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Imperial Hubris

A book published by my former employer, Brassey’s, Inc., is already causing some waves even though it doesn’t hit the streets for a few weeks:

GuardianBush told he is playing into Bin Laden’s hands

A senior US intelligence official is about to publish a bitter condemnation of America’s counter-terrorism policy, arguing that the west is losing the war against al-Qaida and that an “avaricious, premeditated, unprovoked” war in Iraq has played into Osama bin Laden’s hands.

Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror, due out next month, dismisses two of the most frequent boasts of the Bush administration: that Bin Laden and al-Qaida are “on the run” and that the Iraq invasion has made America safer.

In an interview with the Guardian the official, who writes as “Anonymous”, described al-Qaida as a much more proficient and focused organisation than it was in 2001, and predicted that it would “inevitably” acquire weapons of mass destruction and try to use them.

***

Imperial Hubris is the latest in a relentless stream of books attacking the administration in election year. Most of the earlier ones, however, were written by embittered former officials. This one is unprecedented in being the work of a serving official with nearly 20 years experience in counter-terrorism who is still part of the intelligence establishment.

The fact that he has been allowed to publish, albeit anonymously and without naming which agency he works for, may reflect the increasing frustration of senior intelligence officials at the course the administration has taken.

Peter Bergen, the author of two books on Bin Laden and al-Qaida, said: “His views represent an amped-up version of what is emerging as a consensus among intelligence counter-terrorist professionals.”

Even though I worked at Brassey’s, I never met “Anonymous” and haven’t read Imperial Hubris and have no real inside knowledge other than which agency he works for. I have, however, read Through Our Enemies’ Eyes–in which the phrase “imperial hubris” was used–and had major misgivings about it.

First, however, I want to rebut a bit of nonsense in the Guardian account: “The fact that he has been allowed to publish, albeit anonymously and without naming which agency he works for, may reflect the increasing frustration of senior intelligence officials at the course the administration has taken.” No. All that his being allowed to publish the book means is that it has been vetted to ensure that he has revealed no classified information or trade secrets. It is not an endorsement by the agency. That said, it would not surprise me if there is widespread dislike for Bush Administration policy in the ranks of CIA analysts.* Unlike operations officers, who tend to share the worldviews of military officers, analysts are essentially academics, mostly with PhDs in social science disciplines, who work in what amounts to a think tank. The international relations scholarly community, with its very traditional Realist orientation, was overwhelmingly against the Iraq War. There’s no reason to expect that CIA analysts are any different. Indeed, Anonymous is “trained as a professional historian specializing in the diplomatic history of the British Empire (277).” His first book has 262 pages of text and 122 pages of glossary, notes and bibliography! (This isn’t a criticism of analysts, just a refutation of the idea that it would be somehow remarkable for them to be less than enamored of the Bush foreign policy.)

While I haven’t read Imperial Hubris, I got the impression from catalog copy that was circulating and discussion with the book’s editor that it was very much a follow-on to Through Our Enemies’ Eyes (hereafter, TOEE). The initial manuscript of TOEE was written before the 9/11 attacks and hastily revised afterwards. Anonymous does an excellent job of explaining Osama bin Laden’s mindset, but too often lapses into bizarre moral equivalence arguments (although explicitly saying that he isn’t in the Preface) and strange historical analogies.

One of Anonymous’ major themes is that Osama and al Qaeda are not mere terrorists; they are fighting a war. This is absolutely correct and a point that most–myself included–missed before 9/11. He goes further, however, and argues that, therefore, they aren’t terrorists at all but freedom fighters whose needs must be understood. He approvingly cites Robert Fisk (never a good sign) in the Introduction, “‘Terrorist’ is a word that avoids all meaning (xvi).”

Anonymous only occasionally remembers to say that, of course, we must fight Osama. Most of the book, though, practically gushes with praise for him. “The strength of his personality and message is likely to lead to an enduring legacy that will long survice his own departure from the scene (xvii).” He continually draws parallels between al Qaeda and our own War for Independence and struggle to end slavery.

[B]in Laden’s philosophy and action have embodied many of the same sentiments that permeate the underpinnings of concepts on which the United States itself is established.

