What you don’t know could hu">

F!RST Power: Behind the Lines

What you don’t know could hu


Published:

On page 130 of Ron Suskind’s book “The One Percent Doctrine,” there is the detailed description of a fleshy, jaw-less, severed head believed to have belonged to an influential al-Qaeda deputy named Ayman al-Zawahiri. In almost Shakespearean fashion, the severed crown is passed around like Poor Yorick amongst a circle of FBI and information officials, hoping to confirm the death of Zawahiri, one of Osama bin Laden’s top lieutenants.

“It felt like a boccie ball,” Suskind writes.

Welcome to the backroom of the war on terror. Please check your preconceptions at the door.

Suskind, a Wilmington native, Concord High School grad and Pulitzer Prize winner, lives by the philosophy that stories can change lives. It’s no surprise he authored one of the most talked about books of 2006, a non-fiction bombshell that discloses a wealth of previously unknown information about the George W. Bush administration following the terrorist attacks of 9-11.

“I hoped the book would both deepen and demystify this new kind of struggle we are engaged in, to allow the readers to take a kind of ownership of it,” Suskind says. “There are folks on the Right who say I took a whack at the president, but that really is him. This book will be at least a support and some nourishment for the principle of informed consent. And I think that’s the idea.”

The book is a hefty pill to swallow—every page reveals something new about the way our country is dealing with national security and the war against terrorism. The title refers to a mandate made by Vice President Dick Cheney: If something poses a 1 percent chance of a threat to America, he will proceed with military action as if the threat is a certainty. It was this line of preemptive, aggressive thought, Suskind postulates, that lead to conflict in Iraq.

Surprises keep coming. Suskind revealed that Al Qaeda came frighteningly close to another attack on New York in 2003, a release of a lethal chemical gas in the New York subway system. The plan was called off just 45 days before fruition. Also, Suskind writes, U.S. forces intentionally bombed Al Jazeera offices in Kabul, Afghanistan, killing journalist Tareq Ayyoub.

“Virtually nothing in the book did people know about publicly, which is really extraordinary,” Suskind says. “Right now, we’re classifying everything down to the lunch menu. That’s not the way we should be in a democracy. I think that system of secrecy, of classifying everything, everyone agrees, is broken.”

Secrecy is a very real theme in “The One Percent Doctrine,” which at times resembles a John le Carré spy thriller—though one with the fate of the planet at stake. Characters Bush, Cheney, Condaleeza Rice and former CIA chief George Tenet appear as the main cast, though the bulk of the action is put into play by men and women Suskind calls “the invisibles,” people hidden on the streets and the Internet who are actually waging the new breed of warfare.

“Mostly, wars are very public things,” Suskind says. “You have troops storming the beach, daily casualty reports, corespondents’ reports from the front line. So people usually have an ability to think clearly about their nation and its conflict and how they want to guide their leaders thereby. This is a different kind of war, fought almost entirely in secret. What it says is that, even with something as awesome as war, the American public is on sort of a need-to-know basis.

“It speaks volumes that I can write a book like this where every page has on it non-public information. In many ways, it’s so pertinent to the times we’re in. It just rings as a broken process.”

Suskind’s work didn’t go unnoticed. “The One Percent Doctrine” was a New York Times best seller, and in the months following its release, Suskind likely spent more time with Larry King and Anderson Cooper than with his wife and two teenage sons. Reviews for the book were even busier. The Washington Post wrote, “This is an important book, filled with the surest sign of great reporting: the unexpected. It enriches our understanding of even familiar episodes from the Bush administration’s war on terror.”

Dr. Samuel Hoff, a professor of history and political science at Delaware State University, takes it one step further: The book and Suskind’s research efforts, he says, could have some impact in the 2008 presidential elections.

“Coming out of this book is the question: What has this whole fight against terrorism in the post 9-11 community done to the Bush doctrine as it was originally espoused? And included in that is the strategy of preemption,” he says. “It’s turned that legitimate tool into something that’s seen as not being credible and has turned an effort to find alleged weapons into a nation-building effort that has cost us almost 2,600 lives from our military. I think that gets to the bottom line of what [Suskind is] saying. And it is disturbing.

