According to the author, the greatest danger for Americans confronting the Islamist threat is to believeat the urging of U.S. leadersthat 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 worlds 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 Ladens genius lies not simply in calling for jihad, but in articulating a consistent and convincing case that Islam is under attack by America. Al Qaedas public statements condemn Americas protection of corrupt Muslim regimes, unqualified support for Israel, the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, and a further litany of real-world grievances. Bin Ladens 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....Continua
Scheuer is a leftist, Scheuer is a worshipper of Osama bin Laden, Scheuer hates America... While a couple of Amazon's low-star reviews are well-thought out, I'm utterly baffled by most of them.
In "Imperial Hubris" Michael Scheuer does (for the most part) what a good intelligence analyst is supposed to do, he reports on the state of affairs and their drivers. His main criticism is that America's foreign policy is not driven by available information that should educate policy decisions. America, in the Middle East, is repeating the errors of Vietnam where policy makers committed rookie mistakes starting with not understanding the enemy. In OBL we see a penny-ante terrorist where we should see a cunning warrior inciting and championing a fight for a cause he believes is worth his own life.
While the analysis makes sense, Scheuer goes off-piste in offering prescription for policy makers (what a good intelligence analyst is not supposed to do, but we readers want anyway). While most of his recommendations are sensibly vague (e.g., understand the enemy better), others appear to contradict the lessons he's tried to get across (e.g., full-blown war against the insurgents without regard to civilian casualties, ignoring his own point that we're not at war with a nation-state - after all, a key tenet of Mr Scheuer's book is that Muslims hate us for what we do to them, not for our freedoms or beliefs).
An insider, Mr Scheuer is damning of America's Middle East policy, the half-baked strategy for fighting a determined enemy, and the stupidity mustered by decision makers in tactics deployed. It's an eye-opening and frightening critique.
It would be interesting to see a sequel to this now that President Obama has been in office for a year: Are we (in his opinion) just getting more of the same? Has more thought and intelligence been put into our Middle East strategy? Is the Afghan "surge" a policy change we can count on? Mr Scheuer released another book several months ago, but it looked like a rehash of "Imperial Hubris". I'd like to see something discussing how the new Commander-in-Chief is doing - is there any reason for optimism, or are we dooming ourselves to repeat history's mistakes....Continua