October 13, 2016

Book Review: Crisis of Character

Even as I sit down to type these words I know I am wasting my time. The people who need to read this book will not read it, and even if they did, they would refuse to believe it. They are so blinded by their sycophantic adoration of Secretary Clinton that they cannot accept as real any fact which serves to contradict their assumption of her divinity. I do not understand this depth of willful ignorance. All my life I have been a truth seeker and a fact checker. I know exactly how screwed up my own internal landscape is, and I even know how it got that way. Therefore, when I form an opinion on the real world I force myself to go and seek alternatives, to verify every fact, and to always seek the greater context those facts live within. Context is everything.

Crisis of Character” by Gary J. Byrne is an exceptional book. It is one man’s version of reality and it never pretends to be anything else. The constant search of the writer is in his seeking to define the moral context of everything he experiences. He does not expect perfection. He does expect accountability.

The “Introduction” opens with some background describing how and why he decided to write this book. In the first chapter he immediately jumps to a telling event that happened on a typical day of his tenure as a Secret Service Uniformed Division (SSUD) officer trusted with the last line of defense of the First Family and the White House itself. The chapter goes deeper into his background, chronicling how his father’s influence and his childhood travels formed his internalized value system. There are multiple anecdotes from his time as an enlisted member of the Air Force Security Police (AFSP). These stories are both personally revealing and very solid examples of the many diverse situations the AFSP finds itself in. This is a real-life account of one man’s service as an elite member of an elite fighting group.

Chapter 3 begins the main portion of the book. This is the story of his career with the SSUD which opens with his powerful memories of beginning his career protecting President G. H. W. Bush and the Bush family during the tenure of our 41st President. Life under the Clintons begins in Chapter 5 and carries on for about the next third of the book. One of the most interesting aspects of this story for me was how hard he worked to protect both the reputation of the Clintons and the security of the White House. As the story unfolds it becomes clear that during this period of time his attitude was much different than it is now. Events surrounding Monica Lewinsky, the ill-fated relief mission to Somalia, and the dramatic shift in priorities between the Bush administration and the Clinton administration challenged his assumptions about American life, American politics, and the values he learned from his father. It was only after he grew trapped between his own internalized moral code, the requirements of his job, and the complete lack of a moral code displayed by the Clintons that he finally sought to be transferred out of the White House. A good man driven to despair by the morally bankrupt couple chosen to lead the free world.

Chapter 14 begins his retelling of the fallout from the Ken Starr investigation into the activities of Bill and Hillary Clinton. This portion of the book struggles very hard to come to grips with how the Clintons managed to manipulate the media, the legal system, their inner cadre of loyalists, and the American people, into believing they were something other than criminals who failed in their responsibility to live up to the expectations of the American people. There is a great deal of information here about how the Clintons managed time and time again to avoid the consequences of their own corrupt and perverse behaviors. I found this portion of his story both genuinely heartbreaking and deeply infuriating. For the past three years my faith in our political process has been fighting to stay alive. Sadly, Gary Byrne’s retelling of the Clinton impeachment proceedings has destroyed any small spark of faith I had remaining in our system. Clearly we have become a failed state. All that is left is for the right crisis to push us into a brutal, bloody, implosive collapse.

Chapter 16 begins the next phase in his life. Now he is working as an instructor, teaching advanced tactical training to federal agents from multiple law enforcement agencies as well as state and county agencies who contract with James J. Rowley Training Center (JJRTC). There are a couple of small anecdotes about his life as both an instructor and an in-rotation SSUD officer who still must from time to time serve protection details. Then 9/11 happens and his world turns upside down once again. As the SSUD is reorganized from top to bottom and political will surpasses policing as their core structure, he moves into the Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS) hoping that here he will have the tools and opportunities to genuinely help people and make a real difference in the world. Unfortunately, just before he makes the jump, the FAMS also falls victim to post 9/11 reorganization and even here, politics surpasses mission as the core foundation for policy creation and implementation. Nonetheless, the greater salary and the occasional victory are enough to keep him going until he retires.

The book closes with one last dire warning about the consequences of putting the Clintons back into the White House. His firsthand experience with the Clintons multiple and massive failures both within federal administrations and under Hillary Clinton’s service as Senator and Secretary of State have given Gary J. Byrne a unique and deeply moving perspective on how political power functions in the United States of America. Honestly, there is a great deal to be learned by reading, “Crisis of Character”. There are lessons here that are relevant to Hillary Clinton’s unsuitability for the role of President, and there are lessons here for each of us individually in understanding the consequences that result from making decisions based on pure emotion, on poor comprehension of the situation we find ourselves in, and on trusting others to do our thinking for us.

A powerful book that needs to be read by everyone who supports Hillary Clinton, but won’t be, because none of them want to see beyond the false front she has convinced them is real. It’s not just that Hillary Clinton is a con artist and a criminal. The greater context of this book is the horrifying results that occur when we ourselves refuse to face the real world consequences of our own ignorance.