Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror

Overview

Though U.S. leaders try to convince the world of their success in fighting al Qaeda, one anonymous member of the U.S. intelligence community would like to inform the public that we are, in fact, losing the war on terror. Further, until U.S. leaders recognize the errant path they have irresponsibly chosen, he says, our enemies will only grow stronger.

According to the author, the greatest danger for Americans confronting the Islamist threat is to believe—at the urging of U.S. ...

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Overview

Though U.S. leaders try to convince the world of their success in fighting al Qaeda, one anonymous member of the U.S. intelligence community would like to inform the public that we are, in fact, losing the war on terror. Further, until U.S. leaders recognize the errant path they have irresponsibly chosen, he says, our enemies will only grow stronger.

According to the author, the greatest danger for Americans confronting the Islamist threat is to believe—at the urging of U.S. leaders—that Muslims attack us for what we are and what we think rather than for what we do. Blustering political rhetoric “informs” the public that the Islamists are offended by the Western world’s democratic freedoms, civil liberties, inter-mingling of genders, and separation of church and state. However, although aspects of the modern world may offend conservative Muslims, no Islamist leader has fomented jihad to destroy participatory democracy, for example, the national association of credit unions, or coed universities.

Instead, a growing segment of the Islamic world strenuously disapproves of specific U.S. policies and their attendant military, political, and economic implications. Capitalizing on growing anti-U.S. animosity, Osama bin Laden’s genius lies not simply in calling for jihad, but in articulating a consistent and convincing case that Islam is under attack by America. Al Qaeda’s public statements condemn America’s protection of corrupt Muslim regimes, unqualified support for Israel, the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, and a further litany of real-world grievances. Bin Laden’s supporters thus identify their problem and believe their solution lies in war. Anonymous contends they will go to any length, not to destroy our secular, democratic way of life, but to deter what they view as specific attacks on their lands, their communities, and their religion. Unless U.S. leaders recognize this fact and adjust their policies abroad accordingly, even moderate Muslims will join the bin Laden camp.

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Editorial Reviews

Michiko Kakutani
Imperial Hubris, the scalding new book by a current Central Intelligence Agency officer — who was able to publish the book on the condition that his real name not be revealed — is an assessment of America's war on terror that is bound to provoke large heapings of controversy, on both the right and the left, among hardliners on Iraq and critics of the administration alike. Readers will doubtless contest some or many of the things Anonymous has to say, but he pulls few punches in this book and gives us a fascinating window on America's war with Al Qaeda — at least as framed by one senior analyst, who seems to have put all bureaucratic niceties aside.
The New York Times
Richard A. Clarke
For those Americans who had begun to doubt whether the Central Intelligence Agency could produce good analysis, Imperial Hubris clearly demonstrates otherwise. It is a powerful, persuasive analysis of the terrorist threat and the Bush administration's failed efforts to fight it. The CIA carefully vetted the book to ensure that no "sources and methods" were exposed, but the anonymous author -- a current CIA official -- draws effectively on the years he's spent carefully studying detailed intelligence reports from several U.S. and many foreign spy agencies. His criticism is damning.
The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
It's unclear how, in an age when even office workers must sign confidentiality agreements, an alleged CIA Middle Eastern specialist has gotten permission to publish a sprawling, erudite book on the origins and present state of the "war on terror." His main point is that Arab antagonism to the West (and even non-fundamentalist Arab regimes' winking at terrorism) has its root in real grievances that have gone unaddressed by U.S. measures. The actions of the Saudis, and their U.S. supporters, come in for some hard criticism, as does the elevation of Northern Alliance warlords to de facto governors of Afghanistan. The author makes some challenging remarks regarding Israel ("Surely there can be no other historical example of a faraway, theocracy-in-all-but-name of only six million people that ultimately controls the extent and even the occurrence of an important portion of political discourse and national security debate in a country of 270-plus million people that prides itself on religious toleration, separation of church and state, and freedom of speech") while playing down the extent to which the Taliban itself was a corrupt theocratic regime. But his annotated compendia of battles and skirmishes won and lost by the U.S. and al-Qaeda are gripping, and his engagement with his subject has made him a pundit-in-demand. (Aug.) Forecast: This is more a book to shake up policy wonks with facts on the ground than for the general public, but it has already created a stir inside the Beltway and beyond. The book is the author's second; Through Our Enemies' Eyes: Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam and the Future of America was mostly ignored, but this time around, the Primary Colors approach (necessary to protect the author's identity) has led to much TV and print exposure (with voice and features disguised); expect media-based sales. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597971591
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/30/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 385,493
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Bestselling author Michael Scheuer is the former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden Unit and has two decades of experience in national security issues related to Afghanistan and South Asia. After resigning from the agency in November 2004, he revealed his authorship of Imperial Hubris (Brassey's, Inc., 2004) and Through Our Enemies' Eyes both originally published under the byline "Anonymous." Scheuer has been featured extensively on television, including 60 Minutes, and has been the focus of print media worldwide. He lives in the Washington, D.C., area.
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Table of Contents

Author’s Note
Preface: “Hubris Followed by Defeat”
Acknowledgments
Introduction
: Thoughts on the Power of Focused, Principled Hatred
Chapter I: The Fatal Delay: 11 September-7 October 2001.
Chapter II: An Ignorant Lunge To Defeat: The United States in Afghanistan
Chapter III: Not Down, Not Out: Al-Qaeda’s Resiliency, Expansion, and Momentum
Chapter IV: The World’s View of Bin Laden: A Muslim Leader and Hero Coming Into Focus?
Chapter V: Bin Laden Views the World: Some Old, Some New, and a Twist
Chapter VI: Blinding Hubris Abounding: Inflicting Defeat on Ourselves - Non-War, Leaks, and Missionary Democracy
Chapter VII: When the Enemy Sets the Stage: How America’s Stubborn Obtuseness Helps Its Foes
Chapter VIII: Preparing for War: Know the Enemy, Debate Everything, Kill the Generals, and Put Away the Warrants.
Chapter IX: The Way Ahead: A Few Suggestions
Epilogue
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