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Your Government Failed You
Breaking the Cycle of National Security Disasters
By Richard A. Clarke
Published by HarperCollins Publishers
May 2008;$25.95US/$27.95CAN; 978-0-06-147462-0

"Your government failed you . . . and I failed you."

Richard Clarke's dramatic statement to the grieving families during the 9/11 Commission hearings touched a raw nerve across America. Not only had our government failed to prevent the 2001 terrorist attacks, but it has proven itself, time and again, incapable of handling the majority of our most crucial national security issues, from Iraq to Katrina and beyond. This is not just a temporary failure of our current leadership -- it is a systemic problem, the result of a pattern of incompetence that must be understood, confronted, and prevented.

Clarke's first book, the number one best-seller Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror, explained how the United States had stumbled into a struggle with violent Islamist extremists. Now, in Your Government Failed You, Clarke looks at why these unconscionable failures have continued and how America and the world can succeed against the terrorists. Yet Clarke also goes far beyond terrorism, to examine the inexcusable chain of recurring U.S. government disasters. Despite the lessons of Vietnam, there is Iraq. A trail of intelligence failures litters the Washington landscape. From Katrina to color codes and duct tape, "homeland security" has been an oxymoron. Why does the superpower continue to bobble national security?

Clarke minces no words in his examination of the breadth and depth of the mediocrity, entropy, and collapse endemic in America's national security programs. In order for the United States to stop its string of strategic mistakes, we first need to understand why they happen. Drawing on his thirty years in the White House, Pentagon, State Department, and intelligence community, Clarke gives us a privileged, if horrifying, inside look into the debacle of government policies, discovering patterns in the failures and offering ways to stop the cycle once and for all.

Author Bio
Richard A. Clarke served the Pentagon, the State Department, the intelligence community, and the National Security Council for thirty years. His eleven years of consecutive White House service on national security, for three presidents, is unprecedented. In the Reagan administration he was a deputy assistant secretary for Intelligence. In the Bush (41) administration he was confirmed by the Senate as an assistant secretary of state. In the Clinton and Bush (43) administrations he served as national coordinator for security and counter-terrorism. Since leaving government, Richard Clarke has taught at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, authored several books (including the number one best-seller Against All Enemies), been an on-air analyst for ABC News, written columns for the New York Times and other papers, and formed the security-risk management firm Good Harbor Consulting.

For information on the documentary inspired by this book, please visit