“To some people, criticism of the current administration goes in one ear and out the other. But because fighting terrorism is going to be such a long-term struggle, [Cheney’s] 1 percent doctrine and the issue of preemption are going to be with us for a long time. So I do think those are going to be elements of the debate. In that sense, Ron Suskind is going to have some role in the 2008 campaign.”

“The One Percent Doctrine” is just one link in Suskind’s chain of novels and articles about President Bush. His previous work, “The Price of Loyalty,” picked apart the administration with help from former treasury chief Paul O’Neill. But by mid-2004 Suskind realized, like many Americans, he had no idea how the war on terror was being fought.

“To me, that story was so compelling—of bin Laden, who stood against America and survived,” Suskind says. “Those involved were concerned that the enemy was growing. We were having difficulty figuring out where they were, who they were and what they might do. That made me want to move with every ounce of my energy to help figure that out—what got us to this point, and what the future looks like. What so many said to me during reporting is that we don’t want another 9-11 with the American people in the dark. We don’t want that moment to have to be a reawakening. Maybe this book will help that.”

More than 100 human sources were tapped to report “The One Percent Doctrine”—senior officials from within the federal government, past and present. But full political immersion is nothing new to Suskind. His first real taste of the “big and busy public morality play” came when he was sophomore class president at Concord High. He followed that with bigger and better things at the University of Virginia, where he got involved on the campaign of Republican senator Rudy Boschwitz. In 1980 he became lead advance man for John Anderson’s presidential campaign and 1981 saw him managing a U.S. Senate campaign for Jack Downey (the man to whom “The One Percent Doctrine” is dedicated).

Just beneath the surface during Suskind’s ascent was a letter his father wrote on his deathbed. A well-known figure in Wilmington, Walter Suskind wrote to his sons about living a worthwhile life and achieving their goals. It made a powerful impact on Ron.

“The letter ends unfinished,” Suskind says. “And there was something about finishing that letter for him that always drove me. In some ways I’m still trying to finish it.”

Suskind eventually made his way to The Wall Street Journal, where he served from 1993 through 2000; he left as the paper’s senior national affairs reporter. In 1995 he penned a series of stories about inner-city honors students in Washington, D.C., that later became the book “A Hope in the Unseen.” The stories won him a Pulitzer Prize in feature writing and sparked national debates about race and education.

In 2002 Suskind wrote two articles for Esquire magazine that were among the first to lower the microscope on the Bush administration.

For the next year or so, Suskind says, he’ll continue his whirlwind schedule of speeches and interviews about the issues his book has raised.

“In an era where assertion becomes fact, claim trumps authenticity. And where the message is repeated consistently, relentlessly, the hope [of the government] is that consent will be uninformed as possible. I think if I can stand in the way of that, I will have done something that my father would term worthwhile.” 

DT

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

February 2018

This community-curated exhibition brings together three painters—Alan Soffer, Brian Dickerson, and Moe Brooker—who are attuned to harmonies and contrasts in abstract forms. Each artist...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

The area’s largest sale of gently used books has been scheduled by the Wilmington branch of the American Association of University Women. The 49th annual Dollars for Scholars Used Book Sale, to...

Cost: free

Where:
Concord Mall
4737 Concord Pike
North Wilmington, DE  19803
View map »


Sponsor: American Association of University Women
Telephone: 302-428-0939

More information

By Simon Stephens (playwright of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time") Directed by Matt Pfeiffer REGIONAL PREMIERE! Amidst the bustle of a crowded London train...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Delaware Theatre Company
200 Water Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »

More information

A day of tomfoolery, debauchery and great beer. Come enjoy unlimited beer tastes from the best beers each Delaware brewery has to offer and YOU decide who wins the heavyweight belt for 2018. 

Cost: $29 online, $35 door

Where:
Crooked Hammock Brewery
36707 Crooked Hammock Way
Lewes, DE  19958
View map »


Sponsor: Crooked Hammock Brewery
Telephone: 302-644-7837
Contact Name: Jon Schorah
Website »

More information

The Singing Sergeants is the official chorus of the United States Air Force. Stationed at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C., the group is one of six musical ensembles that comprise...

