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Imperial Hubris: Why The West Is Losing The War On Terror [Anglais] [Broché]

Michael Scheuer

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102 internautes sur 104 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 US soldier serving second tour in Iraq 19 janvier 2005
Par Glanton - Publié sur
Regardless of your political leanings, this book is worth a read. The author unflatteringly lays out how some of our actions are perceived by many muslims today. While much of the motivation for anti-US sentiment is logically flawed, we should strive to understand it.

While I disagree with the author's bleak predictions of democracy's future in Iraq and Afghanistan, his points are well researched and presented. I must note that he is an expert and I am not.

Bottom line, there is a reason these young men are being convinced to construct and place the roadside bombs that are killing troopers over here, and it's not because they hate baseball and apple pie. It is important for us to understand the motivation for their hatred if we are to effectively counter it. Leave partisan politics at the door and read this book.
683 internautes sur 753 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Cutting through official propaganda from the inside 13 septembre 2004
Par Autonomeus - Publié sur
"Anonymous" has certainly accomplished his stated goal of contributing to a debate in the U.S. over foreign policy. He was the head of the CIA's Osama bin Laden unit in the late '90s, was interviewed as "Mike" in Coll's book GHOST WARS (see my review), and is still a CIA analyst. Most of us by now have figured out that he is Mike Scheuer. Sun Tzu said "know yourself, know your enemy," and Scheuer's main goal in IMPERIAL HUBRIS is to share what he knows about Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, arguing that the official view is totally and dangerously wrong. It seems to me that Scheuer is for the most part right on target with his critique. There is one major problem with his proposal for what to do about it, which I will address below.

Here is a list of Scheuer's main points:

1) Osama bin Laden (OBL) is neither an evil madman or just a criminal -- he is a highly competent, religiously motivated, charismatic leader who we had best take seriously.

2) Al Qaeda is not a terrorist organization, but is rather part of and attempting to lead a global Muslim insurgency.

3) OBL & Al Qaeda are not opposed to the U.S. because of "who we are," (ie, "we stand for freedom"), but because of what we do -- because of specific aspects of U.S. foreign policy.

4) The doctrine that informs OBL/Al Qaeda is that of DEFENSIVE JIHAD -- they see the Muslim world under attack by the U.S., and call upon scripture to support defensive military action by all faithful members of the "umma" (the universal body of Islam).

5) OBL has repeatedly stated five demands for changes in U.S. foreign policy: i) end all aid to Israel, ii) withdraw military forces from the Arabian Peninsula and all Muslim territory, iii) end all involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, iv) end U.S. support for the oppression of Muslims in China, Russia, India and elsewhere, and v) restore Muslim control of the Islamic world's energy resources for the benefit of Muslims. A sixth point is to replace U.S.-backed regimes in the Muslim world with Islamic regimes, but that is really a demand on the Muslim population.

6) The war in Afghanistan was a failure from the beginning, because OBL & the other leaders were allowed to escape at the beginning, and because the U.S. is just propping up Karzai in Kabul while the rest of the country is still in the hands of warlords and the Taliban.

7) The offensive invasion and occupation of Iraq was a huge gift to OBL -- it has just tied down more U.S. forces that otherwise could be fighting Al Qaeda, and it has become potent evidence for OBL's claim that the U.S. is aggressively targeting the Muslim world.

8) Scheuer concludes that at this point there is no choice but to resolve to fight a relentless war against the Al Qaeda-led insurgency. However, if the U.S. took action on the list of demands, it could undercut the insurgency dramatically. Scheuer argues that the U.S. should move to energy sufficiency, stop propping up corrupt regimes like Saudi Arabia, and remove itself as a target of the so far effective-because-largely-true propaganda campaign of the insurgents. There is no contradiction here, as some readers think. Changing political policies AND waging a more effective military campaign are both parts of an overall strategy, and only one-dimensional thinkers would imagine that it's an either/or choice.

If Scheuer is largely correct, then what's the problem? As I see it, the problem is that Scheuer doesn't seem to know nearly as much about counterinsurgency doctrine as he does about Al Qaeda and Afghanistan, which is his area of specialization. He disparages police work (including the FBI) and calls for greater application of military force (just not in the places the Bush Administration has applied it). But the problem is, an insurgency can no more be defeated through conventional military means than a terrorist group. He should know -- Afghanistan itself is striking evidence -- but the record is clear whether you look at Vietnam, or anywhere else. Insurgents, guerrilla forces, engaged in asymmetrical conflict, are rarely if ever defeated on the battlefield. This is why Scheuer's use of the Civil War as an analogy makes no sense. The South was not an insurgency -- Northern generals were fighting an army, and when that army was defeated, so was the South. So the distinction between terrorism and insurgency, which Scheuer thinks is so crucial, does not lead to the conclusion he comes to at all. Actually, it's worse than that, because if the U.S. was to adopt the sort of scorched-earth scenario he proposes (granted, he says it would only be necessary if we don't change our self-destructive policies), we would provoke that much more determined opposition. The U.S. armed forces, no matter how big and powerful, can't just kill 1.2 billion Muslims.

