I’m joking of course.
At this point I doubt very much that Bill Clinton could sign his name, let alone co-write a book. The President’s Daughter has Bill Clinton’s name on the cover next to James Patterson’s, but it reads like a third-rate Tom Clancy knock-off raising the possibility that neither man had anything to do with it beyond briefly sketching out some kind of plot. And I’m not sure Bill Clinton could even manage that.
We are dealing with a book in which the president’s daughter gets kidnapped by Islamic terrorists who namecheck “Allah” every other page.
And that’s probably more of a callback to a saner 90s era in which you could depict Islamic terrorists as the bad guys.
There’s nothing all that special about this, but in the 2020s when Dr. Seuss is getting canceled, it’s striking that a bestselling book with Bill Clinton’s name on it can come out with scenes like this and without anyone leading a mob to cancel him.
It’s even more striking if Bill Clinton signed off on a scene in which a terrorist mocks the idea of Islam as a religion of peace.
“But you don’t have to do this,” she says, thinking furiously, and Tim looks back, eyes wide with fright, and she goes on and says, “Just let us go.”
“Allah wills otherwise, I’m afraid.”
Thinking hard, Mel says, “Please. Islam is a religion of peace, isn’t it? Prove it. Let us go. If you have a message, a concern, or a complaint, I’ll pass it along to my dad. He can see it gets to the right people.”
The man doesn’t say a word, and then bursts out laughing. “Oh, you young ignorant girl. What you don’t know about me and Islam could fill a container ship. But I have been a patient teacher for many, many years…and you and your father have so much to learn, and I have so much to teach. I have been waiting a very, very long time for this.”
He gently caresses her neck with the muzzle end of the pistol.
Mel Keating is trying to ease her rapid breathing, which is hard to do, since her arms and legs are bound by duct tape, her head is covered by a cloth hood tied around the base of her neck, and her mouth is taped and filled with a wadded-up piece of cloth. Luckily, her glasses are still secure on her face. Part of her is quaking in deep horror and shock at seeing Tim shot dead in front of her, snuffed out before he was even old enough to drink, blasted away in a dirt parking lot by two terrorists.
Tangos, she thinks, her eyes streaming tears, using the familiar military slang for terrorists. Killers. Scum.
The kind of people Dad fought when he was in the teams, and later, when he was president.
Mel is stunned at her college classmates’ ignorance and apathy about the real world, and she’s learned to keep her mouth shut during late-night hangs, when her fellow students would drone on and on about how the real roots of terrorism were poverty, despair, and inequality.
One night she pointed out that Osama bin Laden had come from a wealthy Saudi construction family and was certainly not penniless or oppressed, and boy, she never made that mistake again after putting up with an hour of listening to how ignorant, unfeeling, and privileged she was.
Asim says, “Because you’re a prisoner of war, that is why. A war that has been going on for centuries.”
Mel shrugs. “What, you’re going to give me a lecture on the clash of civilizations, West versus East, Islam versus Christianity? The works of Samuel Huntington, pro and con? Please. I’ve heard it before, from professionals who know a hell of a lot more about it than you.”
Asim clenches his fists. “Academics. Weak men. Book learners. I knew them well when I was your age and was at university, before jihad called me away. What do they know about war?”
Best cover they can get is a slight dirt berm, and they drop down and get to work. It’s not much cover, because every time they take out a guy running out of one of the houses, yelling “Allahu Akbar” and spraying widely with machine-gun fire, two others fly out, taking up positions around the rocky ground near the buildings.
I’m not promoting The President’s Daughter. The last thing the Clintons need is more money. And it’s badly written anyway from a purely literary standpoint, but there’s got to be something strange about a scenario in which Chelsea Clinton is featured learning about Islam the hard way with her father’s name on the cover.
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