The Bombings the World Forgot

Reseña de libro
Foreign Policy, Amazon y otros (21.09.2018)
  • Ambassador Prudence Bushnell survived the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kenya. Now she tells her story

Prudence Bushnell
"Terrorism, Betrayal, and Resilience: My Story of the 1998 U.S. Embassy Bombings"
Potomac Books, Washington DC 2018

Twenty years ago last month, al Qaeda attacked two U.S. embassies in Africa—one in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the other in Nairobi, Kenya. More than 200 people lost their lives that day, including 12 Americans. Thousands more sustained injuries. The attacks were the first major salvo in al Qaeda’s war against the United States and a precursor to other al Qaeda assaults on U.S. targets, including the suicide bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000 and, of course, 9/11.

Prudence Bushnell was the U.S. ambassador to Kenya in 1998. She warned the State Department about potential security threats as soon as she took up her post, but those concerns went unheeded.

Bushnell was meeting with the Kenyan Trade Minister on August 7, 1998, when al-Qaeda bombed the embassy in Nairobi, killing twelve embassy staff and more than two hundred Kenyans. Hit by flying glass and briefly unconscious, Bushnell began overseeing rescue operations as soon as she was able, and then pressed American and Kenyan authorities for explanations to how this attack—and the concurrent one in Tanzania—could have happened, given that bin Laden’s Nairobi cell had been under surveillance since 1996.

She’s now written a book—Terrorism, Betrayal, and Resilience: My Story of the 1998 U.S. Embassy Bombings—detailing the harrowing narrative of that terrible day and explaining how her appeals for greater security were ignored. Her memoir is an illuminating inside look at ineffective national security strategies, assumptions about terrorism, and misperceptions of Islamic radicalism that are still largely in place two decades after the bombings.

This book is Pru Bushnell’s account of her quest to understand how these bombings could have happened, given the scrutiny bin Laden and his cell in Nairobi had been getting since 1996 from special groups throughout the U.S. intelligence community. She tracks national security strategies and assumptions about terrorism and the Muslim world that failed to keep us safe in 1998 and continue today. In this hard-hitting, no-holds-barred account she reveals what led to poor decisions in Washington and demonstrates how diplomacy and leadership going forward will be our country’s most potent defense.

Now retired from the Foreign Service, Bushnell is founder of the Levitt Leadership Institute at Hamilton College.

"Ambassador Prudence Bushnell is a true professional with the toughness, grit, courage and compassion that marks the kind of superb leader you want in charge during a crisis. . . . Every American should read this book."

-- Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.)

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