitting off its eastern portion if the Saudis fail to comply with the wishes of the authors who represent the U. S. government. Before ending their book, the authors of An End to Evil contemplate the reformation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In particular, the authors would like the FBI to have nothing whatsoever to do with counter-terrorist operations. Rather, there should be a new agency established and made directly answerable to the Secretary of Homeland Security.
The authors criticize the CIA because it is too liberal, in their opinion. Regarding the Pentagon, Frum and Perle state that they would like it to enhance efficiency. An End to Evil concludes on the note that the United States’ experiences with foreign policy were based on illusions through the 1990s. No doubt, this fact calls for better experiences with foreign policy in the future. According to the previous claim of the authors that their book is a “manual for victory”, An End to Evil should help the United States in formulating better foreign policies and eventually gaining an absolute victory in the war on terror.