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

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

by Michael Scheuer
 

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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.

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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.

Editorial Reviews

Washington Post Book World

“A powerful, persuasive analysis of the terrorist threat and the Bush administration’s failed efforts to fight it.”—Richard A. Clarke (former national coordinator for security and national terrorism), Washington Post Book World
 
The Guardian

 “A fire-breathing denunciation of U.S. counterterrorism policy.”—Julian Borger, The Guardian
 
New York Times

“Pulls few punches . . . and gives us a fascinating window on America’s war with Al Qaeda.”—Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
 
Atlantic Monthly

“Presents overwhelmingly persuasive evidence to buttress a host of significant and controversial arguments.”—Benjamin Schwartz, Atlantic Monthly
 
Peter Bergen

“No serious observer of the war on terrorism can ignore this scathing critique of the Bush administration’s policies.”—Peter Bergen, author of Holy War, Inc.
 
Detroit Free Press

“Rare that a book can change the course of an international debate, but Imperial Hubris is just such a book.”—Marta Salij, Detroit Free Press
Ralph Peters

“This book is so valuable, it hardly seems that any review could do it justice.”—Ralph Peters, author of Beyond Baghdad: Postmodern War and Peace
 
Bruce Hoffman

“[The author’s] conclusions are as disquieting as his policy prescriptions are compelling. . . . Imperial Hubris is destined to become a classic in the field of counterterrorism analysis.”—Bruce Hoffman, author of Inside Terrorism
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
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
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.
From the Publisher
"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."

"A powerful, persuasive analysis of the terrorist threat and the Bush Administration's failed efforts to fight it . . . [The author's] criticism is damning. . . . Imperial Hubris is an important contribution to a necessary debate. . . ."

"Rare is the book that can change the course of an international debate, but Imperial Hubris is just such a book."

"This book is so valuable, it hardly seems that any review could do it justice. . . . All those concerned with our national security would do well to take up this book. We cannot know the many services the author has rendered to our country in his intelligence role, but I suspect that Imperial Hubris--a work of supreme integrity--may be his greatest contribution of all.

"A sprawling, erudite book on the origins and present state of the 'war on terror' . . . Gripping."

"Now the definitive book on terrorism has appeared that should be mandatory reading for every thinking person. . . . A goldmine of information and brilliant analysis. It breaks taboos and sweeps away the clouds of lies about al Qaeda, Iraq, and Afghanistan."

"A fire-breathing denunciation of U.S. counterterrorism policy."

"Presents overwhelmingly persuasive evidence to buttress a host of significant and controversial arguments."

"Pulls few punches . . . and gives us a fascinating window on America’s war with Al Qaeda."

"[The author’s] conclusions are as disquieting as his policy prescriptions are compelling. . . . Imperial Hubris is destined to become a classic in the field of counterterrorism analysis."

"No serious observer of the war on terrorism can ignore this scathing critique of the Bush administration’s policies. . . ."

"A rapid-fire, plain-spoken polemic stated with conviction and passion . . . Michael Scheuer's tough-minded and honest book is a much-needed antidote to the shallow and often deceptive information doled out by our elites and by the American media."

"This is an insightful, bitter, worrisome book. It is also the most consequential critique of the war on terror yet published, deeply historical, broadly researched, and crisply articulated. . . . Like it or hate it, no substantial debate about the war on terrorism can now take place without references to this book and its ideas. . . . The author's insights into al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, and Islam's antipathy toward the United States are brilliantly presented. . . . The author's professional expertise and deep knowledge of his subject jump from every page. . . . Imperial Hubris has to be read by every serious military leader or thinker."

"A bold attack on the U.S. antiterrorism and intelligence machinery, one that is likely to provoke strong reactions on one side or another. But the attack is always thought-provoking. . . . Anyone interested in an insider's view of the intelligence community, including the failures of the CIA, the FBI, the White House, and the State Department, will want to read this provocative work."

"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."

"A powerful, persuasive analysis of the terrorist threat and the Bush Administration's failed efforts to fight it . . . [The author's] criticism is damning. . . . Imperial Hubris is an important contribution to a necessary debate. . . ."

"Rare is the book that can change the course of an international debate, but Imperial Hubris is just such a book."

"This book is so valuable, it hardly seems that any review could do it justice. . . . All those concerned with our national security would do well to take up this book. We cannot know the many services the author has rendered to our country in his intelligence role, but I suspect that Imperial Hubris--a work of supreme integrity--may be his greatest contribution of all.

"A sprawling, erudite book on the origins and present state of the 'war on terror' . . . Gripping."

"Now the definitive book on terrorism has appeared that should be mandatory reading for every thinking person. . . . A goldmine of information and brilliant analysis. It breaks taboos and sweeps away the clouds of lies about al Qaeda, Iraq, and Afghanistan."

"A fire-breathing denunciation of U.S. counterterrorism policy."

"Presents overwhelmingly persuasive evidence to buttress a host of significant and controversial arguments."

"Pulls few punches . . . and gives us a fascinating window on America’s war with Al Qaeda."

"[The author’s] conclusions are as disquieting as his policy prescriptions are compelling. . . . Imperial Hubris is destined to become a classic in the field of counterterrorism analysis."

"No serious observer of the war on terrorism can ignore this scathing critique of the Bush administration’s policies. . . ."

"A rapid-fire, plain-spoken polemic stated with conviction and passion . . . Michael Scheuer's tough-minded and honest book is a much-needed antidote to the shallow and often deceptive information doled out by our elites and by the American media."

"This is an insightful, bitter, worrisome book. It is also the most consequential critique of the war on terror yet published, deeply historical, broadly researched, and crisply articulated. . . . Like it or hate it, no substantial debate about the war on terrorism can now take place without references to this book and its ideas. . . . The author's insights into al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, and Islam's antipathy toward the United States are brilliantly presented. . . . The author's professional expertise and deep knowledge of his subject jump from every page. . . . Imperial Hubris has to be read by every serious military leader or thinker."

"A bold attack on the U.S. antiterrorism and intelligence machinery, one that is likely to provoke strong reactions on one side or another. But the attack is always thought-provoking. . . . Anyone interested in an insider's view of the intelligence community, including the failures of the CIA, the FBI, the White House, and the State Department, will want to read this provocative work."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781574888492
Publisher:
Potomac Books
Publication date:
06/30/2004
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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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