***

Osama bin Laden appears to be a geniunely pious Muslim; a devoted family man; a talented, focused, and patient insurgent commander; a frank and eloquent speaker; a successful businessman; and an individual of conviction, intellectual honestly, compassion, humility, and physical bravery (3).

Remember, this was a manuscript written after several large-scale attacks on innocents and thoroughly revised after the 9/11 attacks. Saying that OBL has some nice traits is rather like looking back at Hitler and saying, Yes, but he was a fine painter and was kind to animals. We’ll return to the accordance of OBL’s jihad with American principles later.

[B]in Laden’s character, religious certainty, moral absolutism, military ferocity, integrity, and all-or-nothing goals are not much different from those of individuals whom we in the United States have long identified and honored as religious, political, or military heroes, men such as John Brown, John Bunyan, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and Thomas Paine (5).

It was frankly all I could do to not throw the book away at that point. Anonymous does, however, allow in the next sentence that “I do not argue that these are exact analogies but only that they are analogies that seemed pertinent as I researched bin Laden.” I was skeptical but pressed on.

The next section examines several of these analogies, starting with the question, raised “decades ago” by the author’s son, “Was John Brown a bad man, Dad?” Rather than a simple, Yes, we get three pages of hemming and hawwing. The answer is that “[S]ome of Brown’s actions were bad–fraud, murder, and treason for starters–but that there have been few causes in American history as vital as the abolition of slavery (6).” So, terrorism is bad but the ends justify the means. Great. Even better:

Although the similarities betwen Brown and bin Laden as individuals are greater than their similarities–the latter is, by far, the better man–the two men share a passionate, uncompromising devotion to ridding their nations . . . of what they perceived to be a dominating evil (6-7). [emphasis added]

So, a man who personally ordered the murders of thousands of innocent civilians is actually a decent man because he is motivated by a sincere belief.

It gets better. The next section compares OBL to Jefferson, Henry, and Paine. He quotes John Esposito as noting that these “heroes of the American Revolution were rebels and terrorists for the British Crown (9).” Anonymous sees some interesting parallels:

[OBL] published a declaration of his own, which, like Jefferson’s, displayed a deeply conservative and religious mind. Bin Laden’s “Declaration of Jihad against the United States” . . . details, as did Jefferson’s declaration, the “patient sufferance” of Saudi Muslims. . . and their duty to act against a government that is not ruling in accord with the rules and rights with which Muslims “were endowed by their creator.”

Let’s review OBL’s declaration, shall we? While it’s true that it lists a set of grievances in some detail, as does its American “predecessor,” the two are rather strikingly different otherwise. Most obviously, the American version was not a declaration of war but of independence. The colonists wanted self-government, not change in England or elsewhere. By contrast, the war aims of OBL are somewhat more far-reaching.

They are not spelled out in any coherent way in the 1996 Declaration but they are crystal clear in the February 1998 Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders.

First, for over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples.

If some people have in the past argued about the fact of the occupation, all the people of the Peninsula have now acknowledged it. The best proof of this is the Americans’ continuing aggression against the Iraqi people using the Peninsula as a staging post, even though all its rulers are against their territories being used to that end, but they are helpless.

Second, despite the great devastation inflicted on the Iraqi people by the crusader-Zionist alliance, and despite the huge number of those killed, which has exceeded 1 million… despite all this, the Americans are once against trying to repeat the horrific massacres, as though they are not content with the protracted blockade imposed after the ferocious war or the fragmentation and devastation.

So here they come to annihilate what is left of this people and to humiliate their Muslim neighbors.

Third, if the Americans’ aims behind these wars are religious and economic, the aim is also to serve the Jews’ petty state and divert attention from its occupation of Jerusalem and murder of Muslims there. The best proof of this is their eagerness to destroy Iraq, the strongest neighboring Arab state, and their endeavor to fragment all the states of the region such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Sudan into paper statelets and through their disunion and weakness to guarantee Israel’s survival and the continuation of the brutal crusade occupation of the Peninsula.

So, OBL hates us for being in Saudi Arabia?under U.N. auspices and invitation by the Saudi government; for enforcing U.N. sanctions against Saddam Hussein persuant to his failure to live up to the terms of the peace treaty that was forced upon him after his forcible expulsion from a Muslim country he?d invaded; and for being allied with Israel.

