Empirical Hubris: How "Anonymous" Disguises the Real Threat to the West and Damages the CIA

(Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Jeff Helmreich - The book, Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror, by "Anonymous," aims to spark a dramatic re-evaluation of American policy in the Middle East. Indeed, if one did not know of the author's expertise level, the facts and motivations behind the book's release, and the sources for its thesis, one might seriously entertain his central claim: that Islamists are at war with the West over its policies, not its culture or values. On this basis, "Anonymous" seeks a reduction of U.S. support for Israel while slandering lobbying efforts on Israel's behalf. The context in which the book was published raises questions about the CIA in the wake of the post-September 11 criticism of American intelligence. Rarely does a government agency permit one of its officials to publicly attack the government he serves. The CIA, in particular, tends to strictly censor its own officers. Yet somehow the agency allowed Imperial Hubris to be released even while its author, Michael Scheuer, remains a paid CIA official - just as the intelligence service was under attack, for reasons that Scheuer's book coincidentally challenges. Scheuer's claims are refuted largely by the same evidence he cites, as well as by the events of the pre-2001 period that he mostly ignores. Scheuer carefully drew sources only from a narrow time period that distorts his account. Even that evidence, however, challenges Scheuer's thesis about why militant Islamists attack the West. As Scheuer points out at the start of the book, he did not spend much time traveling in the world of Islam, but instead served as an "analyst" of the radical Islamist mindset at headquarters, in a role that resembles that of an academic scholar. The more qualified experts Scheuer consults - including Daniel Pipes and especially Bernard Lewis - actually argue against the "policy-based" view of radical Islamism that he uses them to construct. Scheuer's thesis about "why they hate us" shatters under a simple consideration of sources, some of which he cites, and events over the past decade. Indeed, U.S. policy in the 1990s defended Muslims in Kuwait, Somalia, Bosnia, and Kosovo, while pressing for Israeli withdrawals, through the Oslo process, for the sake of the Palestinians. And yet, al-Qaeda grew. Recently, Islamists slaughtered Nepalese workers in Iraq. They were not killed because of Nepalese policy (which opposes the U.S. on Iraq), but precisely because of who they were - non-Muslim Hindus.

2004-09-13 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive