Review: Marching Toward Hell–America and Islam After Iraq

4 Star, Asymmetric, Cyber, Hacking, Odd War, Information Operations, Iraq, Religion & Politics of Religion, Terrorism & Jihad, War & Face of Battle
Marching Hell
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Getting Repetitious, A Tiny Bit More Direct This Time Around, March 21, 2008

Michael Scheuer

The author was not a “spook.” He was an analyst. Analysts do not work under cover and they very rarely if ever go in harm's way.

What I admire most about this author is that he kept his integrity, as did Dick Clarke. Both stand in sharp contrast to Tony Lake and Sandy Berger and Madeline Albright in the Clinton Administration, and Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, George Tenet, and Condi Rice in the Bush Administration.

Folks have been reluctant to understand that from the first book by Anonymous, this author has been practically shouting from the rooftops:


The fact is that the US armed presence in the Middle East, first off remaining in Saudi Arabia, a violation of the promise Dick Cheney made, and second of all being loyal to the despotic, debauched Saudi “Royal” family that is consuming the national commonwealth at the expense of the people, are both legitimate grounds for any well-educated revolutionary and patriot to say ENOUGH.

I only give this book four stars because as right as the author is, the end of the book and its varied prescriptions are the only really new ground (from this author) and they are basically no more or less than any well-schooled PhD would tell you: put your own house in order, do no harm, support no despots, and mind your own business.

Of the author's previous books, I continue to regard Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror as the best, and recommend that it be read AFTER reading:
Web of Deceit: The History of Western Complicity in Iraq, from Churchill to Kennedy to George W. Bush
Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA
Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World's Last Dictators by 2025
The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (The American Empire Project)
See No Evil
Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude

For a broader more sensible strategic perspective, consider:
A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility–Report of the Secretary-General's High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change
Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization, Third Edition
Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace

Bottom line: Bush is a village idiot with a semblance of integrity. Cheney is a nakely amoral war criminal who should be run out of town–he's not worth impeaching. The well-intentioned managers of the Department of State, Department of Defense, and the US Intelligence Community do not have a clue about how to create a long-term global strategy to create a prosperous world at peace. They are trapped in pyramidal organizations and have all–without exception–lost the ability to think for themselves. Thus does the Republic stagger to its demise.

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Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror

5 Star, Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Iraq

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5.0 out of 5 stars Finds Legitimacy in Bin Laden's Strategic Goals, Ignorance & Ideology in Ours,

August 13, 2004
Michael Scheuer
Edited 18 Sep 07 to respond to comment and add links to other books.

The author, who has the advantage of being a senior CIA analyst with access to what secrets we do have, has produced what may well be the single most important book in terms of getting this country back on track in relation to the rest of the world. This is the second of three “must read” books I am reviewing today. The first, which sets the stage for this book by providing a truly inspired, informed, extraordinary, and nuanced review of the “just causes” for Muslim radicalization against the USA, is by Mahmood Mamdani, Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror The third, best read last, is Paul L. Williams' Osama's Revenge: THE NEXT 9/11 : What the Media and the Government Haven't Told You The latter books paints a compelling portrait, using only open sources of information, on how likely it is that Bin Laden not only has a number–perhaps 20 or more–nuclear devices of one sort or another–but is also receiving technical assistance from Pakistan, Iran, North Korea, and certain Russians in refreshing and maintaining those devices for use within the US homeland to create a “nuclear hellstorm” (Al Qaeda's words).

This book, the second of two by the same person, but easily the most relevant to the salvation of the American dream and homeland, is a tour d'force. It is an incredibly thoughtful, well-ordered accounting of both our mistakes and both the rationality and inevitability of Bin Laden's victory over the US. The endnotes are world-class.

As Congress prepares to confirm a new Director of Central Intelligence, the author's frequent and articulate damning of the U.S. Intelligence Community leadership for its moral cowardice (specifically slamming George Tenet and also Richard Clarke, who is labeled “blusterer in chief”) must, in my view, require that the nominee for the position of DCI promise to clean house as a condition of his confirmation. Above the rank of GS-15, every Senior Intelligence Service officer should be put on probation by the incoming DCI, and half of them should be retired within 2-3 years. The author of this book knows what he is talking about.

The author very usefully slams (on page 175) Michael O'Hanlon from the Brookings Institute, William Hawkins from the Army War College, and Anthony Davis of Jane's Intelligence Review for their absolute misreading of the situation in Afghanistan. it is helpful to emphasize that these and other so-called experts that Congress tends to rely on, are absolutely superb when they do their homework (O'Hanlon is top notch on the non-revolution in military affairs, for example), and very dangerous when trying to milk the issue of the day without doing their homework (on intelligence reform, for example).

I do not want to conclude without highlighting the author's praise for the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS). They appear, in this one instance, to have excelled at finding and translating every word uttered by Bin Laden and his key aides, in public and in Arabic, and the author–whom I respect completely–is profuse in his detailed thanks to FBIS. Although I and my leading military colleagues consider the FBIS model to be rotten at the core (marginal remote collection, not doing tribal languages or in-country gray literature, broadcasting generic reports largely useless in operational decision making) I do affirm that FBIS can and should be saved, if it can be re-oriented to do for all of its clients what it did for the Bin Laden task force.

In conclusion, I want to focus on what I believe is a misreading by many of the author's recommendation of a “scorched earth” campaign against Al Qaeda as a global insurgency (rather than a law enforcement challenge). Although the author is correct to suggest that such an approach is necessary if we wish to continue doing the six things that Bin Laden wants us to stop, I believe that most readers of this book go into instant denial and fail to see the author's logic, especially when he points out (page 17) that Bin Laden has explicitly stated that he does not desire to expand Islamic dominance beyond existing Muslim countries, and that he will follow us in DE-escalation just as quickly as he is following us in escalation.

What we need to do, according to Bin Laden:

1) End US aid to Israel and support a Palestinian state
2) Withdraw US/Western military forces (not business) from the Arabian Peninsula and all Muslim countries worldwide
3) End US engagement in Afghanistan and Iraq
4) End US support for oppression of Muslims by Chinese, Russian, Indian, and other governments (e.g. Philippines)
5) End US manipulation of oil prices through corrupt dictators
6) End US support for corrRogue Nation: American Unilateralism and the Failure of Good Intentionsupt Muslim regimes

I think this all makes sense, especially when you add the insights from the other 479+ books that I have reviewed, books such as Clyde Prestowitz's , Jonathan Schell's The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People Derek Leebaert's “The Fifty Year Wound” and on and on and on. If our policy makers were willing to read and think for themselves, and not spend endless hours trying to leverage their perks and manipulate their more honest constituencies, it seems to me that we could a) get ourselves out of this mess; b) redirect half the national security budget toward global stabilization instead of selective occupation; and c) restore morality to both our global business practices and our global foreign policy.

Probably will not happen until two nuclear devices go off in America–one will be in a shipping container, the other in a Central Park. Just how stupid can America get? We'll have to wait and see–I don't see us getting any smarter.

The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (Vintage)
The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America
The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (The American Empire Project)
Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude

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