From Publishers Weekly
Reporting from insurgencies, war zones, and America's military, longtime journalist Smucker (Al Qaeda's Great Escape) analyzes the fraught relationship between the Arab world and the U.S. with an emphasis on how American foreign policy exacerbated Islamic extremism and, in particular, has radicalized young Muslims. Drawing on interviews with students, journalists, and soldiers on all sides, the author argues cogently that decades of wrongheaded American policy--propping up oppressive demagogues in the region and America's persistent failure to assertively pursue Israeli-Palestinian peace-- have been instrumental in sowing anti-U. S. animus, as has been the misguided response of the Bush administration to September 11: the invasion of the already beleaguered Afghanistan, a country that had nothing to do with the attacks; the demonizing of Islam; and America "gloating" as Saddam was toppled. While Smucker allows that relations won't be warmed quickly, "stubbornly continuing to fight without attempting to see through the eyes of our brothers and our enemies is a dead end." He calls instead for foreign policy shifts to give "soft power" and diplomacy a lead role in the efforts to eventually replace war and distrust with stability and cooperation.
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"My Brother, My Enemy
is a riveting, first-hand account
of the war on terror--and what has gone wrong with it--since 9/11. Philip Smucker has met, talked to, and even lived with Jihadists from Yemen to Iraq, Timbuktu to Waziristan. He tells the story of what happens when America goes abroad 'in search of monsters to destroy.'" --Paul Wood
, BBC Mideast Correspondent, Jerusalem
"Philip Smucker makes an impassioned argument for understanding and reconciliation. Traversing a broad swath of the world's great Islamic societies, from northern Africa to Indonesia , he mingles a multitude of personal experiences with insights and analysis. The ultimate goal is peaceful resolution of the great 'war on terror' that pits U.S.-led forces against a wide range of enemies. He avoids demonizing either or any side in a search for a better way of both waging war and making peace. As the title suggests, our enemies also are our brothers, and the war will end only when we recognize our common bond as people with similar yearnings, hopes, and fears....The author himself sides only with a desire to resolve conflict. He suggests how in a final section devoted to sensitive and colorful first-person reporting from the battlegrounds of Afghanistan . Moving from there to the plain at West Point , he offers criticism and advice that those closest to the war zone may want to consider seriously." --Donald Kirk, Asia expert, correspondent, Christian Science Monitor, author of Korea Betrayed
"Philip Smucker has drawn upon his many years of on-the-ground reporting in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia to craft a practical and astute assessment of America's standing in the Islamic world. He disdains the hyperbolic and fear-mongering rhetoric that so many politicians and pundits favor about the clash between America and Islamic extremists, and instead offers a reasoned analysis of America's challenge. Moreover, he correctly identifies the key to any potential American success in its 'battle of ideas'--brokering an even-handed solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict." --Michael K. Bohn, former director of the Reagan White House's Situation Room and author of The Achille Lauro Hijacking: Lessons in the Politics and Prejudice of Terrorism.
"Philip Smucker has written a deeply reported and engaging account of his long journey across the worlds of Islam from Iraq to Indonesia (and even to Timbuktu!). During that journey he delivers a lively account of the state of play between the West and the 'Muslim world' that will be of great interest to readers of all types. A terrific read with many wise things to say about the often difficult nature of the Western-Islamic relationship." --Peter Bergen, author of Holy War, Inc. and The Osama bin Laden I Know.