America asked to get tougher with Muslims
By Khalid Hasan
WASHINGTON: ‘Imperial Hubris’, an anonymously written book by a serving CIA official is the subject of much comment here since it came out a couple of weeks ago. It is most unusual for the CIA to permit a serving official to publish a book, even if it is anonymous. This is making many conclude that the book may be geared at improving the agency’s much-soiled image.
The writer, who has served the agency for 23 years, spent 17 of them “focusing exclusively on terrorism, Islamic insurgencies, militant Islam and the affairs of South Asia.” This would mean that he must have visited Pakistan very many times and his identity should be known to his Pakistani counterparts.
The anonymous author would like US policy towards Muslims to get tougher. According to him, “Unchanged US policies toward the Muslim world leave America only a military option for defending itself. And it is not the option of daintily applying military power as we have since 1991. Killing in large numbers is not enough to defeat our Muslim foes. With killing must come a Sherman-like razing of infrastructure. Such actions will yield large civilian casualties, displaced populations, and refugee flows. Again, this sort of bloody-mindedness is neither admirable nor desirable, but it will remain America’s only option so long as she stands by her failed policies toward the Muslim world … As practiced by the United States, counterterrorism is appeasement; it lets the enemy attack and survive, keeps allies sweet by staying the hand of the US military forces they hate, and ignores the true terrorist states in the Sunni Persian Gulf because they own much of the world’s oil.” He maintains that while US leaders will not say America is at war with Islam, some of Islam is waging war on the United States, and more is edging closer to that status
The author rejects the view that “Muslims hate us and attack us for what we are and what we think, rather than for what we do.” He argues that the Islamic world is not so much offended by the American democratic system of politics as Washington’s actions and policies. He calls any view to the contrary “errant and potentially fatal nonsense.” He writes that the US is wrong in the belief that Muslims misunderstand its policies because “Muslims believe they know precisely what the United States is doing in the Islamic world. They know partly because of Osama bin Laden’s words, partly because of satellite television, but mostly because of the tangible reality of US policies.” He maintains that Muslims are offended by the following policies: support for Israel that keeps Palestinians in the Israelis’ thrall; US and other Western troops on the Arabian peninsula;US occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan; US support for Russia, India and China against their Muslim militants; US pressure on Arab energy producers to keep oil prices low; and US support for apostate, corrupt and tyrannical Muslim governments.
He writes, “Defeat for America, I fear, lies in the military and foreign status quo and the belief that our Islamic foes will be talked out of hating us and disappear if only we teach them voting procedures, political pluralism, feminism, and the separation of church and state.” He calls Osama bin Laden “a practical warrior, not an apocalyptic terrorist in search of Armageddon.” He also believes that while the war in Afghanistan was necessary, but is being lost because of American hubris. “Those who failed to bring peace to Afghanistan after 1992 are now repeating their failure by scripting government affairs and constitution-making in Kabul to portray the birth of Western-style democracy, religious tolerance, and women’s rights - all anathema to Afghan political and tribal culture and none of which has more than a small, unarmed constituency,” he writes.
The author writes that based on documents recovered from Afghan camps, the intelligence gained from prisoners of war, and, especially, the “superb combat performance” of al Qaeda and al Qaeda-trained units against US-led forces show that the West has been wrong about the camps’ main purpose for more than a decade. “Al Qaeda’s camps were staffed by veteran fighters who trained insurgents who fought, and trained others to fight, not only against the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, but also against national armies in Indian Kashmir, Chechnya, Uzbekistan, Eritrea, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Tajikistan, Egypt, Bosnia, western China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Macedonia, Kosovo, and the Philippines. This is not to say the camps did not train terrorists; quite the contrary, given the 11 September attacks, they obviously trained the world’s most talented terrorists. It is to say, however, that terrorist or urban warfare training was a small sub-set of the camps’ primary training regimen. Thus, al Qaeda had large numbers of fighters to disperse and protect after the US invasion,” he states.