His solution:

On that basis, and in compliance with Allah’s order, we issue the following fatwa to all Muslims:

The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies — civilians and military — is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque [Mecca] from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim. This is in accordance with the words of Almighty Allah, “and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together,” and “fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah.”

This is in addition to the words of Almighty Allah: “And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)? — women and children, whose cry is: ‘Our Lord, rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will help!'”

We — with Allah’s help — call on every Muslim who believes in Allah and wishes to be rewarded to comply with Allah’s order to kill the Americans and plunder their money wherever and whenever they find it. We also call on Muslim ulema, leaders, youths, and soldiers to launch the raid on Satan’s U.S. troops and the devil’s supporters allying with them, and to displace those who are behind them so that they may learn a lesson.

Does that remind you of the Declaration of Independence?!

Let’s return to Imperial Hubris. Kevin Drum seconds this quote from the Guardian piece:

Anonymous, who published an analysis of al-Qaida last year called Through Our Enemies’ Eyes [Actually, the hardcover came out in 2002. – JJ ], thinks it quite possible that another devastating strike against the US could come during the election campaign, not with the intention of changing the administration, as was the case in the Madrid bombing, but of keeping the same one in place.

“I’m very sure they can’t have a better administration for them than the one they have now,” he said.

As to Anonymous’ assertion that bin Laden would love to see Bush re-elected, that may well be the case–but not because he thinks Bush is inept. Anonymous believes, correctly in my view, that a military attack on al Qaeda in Afghanistan and elsewhere–while necessary–was exactly what Osama wanted. Bin Laden wants war with the US and Bush has shown his willingness to fight it.

The “imperial hubris” theme is sounded throughout TOEE. It is the title of the closing section of Chapter 2, “Obstacles to Understanding Bin Laden.” Imperial hubris is the sin described by Carly Simon in her song “You’re So Vain:” thinking the song is about you.

. . . Americans, and especially politicians, opinion leaders, academics, the “experts,” and most of the media, seem afflicted by a severe case of imperial hubris, an attitude that attributes the emergence of bin Laden to one or another U.S. action (24).

Here, Anonymous and I are in strong agreement. He effectively rebuts the notion that US support for the mujahadeen’s efforts to repel the Soviets from Afghanistan was the casual factor in the formation of al Qaeda. He notes that it’s rather insulting to think that the Muslims would have done nothing about being invaded by interlopers who, according to Walter Vollman, committed deeds that were

unspeakable. They raped women in the name of emancipating them. In defense of national security, they machine-gunned illiterate peasants who couldn’t have found Moscow on a map. They burned people alive and drowned them in excrement. They razed villages, slaughtered livestock, and destroyed harvests. They even scattered mines disguised as toys to lure people to their maming. (Quoted p. 25)

Anonymous notes that, while most Western academics ridiculed Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations, most Eastern scholars agree with its basic tenets. Further,

Until Americans begin to see that some of their values and goals are neither accepted nor acceptable to al races, nations, and creeds, they will not begin to understand the appeal of a person like bin Laden or be able to defend their interests against him (27-28).

Again, I haven’t read Imperial Hubris and can only base my assessment of Anonymous’ arguments on TOEE. The main problem I have with his analysis, though, is that while it’s quite useful in helping us understand bin Laden’s motivations and why he’s so attractive to so many in the Islamic world, it has no real value the cause of self-defense. The goals of the jihadist movement and of the United States are mutually exclusive–we can either live in a world ruled by something like the Taliban or we can live according to the expressed wills of people in nation states, but not both. Understanding why the other side hates us isn’t particularly valuable given that.

UPDATE: I’ve gone back and revisited the remainder of TOEE–the part which details the historical evolution of bin Ladin and his network–and would commend that portion to you. It’s easily the best one-volume treatment that I’ve seen on that account and does a superb job of crystalizing the nature of the threat we face, in a way that is still not grasped by most analysts even two years later. While Anonymous’ cutesy historical analogies and word games early in the book are annoying, he gets the threat analysis right.

