The Test of our Times:
America Under Siege...And How We Can Be Safe Again, by Gov. Tom Ridge
(Click for Amazon book review)
OnTheIssues.org BOOK REVIEW:
My attitude towards this book is summed up by my visceral response to Tom Ridge's statement on p. 109: "Who knew there are 1.3 billion Muslims in the world living in over 50 countries?" Tom Ridge did not know that. Most people still do not know that. But why would Pres. Bush appoint someone who didn't know that to be in charge of the U. S. government's defense against Muslim extremism? This entire book is a study in how a nice guy was put into a position for which he was utterly unqualified.
That passage is part of Ridge's explanation of how, upon appointment as head of Homeland Security, he had to undergo a crash course in understanding Islam, Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden, and Muslim extremism. This book says, loud and clear, that he is still a novice. It's understandable that a governor of Pennsylvania would not know that stuff. It is not understandable why he would accept a foreign policy position -- or why Bush would appoint him -- when he did not know that stuff. And most importantly, it colors everything else that he says in this book, and everything else that he did as Secretary of Homeland Security. The DHS was set up by someone who had barely just learned about our primary enemy. That does not seem like a wise course of action.
Why wasn't someone appointed to that position who DID know this stuff? And who knew it BEFORE 9-11? I knew it, before 9-11 -- because I have a third-world-oriented master's degree. I'm not unique -- there are many thousands of people who knew more than me. They hang around Washington and, until 9-11, were not considered very important. They populate the Foreign Service Officer corps and similar obscure jobs, and they have politics ranging from far left to far right. One of those many thousands should have been appointed instead of Tom Ridge.
When I look at the results that DHS has implemented over the years, I blame Tom Ridge, and I blame Pres. Bush for appointing someone so inappropriate. Do we really need "orange alert" levels? Is snooping around our library book selections really relevant to the war on terror? Is it sane to define the world as "them against us"? Why do we need military bases in Saudi Arabia when that is the source of so much Arab anger against America? Those policies were designed by people who did not understand our enemy in the war on terror. Like Tom Ridge. And we will all suffer the consequences of those policies for many years to come.
-- Jesse Gordon, editor-in-chief, OnTheIssues.org, Sept. 2011
| OnTheIssues.org excerpts: (click on issues for details)
Budget & Economy|
Tom Ridge: Invest in strong economy, for solid international alliances.
Tom Ridge: We will never celebrate a Victory over Terrorism Day.
Energy & Oil|
Tom Ridge: Comprehensive energy policy including nuclear & clean coal.
Tom Ridge: Closing borders post-9-11 dealt a crushing blow to trade.
George W. Bush: As White House adviser, declined Congressional subpoena.
Tom Ridge: Replace "need to know" culture with "need to share".
Barack Obama: Promises to close Guantanamo & treat prisoners as POWs.
Bill Clinton: Warned public in 1990s that anthrax threat was coming.
Colin Powell: 2001: Strongly objected to tracking who enters country.
George W. Bush: 2001: We will not tire,we will not falter & we will not fail.
George W. Bush: Terrorists aren't POWs, so not entitled to Geneva Convention.
Jim Gilmore: Pre-9-11, Congress sensed terrorism was a rising threat.
John Ashcroft: Introduced 5-color terror alert system in 2002.
Newt Gingrich: Post-9/11, it's terrorism vs. civilization.
Robert Byrd: Required public disclosure of where DHS money is going.
Tom Ridge: 9/11 reaction: We will find those responsible.
Tom Ridge: 2001: Nation was not equipped to deal with bioterrorism.
Tom Ridge: Governors must show up at disaster locations.
Tom Ridge: Nobody knew about Al Qaeda or radical Islam until 9/11.
Tom Ridge: Post-9-11 goal: tell Americans specifics about threats.
Tom Ridge: Duct Tape Debacle: public mocked our "Ready Campaign".
Tom Ridge: Reinterpreting FISA secretly seems like unauthorized power.
Tom Ridge: Threat advisory system: not politically told "Go to orange".
Tom Ridge: Guantanamo holds theological zealots, not POWs.
Tom Ridge: Overcome barriers between CIA and FBI.
Tommy Thompson: Pre-9-11: confident we could react to bioterrorism.
Tom Ridge: INS is ineffective; US policy is confused.
Tom Ridge: No amnesty, but a path to legitimate law-abiding aliens.
Max Cleland: Opposed DHS hiring practices; use civil service rules.
Principles & Values|
Mark Schweiker: Oct. 2001: Became governor when Tom Ridge entered Cabinet.
Saxby Chambliss: 2002: Attacked war-hero opponent as unpatriotic, and won.
George W. Bush: Oath of office authorizes use of surveillance technology.
Tom Ridge: Install biometric checks at 150 international airports.
War & Peace|
Ronald Reagan: Supported Saddam inIraq against Iran.
Tom Ridge: Bin Laden is a master of disguises who moves almost daily.
Tom Ridge: Who knew there are 1.3 billion Muslims in 50 countries?
Tom Ridge: Traditional hardware of war obsolete against terrorists.
Tom Ridge: Woefully deficient in human intelligence in war on terror.
Tom Ridge: Iraq invasion made us less safe in the short run.
The above quotations are from The Test of our Times:
America Under Siege...And How We Can Be Safe Again, by Gov. Tom Ridge.
2010 Election Analysis:
- Against All Odds, by Scott Brown
- The Obamians, by James Mann
- Power to the People, by Gov. Tommy Thompson
- 2010: Take Back America, by Dick Morris
- 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future, by Marco Rubio
- Courage and Consequence, by Karl Rove
- American Conspiracies, by Gov. Jesse Ventura
- Game Change, by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin
- The FairTax Book, by Neal Boortz and Rep. John Linder
- The Test of our Times, by Gov. Tom Ridge
- Saving Freedom, by Sen. Jim DeMint
- Giving, by Pres. Bill Clinton
- Going Rogue, by Gov. Sarah Palin
- Slouching Towards Gomorrah, by Robert Bork
- Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation, by Pres. Ronald Reagan
- Third World America, by Arianna Huffington
- Hopes and Prospects, by Noam Chomsky
- Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet, by James Mann (March 2004)
- Earlier election analyses