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Bin Laden's Legacy: Why We're Still Losing the War on Terror Hardcover – August 1, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-1118094945 ISBN-10: 1118094948 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (August 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118094948
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118094945
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,078,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


* ""A remarkable and laudable work.... In a narrative that somehow manages to be both concise and comprehensive, the author lays out the multiple battlefields and competing strategies of both al Qaeda and the United States.... Gartenstein-Ross brings his rational voice to an irrational world, proposing a set of operating principles to a security-policy machine that has inoculated itself against the very concept."" (Foreign Policy)

""Gartenstein-Ross' evaluation of al-Qaeda's strategy, means, and intentions is without equal, as is his analysis of America's missteps during the War on Terror.) (Small Wars Journal)

""Urgent without being alarmist and eminently readable, Bin Laden's Legacy is a testament to Gartenstein-Ross's deep knowledge of his field and his capacity to cut through feeble arguments to lay out only the most salient evidence. His legal training combines neatly with his moderate, academic approach to produce arguments so logical that they seem obvious at first glance; only later does the reader realize this is a fresh read on the past 10 years of counterterrorism efforts. (NDU Press Blog)

From the Inside Flap

Despite the death of Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda remains a significant threat because bin Laden's strategy for combating the United States—sapping its economic and military strength while expanding the battlefield on which America has to fight—lives on. In fact, this strategy has evolved over the past decade, it's working, and because U.S. planners never took the time to understand it, many of our responses have actually helped al Qaeda achieve its goals while undermining our own.

In Bin Laden's Legacy, counterterrorism expert Daveed Gartenstein-Ross explains why al Qaeda's "death by a thousand cuts" strategy has been effective. He shows how such well-publicized plots as the "underwear bomber" and printer cartridge bombs achieved their primary goals, despite being foiled. He notes how we have played into al Qaeda's hands with two costly, unpopular wars and by setting up an expensive homeland security bureaucracy that has difficulty dealing with a nimble, adaptive foe. He explains how many of our antiterrorism efforts are inefficient by design, suffer from a lack of coordination between the government and an array of contractors, and lack any obvious means to evaluate the return on our enormous investment in them. He explores how domestic politicization of the terrorist threat has skewed U.S. priorities, led to the misallocation of counterterrorism resources, and created flawed counterterrorism paradigms and bad policies. Meanwhile, public morale has been weakened by measures ranging from color-coded terror alerts to invasive, full-body searches in airports.

If bin Laden's death is to truly represent a turning point in the war on terror, it won't be due just to his importance to al Qaeda. It will be because his death allowed the United States to reevaluate its paradigms for protecting itself from and defeating this adversary. But to do so, it is first necessary to understand the key errors that the country has made along the way and why these mistakes occurred. Gartenstein-Ross shows what we've done wrong, then proposes a practical plan to start doing right.

For if we mistakenly believe that bin Laden's death signifies the end of al Qaeda's threat, or that it vindicates our previous policies, bin Laden may well experience even greater success in death than he ever did while among us.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By C. A. Cameron on September 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Daveed Gartenstein-Ross knows and explains the background, history, religious basis and strategy of jihad, and spells out in painstaking detail how we have done just what AQ's strategy hoped for -- leaving ourselves open to economic defeat despite our undoubted military superiority and successful erosion of AQ Central personnel.

Highly recommended.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Diane Miller on November 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
pulled together a lot of things I had been thinking in a very thoughtful way. He defined the problems with our country's counter-terrorism policies & actions; explained how they came about; and outlined a plan to change and improve for the future. Very worthwhile read for a defense/military/counter-terrorism dilettante like myself and a must-read for anyone in a real position of power & influence.
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Format: Hardcover
TEN YEARS HAVE passed since terrorists hijacked airliners and flew them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In that period, America has fought wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, carried out hundreds armed drone attacks in Pakistan and Yemen (among other locations), and conducted covert operations around the world, all in the name of what President George W. Bush termed the "Global War on Terror." Terror plots and attempted attacks have been foiled, terrorist leaders have been killed or captured in massive numbers - including the world's most wanted terrorist himself, Osama bin Laden. All of this has combined, in the words of President Barack Obama, to "put al Qaeda on the path to defeat."

Given all this, is it possible that America is actually losing the war on terror? In Bin Laden's Legacy: Why We're Still Losing the War on Terror, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, director of the Center for the Study of Terrorist Radicalization at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, argues not only that we are losing, but that we as a nation still fail to understand what kind of a war we are fighting, and what our enemies' actual goals are. This is a powerful indictment, and Gartenstein-Ross painstakingly lays it out in a book that is both sharply analytical and accessible to any audience.

A KEY PROBLEM with America's attempt to wage a War on Terror while safeguarding itself from future attack, Gartenstein-Ross writes, is that our ignorance of the enemy we are facing has allowed us to pursue both goals in a profligate fashion that plays right into the hands of an enemy that sees America's economy as the long-term target. To understand the reasoning behind this, we must look to the Soviet Union. Though myriad factors contributed to the dissolution of the U.S.S.R.
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