Against All Enemies by Tom Clancy
Book review by Edgardo
Tom Clancy is one of the great espionage thriller spy type novelists of this age.
From his first book “The Hunt for Red October” set during the Cold War era,
he has made plain his insider knowledge of the internal workings of the Navy,
as well as the world of military and civilian intelligence. Although from
what I can see now, the distinction between military and civilian,
in government as well as in military is growing ever more
gray and indistinct.
Maxwell Moore is the new protagonist in “Against All Enemies”. He is an ex Navy Seal
now hooked in with the CIA. He is stationed in Pakistan and is assigned to bring a high
value subject back to the United States. Here is revealed one of the first parallels among
others between Pakistan and Mexico…That is, our supposed ally is not really our ally.
Everyone is either out for themselves or their cause is not our cause.
One perhaps insuperable obstacle to involving the reader in the book, is in spite of all
the gung-ho military and patriotic page filling, the heroics ring somewhat hollow.
The Afghan War and the not so secret war in Pakistan fought mainly by the CIA and
military drones leaves a bad taste in many a mouth. Many Americans no longer support
the madness; and as the action shifts to the drug war in Mexico. the unease and the
nausea build. Max Moore has his own devils and by the end of the book, while perhaps
Tom Clancy feels it is all still heroic, the good guys don’t seem much better than the
Clancy’s knowledge of gadgets and technology and spy craft is truly impressive.
But at the end of the book, it all seems like such a bloated exercise in futility, which
now that I think of it, could be the apt description of American Foreign Policy in Latin
America and the Middle East both.
The meat of the story when it gets going is the possible union of the Taliban and the
the Mexican drug cartels. According to the novel, business is taking place already with
the Taliban providing opium to the Mexicans. Of course
who better could smuggle Muslim terrorist into the US for
purposes of mayhem than could the Cartels? One problem:
Whatever Cartel helps Muslim terrorists into the US would be targeted by the United
States government with most severe sanction; more specifically elimination. The King
Pins of Mexico have not forgotten the hell that rained down on them after the torture and
assassination of Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in the 80’s. Yet it could still happen.
There are a lot of young crazies that care only for the money of the moment
and are not concerned with consequences. Of course there is tremendous
amounts of terrorism going on in Mexico as this is being written, and much
of that is connected to the United States. But no one seems to care;
after all they are not Muslims and are acting only out of monetary consideration and
greed. Curiously Al-Quaeda is not mentioned much at all in the book. Why is that?
Like all novels of this type, even when written by an insider, the reader can only
be taken so far in. After all if the insider author were to spill all the beans his
insider sources would soon dry up.
Saying all this I read the novel in a remarkably short span of time. It is 756 pages
long. There were shortcomings, but Tom Clancy should be on the reading list for
Americans. At least a book or two.
Then try to take what he writes and go on to the next logical step