Cost: Free

Where:
Loudis Recital Hall
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: University of Delaware Department of Music
Telephone: 130-283-12578
Contact Name: Megan Everhart
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Notbybreadalone Ministries presents Feeding the Hungry Outreach. All are welcome to come and partake of food, fun and fellowship. Those who desire a better way of life through Jesus Christ are...

Cost: Free

Where:
2nd and 3rd Streets
Wilmington, DE  19801


Sponsor: Notbybreadalone Outreach Ministries
Telephone: 442-0440
Contact Name: Ministers Wayne and Stephanie Dumpson
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will host a four-session diabetes educational program, The Diabetes Connection, on February 6, 13, 20 and 27 from 9:30 am to 11:30 am. Pre-registration is required. As...

Cost: Call for cost.

Where:
Nanticoke Memorial Hospital
801 Middleford Road
Seaford, DE  19973
View map »


Telephone: 302-629-6611 x2288
Contact Name: Nanticoke's Diabetes Education Department
Website »

More information

Soprano Alissa Rose is a native of Billings, Montana whose multi-faceted career has taken her around the United States and abroad.  She completed her Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of...

Cost: $15 adults; $10 UD faculty/staff/alumni & seniors; $5 students

Where:
Gore Recital Hall
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: University of Delaware Department of Music
Telephone: 130-283-12578
Contact Name: Megan Everhart
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

This community-curated exhibition brings together three painters—Alan Soffer, Brian Dickerson, and Moe Brooker—who are attuned to harmonies and contrasts in abstract forms. Each artist...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

FREE COMMUNITY EVENT: MID-WEEK WORD REFRESHER Come join us at the Mid-Week Word Refresher every Wednesday at Faith Victory Christian Center from 11:00am - 12:00pm. Refreshments will be...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Faith Victory Christian Center
301 Commonwealth Avenue
Claymont, DE  19703
View map »


Sponsor: Faith Victory Christian Center
Telephone: 302.354.6726
Contact Name: Alvin Walker
Website »

More information

Clearing the mind and learning to think not thinking is Zen awareness. Taking the appropriate action in this moment is Zen. Once you know this in your body, walking, standing, sitting down,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Newark
420 Willa Road
Newark, DE  19711
View map »


Sponsor: UUFN
Telephone: 302.368.2984
Contact Name: Richard Field
Website »

More information

An ensemble of five dynamic and brilliant players in their own right, Christiana Winds explores the exciting and unique tradition of wind chamber music from the 18th century to the present. In...

Cost: $15 adults; $10 UD faculty/staff/alumni & seniors; $5 students

Where:
Gore Recital Hall
110 Orchard Rd
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: University of Delaware Department of Music
Telephone: 130-283-12578
Contact Name: Megan Everhart
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

This community-curated exhibition brings together three painters—Alan Soffer, Brian Dickerson, and Moe Brooker—who are attuned to harmonies and contrasts in abstract forms. Each artist...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

Francesca Russello Ammon will explore the decades following World War II when rapid growth and construction in the United States coincided with a time of large-scale destruction. This author talk...

Cost: Free

Where:
Hagley Museum Soda House
298 Buck Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Sponsor: Hagley Museum and Library
Telephone: 302-658-2400
Contact Name: Carol Lockman
Website »

More information

Francesca Russello Ammon will explore the decades following World War II when rapid growth and construction in the United States coincided with a time of large-scale destruction. This author talk...

Cost: Free

Where:
Hagley Museum Soda House
298 Buck Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-658-2400
Contact Name: Carol Lockman
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Cokesbury Village White Elephant Sale March 2nd & 3rd, 2018 Furniture, clothing, jewelry, china, kitchenware, tools, appliances, pictures and picture frames, luggage, lamps, and books.

