Counterterrorism pundit and Committee on Homeland Security chairman McCaul puts the blame for terrorism where he’s sure it belongs: anyone other than the GOP.
It’s all Barack Obama’s fault, of course—and maybe Hillary Clinton’s. After all, they were personally responsible for leaving the diplomatic compound in Benghazi undefended. Never mind that American intelligence agencies tracked down Osama bin Laden on Obama’s watch, and never mind fellow Texan George W. Bush’s ill-advised stirring of the hornet’s nest. When McCaul drops the partisanship and digs into cases, he can be convincing; anyone with an ounce of sense would be concerned, as he is, with the likelihood that some of his scenarios will be realized: the mounting, for instance, of a malware assault on the energy grid, which would quickly paralyze a huge swath of the country. Attacking only 50 generators, he writes, could result “in a blackout lasting two or three weeks in some localities and inflicting an economic hit estimated at $243 billion.” Up that to 100 generators, and the cost “could exceed $1 trillion.” Too often, though, apart from the partisanship, McCaul is inclined to cast his argument in prose straight from Tom Clancy’s cutting-room floor: “The Red Death was coming. And the Mahdi would soon follow”; “‘Well, no Russkies swimming towards us,’ Carnes said, and Boatswain’s Mate Alvarez politely acknowledged her commanding officer’s poor attempt at humor.” Red Death? Mahdi? Russkies? Yep, the enemies are many, the friends few, and the prospects bleak—a good sales scenario, that is to say, for an alarmist book that digs into problems of terrorism and global security all of a millimeter deep.
If you are already inclined to the view that terrorism is all the fault of the wishy-washy liberals, then this is your book. If not, not.