I would also qualify the last sentence of my original post in that light as well. Anonymous’ goal is to convey the message that we’re not up against mere terrorists such as Hezbollah but rather against a global insurgency. He leaves unsaid in this volume how to defeat bin Laden, other than to basically say that we can’t do it within the constraints of political correctness and our desire to fight a war with minimal casualties–on either side. He makes allusions to Sherman’s “hard hand of war” approach, says that we’ve got to do what it takes. What this means, however, is left unsaid. Perhaps Imperial Hubris expands on this theme.

UPDATE 2: Despite the tone of the early chapters of the book and of the excerpts highlighted in the Guardian piece, Anonymous is equally bitter about the Clinton team’s handling of al Qaeda. His main theme is that THEY JUST DON’T GET IT. Nothing I know about Kerry’s foreign policy indicates that Anonymous will be any happier with his handling of the war than Bush’s.

UPDATE 3: The book apparently ships in August. The Brassey’s promotional copy includes the table of contents. The new book builds very much on themes from TOEE, although it appears that there are several prescriptive chapters.

*UPDATE 4: A minor correction (about the publishing schedule) was made to the above post. More significantly, based on correspondence with the book’s editor at Brassey’s, I find that I’ve mischaracterized Anonymous’ background. The author bio on TOEE was incredibly vague–not unreasonable given that he wishes to remain anonymous–but the author, despite his academic credentials and extensive footnotes, is not an analyst. I presume that means he is/was with the Directorate of Operations in some capacity.

For more on the book, see this post.

Other OTB posts relating to Anonymous and his books:

Related Posts:

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. gungho says:

    i am somewhere near the action and has watched whats going on.
    As “annonymous” says the policies are all wrong.
    If these policies continue things will be bad for US of A.
    There is no use nit-picking. It is not the American who is hated but the image conjured up by its policies.
    Anyone worth his salt will know that the so called “war on terror” will never be won. Everytime a terrorist dies others would be born – whether volentarily or otherwise.
    If America is wise it will examine its policies and change tack.
    Like what Barak said to Powell “minimise the humiliation” and get out when it is possible.
    Let us not kill “innocent civilians” to save our “Innocent civilians.” Otherwise I hate to immagine what will happen.
    I hope and pray the prediction of the author for a worse attack on the mainland does not happen. If it happens the victims’ plight will be attributed to the policies of the Administration , whichever party they belong, that has been in place for decades.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    I agree with much of what anonymous writes and his critics don’t understand that the Islamic fundamentalist mentality is not justified according to our beliefs and is so alien from our thinking will never be justifiable. Western Mainstream Culture is so far on the left from their views it will never be seen as liberating to them. It is the same for any religious zealot. We can even look at David Koresh and the Waco, TX standoff; his religious extremist views were the opposite of our western culture. The freedoms we have are the enemy to their fundamentalist beliefs. It is a clash of cultures. When Anonymous speaks of the Declaration of Independence for Osama Bin Ladin it will never sound like our Declaration of Independence, how can it? But the Muslim people he targets are the poor and oppressed population. What do they know of western freedoms? Have they ever had those? Many Islamists see Israel as an enemy to their beliefs, not just for being Jews but also for being Western and supported by the US. One must realize that they are one of the only Democratic societies in that region and that the surrounding population was trying to stamp them out since their independence in the late 1940’s. Mr. Bin Ladin and the Islamists want to know nothing of our culture or accept it. To them we are the infidel. They see westerners as encroaching on their society and oppressing their people when we are really trying to liberate them according to our democratic values. Many of the poor Muslim people of the region see Bin Ladin as a freedom fighter to them. After all the Islamists are seen as providing schools and religious education for the poor while their leaders are corrupt and uncaring. Yet these terrorists kill their innocent people and life is of little value to their views if it’s supporting the infidel. They justify everything in the name of the Koran and unwavering religious faith. Also with our dependence on the oil we need to support the Saudis and the corrupt regimes which are seen by the Islamists as oppressors of the people, which they are. Look at Saddam Hussain or any number of the Sheik states they are not exactly the role model for the average Muslim. These regimes lie to the people constantly while the Islamists never seem to lie and always keep their promises to the people. This message is very powerful indeed. We must look at this as a total war if we seek to win it. 9-11 was a wake up call to fortify our borders and conduct background checks of every one in this country. Our very freedoms here make us a weak easy target for more and more terror. If we do not do a total war and we keep playing this game by Geneva Convention rules we can never win it.

