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Book Review by Deirdre Sinnott 
The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America’s Pursuit of its Enemies Since 9/11, by Ron Suskind,

(Simon & Schuster, 2006)

August 7, 2006

What’s the formula for disastrous foreign policy? A one-percent perceived threat equals a hundred-percent necessity of taking military action. According to Ron Suskind’s new book The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America’s Pursuit of its Enemies Since 9/11that’s the doctrine presently guiding U.S. policy.


While looking to restore and expand the power in the executive office Vice President Dick Cheney seized on the opportunity that the tragic events of September 11, 2001 afforded him. The One Percent Doctrine, a formulation conceived by Cheney, was applied to all kind of problems that faced the administration in the years after the attacks on September 11th.

Can’t find any evidence of a link between al Qadea and Iraq? Well there must be a one percent chance it could be true, so attack Iraq. Have no evidence that the thousands of prisoners being kept in high-security prisons and shadowy rendition centers all over the world have ever or will ever be a threat to the U.S.? It’s better than a one percent chance that they will, particularly after being held for years without access to courts or their families. So hang onto them and deny them their rights under the Geneva Conventions, which the U.S. signed years ago. Think that there may be additional groups of people in the U.S. planning another attack? Expand the government’s abilities to do secret searches, wiretap, and gain access to financial information of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people living in the U.S. Something is certain to turn up.


According to Suskind, the lesson that Cheney learned from the Watergate debacle, during the Nixon administration, wasn’t that the government lies to cover its crimes, or that offensive wars, such as the Vietnam then and Iraq now, are brutal, illegal, and ultimately un-winnable, but that presidential power was seriously eroded.

Suskind, like Richard A. Clarke in his book Against All Enemies, exposes the infighting, territory battles, incompetence, and simple apathy that permeated the highest levels of the U.S. government. While some civil servants worked tirelessly attempting to carryout impossible assignments others fiddled.


The question that both books fail to answer is: How did U.S. policies pre-9/11 bring about mass hatred? Clarke’s book reads like an indictment for the crime of imperialism. He advocated more war crimes and caused more misery during his tenure in various government jobs than the average right-wing dictator gets to.

Both books provide an eye-opening view inside the government; however they both fail to truly analyze the one question that people in the U.S. need answered. Why do they (the perceived outsiders) hate us (as if we are all one mind, one color, and one class)?

Copyright © Deirdre Sinnott, 8/7/06.

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