Cost: Free

Where:
Cokesbury Village
726 Loveville Rd
Hockessin, DE  19707
View map »


Sponsor: Cokesbury Village Residents Association
Telephone: 302-235-8578
Contact Name: John Prince

More information

This community-curated exhibition brings together three painters—Alan Soffer, Brian Dickerson, and Moe Brooker—who are attuned to harmonies and contrasts in abstract forms. Each artist...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

Glory of Stories introduces young visitors to art and the Museum through a story reading followed by an interactive tour of relevant works of art and a studio art project. This program encourages...

Cost: Free to Members, $5 per child and one adult free for Non-Members

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »

More information

This noontime lunch series on the first Friday of every month pairs an engaging 30-minute discussion about a work of art with a delicious lunch in the Thronson Café. Café lunch voucher included...

Cost: $12 Members, $14 Non-Members

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »

More information

Join us for the Art Loop Opening of Terence Roberts' photography exhibit - Inner Light. This show features light-paintings, photographs made at night of gardens, landscapes, and trees. The...

Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
Delaware Center for Horticulture
1810 N. Dupont Street
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Sponsor: Art Loop Wilmington
Telephone: (302) 658-6262
Contact Name: Marcia Stephenson
Website »

More information

Based on the Dreamworks animated film, the adventures and antics of NYC zoo animals who escape and end up in Madagascar. Enjoy this rollicking youth musical.  Friday March 2nd at 7:00 p.m.,...

Cost: Free. Voluntary donations.

Where:
Aldersgate United Methodist Church
2301 Concord Pike
Wilmington, DE  19803
View map »


Sponsor: Aldersgate Youth Players
Telephone: 302-478-2575
Contact Name: Church office staff
Website »

More information

Meeting every Friday, Bayhealth Kent General Hospital, 640 s. State Street, Dover, 7:30 pm., Private Dining Room #3 in the basement. For those who have, or think they may have a gambling problem....

Cost: 0.00

Where:
Bayhealth Kent General Hospital
640 S. State Street
Private Dining Room #3
Dover, DE  19901
View map »


Telephone: 800-855-2CALLGA
Website »

More information

The Ruby Stanley One-Act Festival is a Drama League tradition.  Join us for a fun evening of one-act plays, and vote for your favorite to represent us at the regional festival.  Performances are...

Cost: $10.00

Where:
Wilmington Drama League
10 West Lea Blvd.
Wilmington, DE  19802
View map »


Sponsor: Wilmington Drama League
Telephone: 302-764-1172
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Cokesbury Village White Elephant Sale March 2nd & 3rd, 2018 Furniture, clothing, jewelry, china, kitchenware, tools, appliances, pictures and picture frames, luggage, lamps, and books.

Cost: Free

Where:
Cokesbury Village
726 Loveville Rd
Hockessin, DE  19707
View map »


Sponsor: Cokesbury Village Residents Association
Telephone: 302-235-8578
Contact Name: John Prince

More information

Build a model ship at home and enter it into our home-build contest! Build your ship at the Copelane Maritime Center using our STEM-based design plans! Free-play area for all ages, plus many...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kalmar Nyckel Foundation
1124 E. 7th Street
Wilmington, DE  19801
View map »

More information

This community-curated exhibition brings together three painters—Alan Soffer, Brian Dickerson, and Moe Brooker—who are attuned to harmonies and contrasts in abstract forms. Each artist...

Cost: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE  19806
View map »


Website »

More information

Based on the Dreamworks animated film, the adventures and antics of NYC zoo animals who escape and end up in Madagascar. Enjoy this rollicking youth musical.  Friday March 2nd at 7:00 p.m.,...

Cost: Free. Voluntary donations.

Where:
Aldersgate United Methodist Church
2301 Concord Pike
Wilmington, DE  19803
View map »


Sponsor: Aldersgate Youth Players
Telephone: 302-478-2575
Contact Name: Church office staff
Website »

More information

The Ruby Stanley One-Act Festival is a Drama League tradition.  Join us for a fun evening of one-act plays, and vote for your favorite to represent us at the regional festival.  Performances are...

Cost: $10.00

Where:
Wilmington Drama League
10 West Lea Blvd.
Wilmington, DE  19802
View map »


Sponsor: Wilmington Drama League
Telephone: 302-764-1172
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit Module