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  3. Art says:

    OBL and others are not waging a war against American values and freedom. They are waging a war to free their territory for an infidel invader who very presence defiles their religion. This is the source of their political and social power in the Middle East. They want us out.

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  4. James Joyner says:

    Art,

    It’s certainly true that US presence in Saudi Arabia is one of the major grievances. It’s not the only one or the most significant.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    You say understanding isn’t valuable in the cause of self-defence.

    UNDERSTANDING IS THE KEY!!!

    Without understanding, the cycle of violence will never end.

    Understanding of both sides for the other leads to compassion. Compassion leads to seeing the humanity of the other, no matter how much resentment one has for the other.

    Seeing the humanity of the other leads to dissolution of murderous rage. The dissolution of murderous rage opens up the possibility for dialogue. Dialogue open the possibility for peace.

    CHOOSE!

    Are you more interested in the sadism of war?

    Or the hard path to peace?

    Unfortunately, the American government (with the people’s support) is screwing up the chances big time.

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  6. James Joyner says:

    Compassion for the barbarians who ram airliners into buildings and behead innocents is not very useful. Killing them is.

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  7. Airborne says:

    As most things on opposing sides of an argument, their is truth on both sides. The question is which side are you on?
    Anonymous has omitted the fact that the muslims to which he refers have not committed their resources and energy to obtaining a Palestinian State. They have committed to exterminating the Jewish State and any Country that supports Israel’s right to exist.
    This goal will fail for the same reasons that Hitler’s goals failed. If Adolf had been satisfied with taking Germany out of post WWI depression and re-establishing a thriving world state instead of destroying every Jew in the world and subjugating all weaker nations, anonymous would have an argument.
    But we know that bin Laden and radical Islam’s goals are to eliminate Israel in much the same way as Hitler wanted to eradicate all Jews and to subjugate everyone to radical Islam.
    Yea, bin Laden is a freedom fighter and a founding father and a hero– if you really believe that Adolf Hitler was also.
    I have a bridge for sale too!
    The indescriminate suicidal bombing of innocent woman and children in attempt to terrorize Israel into submission is to me the same as marching those innocent Jews into the bath house to be gassed to death.
    I am neither Moslem nor Jew but I will defend the right of any people to live in harmony with the other. Unfortunately, radical Islam has decided this point is non-negotiable in the name of Allah!

    The justification for this non-negotiable policy of bin Laden stems from the same logic which defined Hitler’s reasoning, namely, the end justifies the means.
    We Americans must remember to always be ready, willing and relentlessly able to send tyrants like bin Laden to sit at the right hand of Hitler, in HELL!
    If he is the only hero Islam has then Islam needs a reformation to bring it out of the 14th Century.

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  8. bradandhisdog@msn.com says:

    Yes it seems they opened their compassion to us when they rammed those planes into office buildings and beheaded civlians.

    Its total war folks no room for diplomacy now. Let us settle this in a fashion the islamic fundamentalists understand. If the American public does’nt wake up and face total war with evil then we will be done in.

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  9. blobby says:

    “Imperial Hubris” and other tell-alls that have appeared this year
    show failings in the anti-terrorism policies of recent administrations.
    However, the Bush Whitehouse has soured the situation far worse than
    Clinton and his crew. Bush had a personal agenda to deal with Saddam Hussein from the moment he
    took the oath of office. It was a vigilante crusade having nothing to do with fighting
    terror or freeing innocent Iraqis from an oppressive regime.
    What’s more disturbing is that President Bush seems to stubbornly believe al Qaeda is motivated
    by pure evil and a hatred of the US’s freedom and liberty. He thinks he’s a Christian crusader,
    God is on his side and bin Laden is a demon of Satan. It’s Bush’s mindless inerrantisms
    which help fuel the hatred of an increasing number of Muslims and polarizes much of American society.
    “Anonymous” makes the point that as long as the true reasons for Islamic terrorism aren’t understood
    and addressed, the US will continue to play into OBL’s hands. Until that day arrives our country will be
    caught in a terroristic quagmire which defies resolution.

