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Tom Clancy’s 'Rainbow Six' chillingly plausible look at radical environmentalists

  • Tom Clancy's "Rainbow Six" novel offers an almost unbelievable insight into radical environmentalists. "Rainbow Six" is required reading for those dealing with eco-terrorists.

Tom Clancy is one of my favorite writers. His books are thrillers with very detailed technological and geopolitical themes.

We all know his novels: “Hunt for Red October,” “Red Storm Rising,” “Patriot Games,” “Cardinal of the Kremlin,” “Clear and Present Danger,” “The Sum of All Fears,” “Without Remorse,” “Debt of Honor,” “Executive Orders,” and “Rainbow Six.”

I just finished “Rainbow Six.” Like all Clancy novels, it is fiction with a compelling factual basis. Clancy is a master who weaves many storylines into one central plot. More importantly, however, what he fictionalizes is totally plausible. When you read his novels, you come away with the chilling notion: It could happen. Probably his most convincing novel for me before “Rainbow Six” was “The Sum of All Fears.” It is a techno-thriller about Third World terrorists who get their hands on nuclear material to plant a nuclear bomb outside the Super Bowl game in Denver. Guess what flashed across my mind when the lights went out in the Super Dome in New Orleans recently?

“Rainbow Six” has all the military and spy elements that make a Clancy novel hard to put down. There is the team of anti-terrorists who can shoot off the head of a pin or the head of a terrorist from 200 yards. There are old Russian KGB spies and aging terrorists reverting to their old ways with chilling consequences.

However, the main plot centers around an eco-terrorism conspiracy to kill most of people in the world to “save the planet.” It is pretty far-fetched and a bit hard to identify with the plots in other Clancy novels. It seems a little out of character for Clancy. Nevertheless, Clancy captured me once again with his craftsmanship, and I hurried through the pages to get to the end, which never fails to totally surprise. You’ll have to read how the good guys took care of the bad guy eco-terrorists. It’s so fitting.

Even when I finished the book, I still had a difficult time accepting even the remote believability of anyone killing most of the people on the planet to save it.

Shortly after that I went to the California Weed Science Society annual meeting where I was asked to speak on the history of Roundup Ready alfalfa and my “fondness” for environmental whackos, comparing them to those who protested smallpox and polio vaccines. In talking to people afterward who have encountered similar disturbed environmental whackos, it made Clancy’s eco-terrorism plot seem plausible.

A friend talked about how he has seen starving children in impoverished nations who could be helped by advancement in biotechnology, yet environmentalists object to the technology and ignore the needs of millions of hungry people. It convinced me there are radical environmentalists who are willing to put plants and animals ahead of people, as difficult as that is to swallow. Not all the so-called environmentalists are that demented.

Clancy’s eco-terrorism thriller is unsettling, but it puts into perspective the thinking of the truly radical in the environmental movement, and serves as fair warning to guard against the motives of hopefully only a few.

Discuss this Blog Entry 7

Anonymous (not verified)
on Feb 7, 2013

Look at what has happened to the polio vaccine workers in Pakistan. Check the deteriorating health conditions in Egypt. Modern civilization could easily fall into a pit.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Feb 7, 2013

Harry, I find your article is very telling about your own fears. It does not complement your station in which you could be, instead, subscribing to bridging the gaps between farmers and environmentalists through dialog and education. A s a farmer AND environmentalist, I see this article as an obstacle to transforming our world for the better. From reading many of your articles in the past, I expect far more from you.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Feb 7, 2013

This is a novel and a fiction novel at best. It is disturbing that you are fearful of eco-terrorists, when in our own backyards there are gangs, warlords, and psychopaths with semi-automatic assault weapons. Everyday people are murdered in the United States. Terrorism is already here.

Let's not blame environmentalists, who for the most part are not radical. Let's start looking at bridging communication between the agriculture world and the world of environmentalists so we can better understand each others concerns and perhaps work together to ease stress for farmers while identifying ways to address soil, water, and resource sustainability.

Educate and dialog in the real world rather than delve into fiction for predicting mayhem.

Jonathan (not verified)
on Feb 8, 2013

please stop! the environmentalists DO NOT WANT A DISCUSSION PERIOD. They want their way period. They get their way by telling half truths and down right LIES designed to put fear into the general public. Please do not tell anyone that a meaningful conversation will take place with the environmental wackos, because they do not want a discussion, they want their way and that is all. those people will not have a discussion until they go hungry.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Feb 7, 2013

I appreciate this publication and your posts.

I would like to proffer this thought: superficial appearances (whether physical or a job title or political position...whatnot) are not always such great indicators of the complexities of humans/individuals. I mention this because the whole "whacko" spin and muckracking in general that is volleyed between media folk (as well as anyone politic-ing a position), can lead us even further from solutions to the many challenges that society faces. Dialogue between the many sectors of our society - between community a fundamental step towards crafting feasible, economic, efficient and equitable practices and policies. This is my opinion. I read all sorts of news (regularly - to research public opinion and a wide spectrum of perspective). I know many people who would cringe at any number of the publication titles - because they feel "those whackos are insane or stupid or ignorant or..." I mean no disrespect to you nor your post. I enjoy your work. Just something that I really want to express.


Anonymous (not verified)
on Feb 19, 2013

Its amazing how clancy writes about tommorows headlines. His latest called Threat Vector is all about Chinese hackers attacking US interests. Look a todays headlines (Feb 19). Amazing!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Feb 19, 2013

Its amazing how Clancy writes tomorrow's headlines. His latest novel Threat Vector is about Chinese hackers attacking US interests. Check out today's (Feb 19) headlines. Amazing!

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