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Why the West is Losing the War on Terror

By Eric Margolis, The Toronto Sun
Sunday 12 September 2004

Three years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, America's politicians and media continue to gravely deceive the public about the so-called war on terrorism.
Now the definitive book on terrorism has appeared that should be mandatory reading for every thinking person. It's called Imperial Hubris: Why The West is Losing the War on Terror. The cover simply identifies the author as "Anonymous," but he's already been widely identified in the American media as Michael Scheuer, a senior terrorism analyst for the CIA. It is unprecedented that a serving CIA officer was allowed to publish a book, one that is clearly a dramatic rebuke to the neoconservatives who drove the U.S. into two wars. Scheuer's work is a goldmine of information and brilliant analysis. It breaks taboos and sweeps away the clouds of lies about al-Qaida, Iraq and Afghanistan. He says U.S. leaders refuse to accept the obvious -- "we are fighting a worldwide Islamic insurgency -- not criminality or terrorism."
The U.S. has made only "a modest dent in enemy forces." None of bin Laden's reasons for waging war on the U.S., writes Scheuer, "have anything to do with our freedom, liberty, and democracy (as President George Bush claims), but everything to do with U.S. policies and actions in the Muslim world," notably unlimited support for Israel's repression of the Palestinians and the destruction of Iraq. "For cheap, easily accessible oil, Washington and the West have supported Muslim tyrannies (Osama) bin Laden and other Islamists seek to destroy," Scheuer writes. "The war has the potential to last beyond our children's lifetimes and be fought mostly on U.S. soil."

A Coup for bin Laden

Bin Laden, argues Scheuer, is widely viewed by much of the Muslim world, infuriated by American actions in the Mideast, as neither a terrorist or madman but as a skilled warrior, the sole Muslim leader standing up to predatory western powers. Ironically U.S. and British military intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq "are completing the radicalization of the Islamic world," a prime bin Laden goal. Bush's misbegotten invasion of Iraq was "icing on bin Laden's cake." The threat today facing America "is the defensive jihad (holy struggle), an Islamic military reaction triggered by an attack by non-Muslims on the Islamic faith, on Muslims, on Muslim territory."

Muslims are increasingly fighting back
The Muslim world believes it is under total attack led by Bush -- a massive effort to crush all who oppose U.S. domination, destroy Islam's inherent political role, eliminate Muslim charities, impose western values on the Islamic world and maintain puppet rulers -- "spreading democracy" in Bush's lexicon. Terrorism is merely the tactics of the poor fighting the rich.

The Ultimate Taboo

"U.S. military operations in the Muslim world," he adds, "validate bin Laden's contention the U.S. is attacking Islam and supports any country willing to kill or persecute Muslims." Scheuer, breaking the ultimate taboo, observes of Washington's "one-way alliance" with Israel that "Israelis have succeeded in lacing tight the ropes binding the American Gulliver to the ... Jewish state and its policies." The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are lost causes, Scheuer concludes. The U.S. is totally unable to create legitimate governments in either chaotic nation, only puppet regimes, supported by American bayonets. If the U.S. stays, it will bleed endlessly; if it retreats, it faces political disaster.

Washington, he charges, has no strategy and is merely "winging it." In one of his most acute insights, Scheuer explains the U.S. cannot, for all of its riches, buy its way to victory in Afghanistan or Iraq. "Honour is still the currency of value in the Middle East, more so than goods and services."
Blood-links trump all other affiliations or loyalties. Honour is why the Taliban refused to hand over bin Laden to the U.S., a man they regarded as their guest and a war hero, and why he has still not been betrayed in spite of a $25-million US reward in a nation where the annual income is $147.

At least there is one person in Washington who understands the violence surrounding us -- and has the courage and patriotism to tell Americans the truth: Their own arrogance and ignorance are driving them into a no-win war against 1.3 billion Muslims.