From Publishers Weekly
In his latest, author and columnist Peters (Fighting for the Future) puts the contemporary conflict between Islam and the West into the context of 14 centuries of warfare, making a clear and compelling case for rethinking the U.S. approach. When Muslim armies exploded out of Arabia in the 7th century, the armies of Dark Age Europe didn't know how to stop them. While the Muslims fought as a unified, cohesive army, the Europeans were loyal only to their feudal lords, fighting in small units, or simply man-to-man; fast-forward to the present of Iraq and Afghanistan, where the U.S.-led coalition is the unified force, while Islamist fanatics work as disorganized bands, attacking each other as often as coalition targets. Contrary to what Western leaders may think, Peters insists, the war on terrorism is a war of religion-at least for militant Islamists. From this vantage, Peters takes Western leaders to task for a 60 year policy of rational negotiation; in Peters's thorough analysis, the War on Terror is an emotionally-driven endeavor, and an effective strategy for victory will only arise once political and military leaders recognize the motives, internal and historical, that drive our foes.
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This collection of essays, articles, and columns by a former military intelligence officer is subtitled Middle-Eastern Islam vs. Western Civilization because Peters believes present conflicts in the Middle East are but the latest battles in a 1,400-year-old war. The unifying theme of the pieces is that failure to understand that fact, historical illiteracy in American society at all levels, and insistence on dealing with Islamic and other non-Western cultures using Western values has led to a great waste of lives, time, and money for much of the past 60 years, in particular, the past 9. Peters supports the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, however, and these pieces were written to convince. They should not be dismissed as propaganda, for they offer insights into the Middle East mess that should be considered, from a writer who is an experienced hand with both fiction (e.g., The War after Armageddon, 2009) and nonfiction. --Frieda Murray