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The War Against the Terror Masters: Why It Happened. Where We Are Now. How We'll Win. Hardcover – September 10, 2002

3.9 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This occasionally simplistic polemic calls for a "revolutionary war" on the "coherent terror network" organized by the governments of Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the "driving force behind international terrorism," Iran. Ledeen, a member of the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute and a former National Security Council consultant, persuasively details the links between these regimes and terrorist groups, and castigates previous presidents (particularly the "corrupt" and "self-indulgent" Bill Clinton) for discounting the terrorist threat and tolerating the complacency and bungling of U. S. intelligence agencies. His unnuanced theory of terrorism, however-the "terror masters" are "tyrants" who loathe America because of its mere "existence" as a symbol of freedom-downplays political complexities and ignores America's tarnished record in the Middle East. And while Ledeen urges the United States to help the citizens of terrorist states overthrow their despotic rulers, he warns that to do so-i.e., to be ready for war-Americans must give up their faith in "radical egalitarianism" and "the perfectibility of man" in favor of Machiavellian principles ("The only important thing is winning"; "It is better to be feared than loved"). Some readers will applaud Ledeen's hard-nosed demand to "reconcile our democratic values with the necessity of imposing our will," but others may think the compromise too great.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"...transcend[s] mere descriptive narrative and seek[s] to fix a value--political, philosophical or strategic--on the events of 9/11..." -- Tunku Varadarajan, Wall Street Journal

"Sometimes controversial, often provocative, always informative and insightful." -- Bernard Lewis, author of What Went Wrong?, The Middle East, and The Arabs in History

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Truman Talley Books; 1st edition (September 10, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031230644X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312306441
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.1 x 9.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,125,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
If you've read Steven Emerson's American Jihad, Ellen Harris' Guarding the Secrets, Robert Baer's See No Evil and keep current with the work of the Middle East Media Research Institute and Middle East Quarterly, Ledeen's book won't provide many revelations. You'll know that Sunni and Shi'ite Islamists work together in a worldwide terror network, Wahhabi Saudis finance radical Muslim groups worldwide, Iran's mullahs have long linked with Yassir Arafat, and terrorist Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other radical leaders operate openly in mosques and schools throughout the U.S. And that FBI doctrine called "criminal predicate" requires evidence of plans or criminal action before agents can aggressively pursue terrorists.

But Ledeen's new information is a bombshell: In 1996, the Clinton administration rejected not one, but three, Sudanese offers to watch bin Laden, provide his connections to Hizbollah and Hamas--or turn him over to U.S. authorities. In 1997, the U.S. again refused the Sudan's offer to nail bin Laden, even preventing transfer of crucial data to Britain. Only in the late 2001 did the U.S. get the information.

He ties together many crucial strands of evidence--including damning new ones--into a coherent piece. Ledeen shows that the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on America were the result of bureaucracy gone to seed. The Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton administrations all lost the will to pursue basic security measures in the U.S.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The terror masters despise our economic system and culture, but freely use our cell phones, computers, and modern weaponry in their relentless efforts to destroy us. Michael Ledeen also notes that these thugs form alliances with their ideological opposites that are peculiar to say the least. Logical consistency is apparently not a highly held value. The Ayatollah Khomeini was a radical Islamic cleric who didn't hesitate to ally "himself with anyone who could advance his cause: from Sunni terrorists like Arafat to Marxists unbelievers like the the leaders of the PFLP, and even deviants from the Islamic tradition like Hafez al-Assad." The author contends that it is foolhardy to suggest "that members of different sects and or traditions cannot work together in a common enterprise." On the contrary, terrorist leaders readily embrace the concept that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. This is especially true when their common foe is the United States and the other centers of Western Civilization. Tomorrow they probably will return to killing each other, but today there are infidels to be murdered. "If it were simply a matter of our actions," adds Ledeen, "the leaders of the Muslim world would hail America as one of the greatest allies they've ever had." Didn't we, after all, save Muslims in Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Bosnia? Sadly, our efforts motivated by moral considerations are deemed irrelevant and unworthy of gratitude. We should also not be deluded in believing that this hatred is directly connected to Israel's tense predicament with the Palestinians. The rage of the Islamic fascists transcends this seemingly intractable problem. The ultimate goal of these monsters is to eradicate our very presence anywhere on this planet.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Ledeen's book, written nearly two years before the 9/11 Commission report would have been a much cheaper and faster way for Congress to get to the same result; that the CIA has so lost its way that it will take a Herculean effort to make it effective in fighting Islamofascism. Ledeen points to the willingness of the Clinton administration to turn its head after the first attack on American soil in 1993 for the sake of political expediency. He also goes back into previous administrations, Republican and Democrat alike to see how the CIA has become "a cross between the Post Office and the Agriculture" department in efficiency and intensity in protecting the West from the onslaught of international terrorism. The parts of the book that are most telling is what the 9/11 Commission chose to ignore, the micromanaging of the CIA by Congress which slowly but surely turned it into a eunuch in the Middle East. Former Senator Torricelli's demands for an investigation are particularly amusing given his amendment which effectively prevented the CIA from employing the kind of agents we will need to infiltrate the terrorist cells active all over the world today, including in the US.
Ledeen writes frequently in his columns, and this book should have a three ring binder to attach more up to date information, but this book is still worth reading, if for no other reason to read the "politically incorrect" version of what the commission should have found.
I must admit that I am not as much an optimist as he is when it comes to the stomach of those in the West to do what is needed to win the fight. Americans are not much better than Europeans in understanding that this is a war which has been going on since 1979, and we have only just begun to fight it.
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