In fact, the counterinsurgency literature suggests that political legitimacy is the key to victory. The regime or regimes under attack have to make reforms and address the grievances that are fuelling the insurgency -- then it stops growing and starts to shrink. Along with that, good intelligence and police work are vital. Scheuer's call for changing U.S. policy implicitly recognizes this, but he doesn't absorb it fully into his argument, as indicated by his failure to appreciate solid police work. There is a reason that urban insurgency rarely succeeds -- it is much easier to surveil and capture individuals on urban terrain than in remote jungles and mountains. Of course the U.S., an invading army with virtually no intelligence sources in the population in Iraq, is maximizing the effectiveness of the Sunni urban insurgency in and around Baghdad. And whether we should have any confidence in U.S. intelligence inside the territory of our allies Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, I'll let you judge.

I disagree with Scheuer's call to drill in ANWR as part of becoming energy sufficient. It's unnecessary, there's not that much oil there -- what we need is an all-out push for renewable energy. But Mike Scheuer is a conservative, a tough-minded Catholic conservative. He is brave to go public with this scathing critique of U.S. policy. I salute his public service, and I hope that his voice is being heard in policymaking circles. But I'm not holding my breath.
79 internautes sur 86 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Brutally Honest 7 septembre 2004
Par Hal B. Grossman - Publié sur
"Anonymous" deserves a prize for writing this book, except that he wouldn't be anonymous after that.

The author brings an intelligence and tough-mindedness to the so-called War on Terror that we badly need, and that George W. Bush wants to avoid. Among this book's insights:

--In Osama bin Laden's worldview, there are good reasons for attacking Americans and their allies. A look at bin Laden's public statements can tell us why he feels this way;

--Many Muslims see the world as bin Laden sees it. Indeed, he is a hero in most of the Muslim world, the more so for having escaped capture for so long;

--Afghanistan ought to be the focus of our efforts, but instead it's a disaster waiting to happen. U.S. forces never defeated the Taliban, blew the best chance to capture bin Laden, and have imposed an alien form of government in Kabul that commands little support among the people;

--The Iraq war has made is less safe, by diverting resources and energies away from the fight against Al Quaeda; and

--When the U.S. tries to export democracy at gunpoint, we ignore our own long, hard struggle to achieve the freedoms that we have, and we ignore the nature of Islam in society, especially Mohammed as law-giver.

"Anonymous" tries to get inside the mind of bin Laden and his supporters. George W. Bush says that trying to understand "why they hate us" is a mistake, and that all we need to know is that terrorism is evil. I'll take knowledge over faith any day.
109 internautes sur 122 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Should Have Been Pre-Election Reading for Everyone 6 novembre 2004
Par Jeremy Raymondjack - Publié sur
I wish every American had been required to read this book before the recent re-coronation of Dubya. "Anonymous" is now widely known to be Michael F. Scheuer, a longtime CIA veteran specializing in al Qaeda, bin Laden, and Islamic insurgencies. He lambastes both the Bush and Clinton administrations for their lies of ommission regarding terrorism, and he makes a pursuasive argument that our government has actually made things worse, not better. And Scheuer is no leftie dove. He repeatedly calls for the US to do one of two things: either change the foreign policies that give rise to militant Muslim responses, or go after the terrorists with every weapon we have.

The author explodes the ridiculous lie that Bush has been pushing since 9-11: that terrorists are insane, irrational murderers who only want to destroy the freedoms that Americans enjoy. This Big Lie, that an innocent America is a victim only because of its very goodness and success, has prevented Americans from confronting the true roots of Islamic hatred towards the US: the several streams of anti-Muslim foreign policy that have been flowing for decades. Everyone needs to read this book, so that we can, as citizens, demand an end to the unwinnable War on Terror. Americans must know the truth about Islamic militancy, so that we can demand sweeping policy change, the only hope of saving lives and avoiding future attakcs.
33 internautes sur 34 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Provocative and insightful 21 juillet 2004
Par H. Smith - Publié sur
The author offers a balanced, provocative look from a unique perspective. Naturally, there is some posturing, perhaps even a number of views that seem ill-advised to observers, but the author has earned the right to express these opinions and be taken seriously. The book presents the material in a way that offers insights into the intelligence world as well as the current political/intelligence situation. Not to be dismissed, the book is highly readable and well worth serious consideration and polite debate.
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