- Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Potomac Books (November 1, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781597971591
- ISBN-13: 978-1597971591
- ASIN: 1597971596
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 220 customer reviews
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- #1389 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Specific Topics > Terrorism
- #1412 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > International & World Politics > Security
- #1489 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > International & World Politics > Middle Eastern
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Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror Mass Market Paperback – November 1, 2007
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"Anonymous is an extremely knowledgeable, thoughtful, and provocative thinker. His analysis and forecasts about Osama bin Laden, the Al Qaeda network, and terrorism in general are extremely insightful--not to mention accurate." --Faye Bowers, CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
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Nation building is a very dangerous business. Better that the US go back to being a beacon of freedom lighting the way to happiness for the peoples of the world.
"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." - Benjamin Franklin
"Government even in its best state is but a necessary evil." - Thomas Paine (Common Sense)
First and foremost he, along with several others in the field, makes it clear that al Qaeda and bin Laden do not wish to destroy us for what we are, our freedom and our democracy, but rather for what we do to them with our actions and sometimes ill conceived foreign policy. Certainly in the past we have propped up corrupt and repressive regimes for the sake of security in the area and for the continued flow of cheap oil. It is his position that we should reexamine our support of several counties in the Gulf region and elsewhere, including our seemingly endless support for Israel. One suspects that this last contention is a large reason why the author remains anonymous.
His seeing our actions (foreign policy) as the cause and driving force for Muslim hatred appears in part correct but undoubtedly many also dislike us for how we live. Our life style conveniently fits with bin Laden's demonizing of the west. The author carefully builds a convincing case that Osama is driven by the Muslims' loving relationship with his God, that he and every Muslim is commanded by the words of The Profit to fight those attacking his faith, brethren and territory. We are seen as occupiers stealing the wealth of their lands and corrupting their faith and they have a responsibility as Muslims to destroy us. Not looking at the role of religion in considering the actions of bin Laden and al Qaeda is a major flaw in Anonymous' opinion. He also argues correctly the ending of our dependency on foreign oil must be a national priority.
He also firmly believes that the American people should be made aware in the strongest possible terms that we are at war; not a war in some remote area but here, in America, and that the Islamist mean to kill us, everyone of us. If we fail to understand that, our enemy certainly will drive that point home for us. They have repeatedly warned that the next attack will be larger, much larger, than 911. In fact, under Muslim law, Osama has now met all the proscribed requirements (warning, offered conversion to Islam, and obtain religious approval) for his using WMDs on our country. This quote from bin Laden's late mentor, Shaykh Abdullah Azzam is instructive in this regard:
"History does not write its lines except in blood. Glory does not build its lofty edifices except with skulls. Honour and respect cannot be established except on a foundation of cripples and corpses.... Indeed those who think they can change reality, or change societies, without blood sacrifices and wounds, without pure innocent souls, do not understand the essence of our religion."
The time for the west to take them at their word is long overdue.
I could take issue with some of the remarks about the start of the war with Afghanistan (we did in fact have significant Pashtun allies, Karzi and Sharzai come to mind) but his noting that we had no plan to take out al Qaeda after years of warnings is absolutely correct. This is unforgivable given the previous al Qaeda attacks here and abroad. Were it not for Lt. Col. Dave Miller of the U.S. Special Operations Command, we would have absolutely been at square one. (See, "The Hunt For Bin Laden", Robin Moore, at 17.)
This is a fine well-researched work but its main shortcoming is a rather cockeyed belief that if we leave Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Muslim world, all will be well. Bin Laden, he claims, is only waging a "defensive jihad" of the Islamic lands. (What about Spain, let's say?) Yet he goes on later in the book to undermine his assumption by quoting their warnings to us to convert to Islam and that if we don't, the Koran approves of the used of WMDs. He builds the case that they will, in time, be used against us.
In short, he gives a good analysis of the problem but overlooks an essential element of this war: it is not ours to end by leaving.
But in spite of that, it's a damn fine book, albeit, scary as hell.
One reason he can use open source (e.g. unclassified documents availible to anyone with a computer and internet) is that he knows what can and what cannot be true. I hope the Obama White House is reading Scheuer and formulating a new "why" regarding what a strategy for Afghanistan should look like. Hint: we're doing it wrong.