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  10. independent says:

    I’m pretty politically independent in general and i happen to live on the extremely liberal island of Manhattan, which i love. I was living in midtown on September 11th, 2001 and now work just a couple of blocks from the terrible, sad hole in the ground that the terrorists left here, not to mention the innocent people just like you and me who died there and their friends and family scattered pitifully all over the globe. I can’t forget about what happened there because i pass it on my way to work. It is representative (along with the more recent barbaric killings posted on the internet and future vows of violence and death) of the ability, the devotion, and the success of these extremists to rid the world of the united states of america and americans. You cannot negotiate with this faction of humanity. You cannot wait it out and hope it will disappear. We have tried this already, and to no avail. This group doesn’t lack in scope, tact, or resources, and don’t be fooled into thinking that they care whether our president is named George W. Bush or John Kerry. They were plotting to attack our citizens and our resources long before these two names were linked to Candidacy. I think it is sad that our country is so focused on attacking itself internally with its petty partisan media and civilians. i am not pro-war under normal circumstances, but folks, these are not normal circumstances we’re experiencing. Part of protecting our homeland is aggressively attempting to bring new thought to the middle east and freedom to its people. Even if this arrives as a fringe benefit of our war effort, at least generations to come can be educated and open to the possibility of democracy and non-secular rule, and better yet (i believe) the option of not associating oneself with any one religion. Sometimes it does more harm to do so than it does good.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Blobby,
    So Bin Ladin is not a demon of satan? I dont know but I would like to think God is on our side and that Bin Ladin has some help from the pointy tail guy. We didnt crash planes into office buildings or behead and kill innocent civilians. I do agree with you we are not fighting this war the right way. We must address the reasons for terrorism but make it clear that we need a full scale war to defeat them.

    Then maybe make some inroads into their societies to foster mutual understanding without getting our heads chopped off in the process. Meanwhile those that we deal with on the more rational side such as the sheiks are corrupt and have their own agendas so the poor in many Muslim societies are not represented by their leaders that deal with us. Those that are radical fundimentalists dont want to deal with westerners and wont even meet face to face with them since they are not “Muslims” how do you deal with them?

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  12. Brad says:

    Yes Independant! You hit the problem right on the nose mucho kudos to your comment! I just wish that people in Manhattan would think the same way and unite instead of going to see Moore’s new movie which just serves to promote devisiveness. We need to have a united front here but …ah our freedoms promote such diversive thought! Lets see that under the Islamic Fundamentalist Law! If that happened under the Taliban I would sick the Department of Virtue and Vice on you to tear out that thing in the mouth that promotes change and thought! After all ignorant sheep are more maliable to the ideas of the religous state.

    Lets start by doing offensive operations in Iraq again rather then wait for the enemy to attack us. Today was a real fiasco there letting the insurgents pick the time and place to kill people. I guess it might be evident to the Pentagon that while the collition forces sit back and wait (aka defensive operations) the Iraqi’s are hopefully seeing the error of their ways by supporting the terrorists and will turn on them. But I make a bet that the insurgents and Al Jezzeria TV will make it look like today was the US fault of no security. Its dammed if you do dammed if you dont in that part of the world. Lets turn the real American muscle loose to fight a real war, damm the torpedos (aka partisan politics, UN views, EU views and local middle eastern views)! Lets do targeted assisnation of Terrorists with sniper teams on roof tops. The Israelis seem to have some sucess with this latley and the wall. I havent heard of too much bombings there.

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  13. Chris says:

    I think the analysis put forth by Anonymous in Through Our Enemies’ Eyes is hard to accept for so many because we are interpreting events and seeing people like Bin Laden with our own biases and filters. Perhaps, Anonymous is trying to get you or I to see things through the eyes of others, most importantly the eyes of our foes. Once we start to see things differently, maybe we can get a plan to deal with terror and the world wide islamic insurgency. I think this is Anonymous’ point, at least in part, to reshape how we see this struggle and then deal with it. I look forward to Imperial Hubris.

