Isis's Reviews > See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism

See No Evil by Robert B. Baer
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's review
Feb 19, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: memoir, politics
Read in January, 2007

A well-written, thoughtful, and incisive indictment of the CIA by a former operations officer (who now lives in the mountains about 50 miles from me). Baer essentially charges that during the 80s and 90s, the CIA became overly politicized and lost sight of its basic intelligence-gathering and analytical mission. He shows through his own experiences the blundering course the US took in the Middle East; I felt a bit as though I was looking over the shoulder of the Captain of the Titanic, knowing there's an iceberg ahead that he doesn't see and will inevitably crash into, but of course that's the benefit of hindsight.

This is the book that the movie "Syriana" is based on, but book and movie are sufficiently different that I regard them mostly as separate views from a similar perspective. I also went to a talk Baer gave, and he was just as blunt and insightful in person as he is in writing. He's got axes to grind, and it shows; but it's a worthwhile read (and he's a worthwhile speaker) for anyone curious about the root causes of 9/11, the war in Iraq, and US intervention abroad.

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