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My Brother, My Enemy: America and the Battle of Ideas Across the Islamic World Hardcover – July 27, 2010
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The Amazon Book Review
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"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.
Top Customer Reviews
The former war correspondent and Pulitzer Prize nominated investigative journalist's previous book, the acclaimed Al Qaeda's Great Escape (2004), revealed how the American military failed to capture Osama bin Laden in the highlands of Afghanistan. His recent follow-up, My Brother, My Enemy, is an enlightening and insightful narrative examining why US foreign policy is failing again, this time to win over the hearts and minds of the Islamic world.
As an American living in Indonesia, a moderate Muslim democracy of more than 240 million people, I see a different face of Islam than is often depicted on television screens in the West. I applaud the author's latest offering as a compelling commentary on this perception gap examining not only the causes, but offering insights for resolution.
Philip Smucker's edifying treatise is one not only politicians and military brass should heed, but the western public as well.
Swimming For A Better World
You may also want to check out Smucker's new HD video: Osama's Ghost
Through his personal experiences, some of them while he was undercover as a Bosnian Muslim, Phil paints a realistic picture of how America and her policies are viewed by the Islamic world, and how those views are influencing global terrorism and our fight against it. With all the changes going on in the world today, this book will help you understand the underlying reasons why. 5 stars for sure...!
Sheriff Ray Nash
Police Dynamics Institute
In Israel, the West Bank, and Syria, the author was able to meet with key players from both Israel and its antagonists in the region, offering a clear view, with his on-the-site writing, on how much damage the settlements actually do both to the Palestinians and to hopes for peace.
The book offers invaluable insights into the nature of our current relations with the Muslim world and, perhaps more importantly, he lends an ear - our ear - to the voices drowned out in the nightly roar of the talking heads. Mr. Smucker cares a great deal about the welfare of his own America, but makes the case that our being true to our own values of freedom, fairness, and tolerance gives us the best opportunity for helping to bring about a fair peace in the Middle East and an enduring improvement in our dealings with the vast numbers of people in the complex, kaleidoscopic Muslim world.
Second, in Afghanistan, to really conduct a counterinsurgency there, although Smucker won't throw out a number, it seems reasonable to say, from his writing, we need at least 300,000 troops there for at least another decade.
But, Smucker doesn't just write about Afghanistan and Iraq. He covers Indonesia, including its fringe islands and not just Java. He covers Timbuktu and other places in the African Sahel. He even has a bit on Bosnia.
This is both well-written and well-researched. Smucker spells out what all is involved with engaging Muslim hearts and minds, as well as winning them. Step one is a reasonably "just" peace in the Middle East, which means, as necessary, "leaning" on Israel even more, as well as engaging Hamas when possible and advisable.
Will Obama tell us the truth on this? Will Petraeus tell us the truth on Afghanistan troop needs? Or, in both cases, will our country continue to muddle along?
Smucker seems cautiously optimistic. Let's hope he's right.