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Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror [Hardcover]

Michael Scheuer
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

20 Aug 2004
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 etrant 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, intermingling 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.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Brassey's US; First Edition edition (20 Aug 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574888498
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574888492
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16.3 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 177,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


"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

About the Author

Anonymous is a senior U.S. intelligence official with nearly two decades of experience in national security and terrorism issues. His previous book, Through Our Enemies' Eyes, has been widely cited as the best available resource on al Qaeda.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should Be Required Reading 10 Sep 2004
By A Customer
A brilliant analysis of what is really going on in the world today: knowledgeable, well-researched, concise, and fair. While the book amounts to a scathing critique of the Bush administration and the current leadership of intelligence and military institutions, the author has no left-wing political agenda, and writes as an insider who is frustrated at the failed policies of his superiors.
With the kind of frank, intelligent maturity that is so depressingly absent in American public discourse today, the author addresses issues that are essential to America's continued well-being, but have somehow become unmentionable (outside Noam Chomsky's picket fence at least) - the contribution of real U.S. policies to the hatred felt towards the U.S. in most of the muslim world; the chronic energy dependency issues that lie behind U.S. support for Saudi Arabia and other middle eastern tyrannies (making an embarrassing and laughable mockery of the U.S. government's sanctimonious, hypocritical preaching about 'democracy'); and (gasp!) the unquestioning support for Israel that has become a bizarre cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy.
The author raises these issues, but accepts that they are unlikely to be addressed any time soon. Given this fact, he again demonstrates that he is no liberal by advocating a more violent and ruthless war with al Qaeda, from which the current Iraq mess is a costly and counter-productive distraction.
Frightening and sobering in its assessments of bin Laden and al Qaeda's capabilities, and of the extent of the global islamic insurgency that supports them, this book should be required reading for anyone in government or intelligence, or for that matter, anyone with the right to vote ...
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview of the political climate 15 Oct 2004
By A Customer
Annonymous is not afraid to speak the truth and say the unsayable.
He explains bin Laden's motivation; a view point that despite the countless column inches devoted to the man, the media never managed to portray. The book explains that the underlying cause of the conflict is not so much Islamic fundamentalism but US actions in the middle east and elsewhere.
Annonymous leaves us with one of 2 options. Either long and protracted war with countless casualties or a limited war with a fundamental root and branch overview of US policies. Does the US really need to support Israel and the corrupt rulers in many middle eastern countries?
The future looks bleak as there appears to be no hope that Bush or Kerry really have the courage and moral integrity to take on so many vested interests in the US political and media machine. Indeed, one could argue that if they were such men, they would never have been allowed to get as far as they have.
At times Annonymous reminds me of King Lear raging against the thunder and storms. A lone voice against powers that drowns him out with ease.
I recommend this book without reservation. I thought I was pretty well informed about world affairs and now realise with humility how little I knew.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Scheuer's analysis of the current crisis is on the whole honest, fair and informed. He is a CIA agent and while he has nothing but scorn with a hint of frustration for Bush and Co's understanding and handling of the "War on Terror", he is by no means a bleeding heart liberal. The central point that Scheur builds his argument (and even at times rants) around is that the Muslim world hates the "American satan" not for her freedom and Big Macs, but rather for her constant meddling in Middle Eastern internal affairs for her own best interests. This is done more often than not at the expense of the Muslim world. Not to mention America's uncritical support of Israel. Though all this analysis is wasted by the author's conclusion which can be reduced to a simple battle cry of "bomb the lot of `em" the analysis alone is worth the price of admission.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars But the Politicians say we are winning! 10 Sep 2004
By Hud
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I read this book in one steady burst over the weekend straining my eyes to the limit. At the end my one thought was "I must have been blind for the last 20 years".
I dont know who "Anonymous" is but he or she explains why 9/11 happened, in the cold light of day, with no emotion, and with a broad analytical sweep of the actions of the USA, and the repercussions across the world in the last 20-50 years.
Anonymous states that he or she has worked for the US intelligence agencies for the last 20 years which makes this book even more remarkable. A. loves his/her country but, quoting Robert E Lee, say it is his/her duty to reveal what the politicians wont allow the intelligence agencies to say:
The chilling quote: "This war has the potential to last beyond our children's lifetimes and to be fought mostly on US soil."
A. then provides a detailed reasoning behind each conclusion in a very easy to read style. He/she provides a set of policy recommendations to address each of the points made above.
Whether you support or dont support the different factions in this "war on terrorism", whether you are christian/muslim/jew, western or eastern, reading this book will present a view that will make you think more about what is happening.
In my opinion Imperial Hubris makes the best media reporting on TV or newspaper look superficial and tame.
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