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  14. longrifle says:

    I tend to agree totally with the author of TOEE. What people in the U.S. need to undersand is that the blind rage with which they fight is the same thing that they are fighting against. There is no difference between “you” and “them”, you just think you are the “good guys” much the same way as they do. Also, Americans need to drop the morality pleas and look at the situation through a realist point of view. Americans cause their own problems. They finally lived out the consequences of their actions for once and were enraged by it. Open your eyes to the realities that you create and stop with the self pity. This is the only path to understanding your problem with “terrorism”. You cannot defeat it militarily as there is no state in the history of the world that has been able to defeat an insurgency in this manner. Your only course of action is to try and understand how to curb the hatred that you generate and start your “war on terrorism” by looking in the mirror.

    FREE PALESTINE!

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  15. TOW says:

    To Longrifle,

    Your rationale is flawed. Why should innocents at the World Trade Center or civilians be killed in the name of god! I do not see the sense of this. The killing of innocents is the nature of evil. It should never be rationalized to fight any power, to influence people by means of media attnetion or used for polictial gain. These type of people deserve not a place at my table but need to be exterminated like the verimin that they are. I am sorry as an American we are the force of good against this scourge.

    I understand that we must see the plight of the people in the Arabic countries but the terrorists cannot represent the people in any form.

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  16. TOW says:

    It will be a historic moment when the people of this the good old USA get serious with the terrorists and and commit its total resources to eliminate this threat. Then the Sleeping Giant will awake and stomp out this evil

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  17. Meria says:

    I’d like to review this book. Do you have the publisher’s name or contact info?
    Thank you.
    Meria
    The Meria Heller Show
    http://www.Meria.net
    WARL1320am

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  18. Carol Jean says:

    Do you know if there is any review of the following book?:
    THE NEW AMERICAN EMPIRE:
    by Rodrigue TREMBLAY,
    Achon Books; dist by Infinity, 2004
    Paperback: 365 pp; US $21.95, CAN $ 28.95
    ISBN 0-7414-1887-8

    Thanks,

    Carol

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  19. Joseph Marshall says:

    “Imperial Hubris…dismisses two of the most frequent boasts of the Bush administration: that Bin Laden and al-Qaida are “on the run” and that the Iraq invasion has made America safer.”

    After letting off all the emotional steam we want over the horrible things that have been done to us by OBL and his people, we still face the practical question of is Osama “on the run” and are we any safer from him?

    I think the answers are “no” and “no”, for much the same reasons that Anonymous does. Neither most of us nor our leadership have any real understanding of our enemy, and he has duped us into the criminal waste of our military power, evading us at every turn.

    It is all very well to call for “unity” in the face of terror. But if your both your bathroom faucets leak and the plumber you call puts a washer in only one, proceeds to remove the drainpipe with the promise of a new and better one, and then tells you the sink is nearly fixed, all the “unity” in the world won’t let you wash your hands. And you have probable cause for doubting that the plumber understands the problem.

    This is how we have fought our War On Terror to date.

    Now my only contact with Osama has been watching the few videotapes of him that have emerged. This is scant evidence, but it is enough to convince me that he is not an inhuman demon, not a self-absorbed sociopathic maniac like Hitler, not a tyrant who rules by fear and banditry like Saddam Hussein.

    He appears to be an ordinary man of rather higher than average intelligence who has utterly convinced himself that his cause is just and moral and worth any amount of lifetaking. His mind is calm and clear and utterly fatalistic about his own probable violent death.

    He is also, in behavior, a “sheik” (what his people call him), with all that that implies in his very distinctly Arabian culture, about cultivating an extreme of courtesy, honesty, and courageous example towards the people he commands.

    They obviously think the world of him and are obviously magnetized by his calmness, his courage, and his leadership–and more committed to that, perhaps, than they ever could be to his cause.

    That is the horror of him, and the real danger, that such exemplary virtues and clear intelligence are totally committed to a career of infamy. And, unlike so many of us, particularly in our leadership, he is not a self-deceiving fool whose right hand can act without consulting the left hand.

