Imperial Hubris; Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror
Washington, DC: Brassey's, Inc., 2004. First Edition. Second Printing. Hardcover. xxi, , 309,  pages. Notes. Select Bibliography. Index. The author is a senior U.S. intelligence official. The book is a scathing critique of the Bush administration's policies since 9/11. Michael F. Scheuer (born 1952) is an American former intelligence officer for the Central Intelligence Agency, author, commentator and former adjunct professor at Georgetown University's Center for Peace and Security Studies. One assignment during his 22-year career was serving as Chief of the Bin Laden Issue Station (the Osama bin Laden tracking unit at the Counterterrorism Center, known as "Alec Station") from 1996 to 1999. He also served as Special Advisor to the Chief of Alec Station from September 2001 to November 2004. Scheuer became a public figure after being outed as the author of the book Imperial Hubris, in which he criticized many of the United States' assumptions about Islamist insurgencies and particularly Osama bin Laden. Later in 2004, Scheuer resigned from the CIA. Scheuer depicted bin Laden as a rational actor who was fighting to weaken the United States by weakening its economy, rather than merely killing Americans. Scheuer challenges the assumption that terrorism is the threat facing the United States in the modern era, arguing rather that Islamist insurgency is the core of the conflict between the U.S. and Islamist forces, who in places such as Kashmir and Chechnya are "struggling not just for independence but against institutionalized barbarism." bin Laden acknowledged the book in a 2007 statement, suggesting that it revealed "the reasons for your losing the war against us" Though U.S. leaders try to convince the world of their success in fighting al Qaeda, one 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 Michael Scheuer, 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. Scheuer 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. Condition: Very good / Very good.
Keywords: War on Terrorism, Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, Foreign Relations, Taleban, Iraq War, Islamic World, Muslims, Jihad, Taliban