***** Marching Toward Hell: America and Islam After Iraq. By Michael Scheuer; published by Free Press, www.simonandschuster.com (Web); 384 pages; $27.
If author Michael Scheuer’s name doesn’t ring a bell, the title of his best-known book, Imperial Hubris, might. Scheuer, a former CIA analyst and special advisor to the agency’s Osama bin Laden unit, penned that book anonymously in 2004. Scheuer assailed the Bush Administration for ignoring or misunderstanding the motives behind radical Islamic terrorism, arguing that the war on terror was doomed unless the United States reevaluated its foe.
In his latest book, Scheuer still paints an unflattering picture of U.S. policymakers regarding both missed opportunities to stop bin Laden and U.S. involvement in Iraq, which Scheuer vehemently opposes. Looking forward, he paints a similarly grim picture of future U.S. relations with Iraq and Afghanistan.
Scheuer provides thought-provoking insight into Islamic culture, specifically radical Muslims’ contempt for the West. The reasons behind it have changed over the decades, he argues. Scheuer contrasts Ayatollah Khomeini’s rants about Western decadence with the rhetoric of bin Laden, who appeals to the Muslim population by criticizing U.S. foreign policies affecting their lands and culture.
Now a professor of security studies at Georgetown University, Scheuer’s credentials are impeccable and leave little doubt about his expertise in international security matters, specifically those involving the Middle East and Islam.
The book is a complex one to read, and Scheuer seems to rant at times. His tone may reflect frustration at his belief that senior CIA officials and the Clinton and Bush administrations ignored analysts’ warnings about both the threat posed by bin Laden and the perils of invading Iraq.
Despite the rants, the book is highly recommended to security specialists with a stake in counterterrorism and anyone with an interest in the fight against violent radical Islam, as it challenges many conventional American views on this highly complex issue.
Reviewer: Adrian A. Barnie, CPP, CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner), CAMS (Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist), is with the anti-money laundering unit of KeyBank’s Financial Intelligence Unit in Cleveland, Ohio. He is a member of ASIS International.