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  20. Longrifle says:

    To TOW

    I am sorry that you see the world in the good vs. evil light. You solidified my point exactly. You, by virtue of being an American are not right and your ways are not by default the right ones. You are not the good fighting the “scourge”, in fact in many eyes of the world you are the scourge.
    As for killing of innocents, you support the extermination of innocents everyday in Palestine at the hand of the Zionists. This unabated and unconditional support of genocide is condoned by many in the U.S. in the “name of God” so that your messiah can return.
    In conclusion, don’t preach to others the way of right until you are free of the same transgressions. Your “terrorist” may be someone elses freedom fighter. It depends on how you view your own actions.
    Longrifle

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  21. Anonymous says:

    Meria,
    It is published by Brassey’s Inc. You might want to go to your local bookstore to get contact info.

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  22. TOW says:

    Well as I see Long Rife, Terrorists (Freedom Fighters) who want to impose their religous zelotry on United States by killing innocents here intentionally is not Freedom how I define it. Where have the United States beheaded any civilians on TV. Is that supposed to make me feel any empathy to their cause? Even Iraqi prison scandal which photos came out I think those people who did that should get life in a military prison but they were prisoners in a prison for a reason. I dont expect you to understand the American views on death of civilians and the killing of innocents but the more your “Freedom Fighters” kill women, children and innocents the more the US will fight back. I dont think that people here respect their cause and will ever change those feelings. The problem is that people here forget 9-11 and that Osama needs to give us another worse case of death for us to do more against him. Sorry this is a war that we will see to the end one way or the other.

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  23. Anonymous says:

    Please! Won’t someone think of the children?!

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  24. mick says:

    imagine if, tomorrow, we surrendered to OBL by meeting all of his demands, such as withdrawing totally from the gulf and ending support to corrupt middle eastern regimes. does anyone seriously think that it would then be “happily ever after” peace between us? of course not. they would have new reasons to attack us.
    the arab fundamentalists do not want peace. In the last year of CLinton’s administration, the PM of israel offered arafat virtually everything he wanted-withdrawal from gaza and 98% of the west bank. Arafat said no and did not even bother to make a counter offer. arafat’s position of respect and power among his people depends on continuing to promote the conflict, not the peace.
    speaking of withdrawing support for corrupt mideast regimes, we have recently toppled one of the most corrupt and deadly of these: saddam’s, of course. are the arabs grateful? have you been watching cnn lately?
    furthermore, we helped them to eject a brutal russian invasion in afghanistan. and our own reasons for doing so are completely irrelevant, as the arabs know well, for they will tell you, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” and were they grateful for our assistance? look at the evidence.
    and we intervened in somalia, and bosnia, on behalf of muslims. last time i checked, there is no oil in either of these places. can you feel the gratitude of the arab world yet?
    osama is a hero to his people, it is important to understand that. it is important to understand that peace is not possible with fundamentalist muslims no matter what we do. when their imam’s scream for our blood, they acquire wealth (from control of the mosques) and much prestige.
    and i speak from personal experience. 6 months in iraq as a contractor. the mindset of the fanatic is completely alien to you or i-your compassion is seen as a flaw, a weakness to be exploited.i assert that this is true even among non-fanatical arabs. they see your compassion as a weakness if you are an infidel. and the fanatics DO NOT WANT peace. they can not afford it. they have said repeatedly, for years. that they want to kill all the jews and infidels. why does no one take them at their word?
    the evidence is so obvious that we miss it.
    Something i realized in Iraq: saddam was so brutal to his subjects because this is the way to control them. the sword, that they respect.
    anonymous is entirely correct. we will not win this war unless we scorch the earth, and so we will lose, because our civilization has grown past that.

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  25. blogoSFERICS says:

    There's Nothing to Understand
    Originally posted 6/18; I'm just bumping the timestamp as much as EE allows [Notice to search-engine visitors: I will not link to the Paul Johnson pictures.] This is not about anything Paul Johnson did. It's not about anything George W. B…

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  26. Al-Queda planning strike to “keep Bush in office”
    The British Guardian is reporting “Bush told he is playing in Bin Laden’s hands.”

    …while it is always a good idea to be skeptical…, I myself share these fears. Others and I have done spoofs (here) of Al Queda endorsements of Bush-Cheney only t…

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  27. Is Anyone Worried About Imperial Hubris
    Imperial Hubris is the title of an about to be released book written by “Anonymous.” a current employee of the agency, as James Joyner relates. I first took note of the book in an entry by Political Pulpit at Political Puzzle, where they generous…

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