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Marching Toward Hell: America and Islam After Iraq
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Marching Toward Hell: America and Islam After Iraq

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  125 ratings  ·  30 reviews

When Michael Scheuer first questioned the goals of the Iraq War in his 2004 bestseller Imperial Hubris, policymakers and ordinary citizens alike stood up and took notice. Now, Scheuer offers a scathing and frightening look at how the Iraq War has been a huge setback to America's War on Terror, making our enemy stronger and altering the geopolitical landscape in ways that a

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Hardcover, 288 pages
Published February 12th 2008 by Free Press (first published January 1st 2008)
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Mike
A very slow, and at times frustrating read. Slow because sometimes you need to just stop and process the information, and a lot of the information/wisdom the author has to share is in the footnotes, of which there are many. Frustrating when you come to fully realize how completely, totally, and utterly wrong the US policy in the Middle East has been.

This is a book written by a justifiably angry, passionate man, who invested 20+ years at the CIA specializing in the Middle East, among other thing
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Jeff
I'm giving this five stars, not be cause I agree with everything the author has to say. Some of his analysis is hard to accept, his assertions not based on anything but obvious bias, some of his prescriptions for correcting what he sees as catastrophic failures unrealistic.

However, Scheuer does succeed in making one think, to question commonly held beliefs (e.g., that we need to support Israel no matter what) and to try and get a more realistic view of what our Islamic enemies are after (at leas
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John
Very frank critique of current U.S. foreign policy; focusing on Bin Laden, Saudi Arabia, and Israel. The author is a recently retired CIA analyst who apparently was heavily involved the agency's monitoring of Bin Laden in the late 1990's. He believes the U.S. has already lost in Iraq and Afghanistan. He says that our support of Israel politically and militarily while simultaneously remaining dependent on Saudi Arabia for much of our energy supply is an untenable position. He seems to believe tha ...more
Owen
This guy hates EVERYBODY. Well, almost everybody. Except for a grudging respect for Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, this guy hates everybody. He hates Clinton more than either Bush, Carter more than either of those, and heaps more scorn on George Tenet than any of the above.

Michael Scheuer led Alec Station, the CIA unit tasked with hunting Bin Laden in the 90s. By all accounts, they provided several opportunities to capture or kill him of varying qualities. Importantly, none of them seemed to invo
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Ayman Fadel
As I was listening to this abridged book on CD, I pictured its author Michael Scheuer as a combination of Col. Kurtz in Apocalypse Now and Cersei in Game of Thrones. His commitment to no principle other than the cohesiveness of the United States and his view that ultra-violence is a necessary tool to preserve that cohesiveness made it difficult for me, a proponent of non-violence and globalism (his term is antinationalist), to keep an open mind to his ideas. Yet I'm glad I did persevere and fini ...more
Christopher
This book was an incredibly hard book for me to review and rate. Most books I have been able to say I liked it or didn't like it. But this book, on what America's foreign policy has been and should be in the Middle East, is one of the few books that I both appreciate and detest at the same time. I appreciate Scheuer's willingness to air unpopular decisions in the hopes that our political leaders will completely reevaluate our Middle East policy. I also appreciate his genuine desire to destroy al ...more
Efrem Sepulveda
Michael Scheuer's book on our failed adventures in the Middle East and South Asia serves as a warning for those who on one hand refuse to get the job done in exacting vengeance on those who would harm America and on the other hand those that think that they can replicate the poltiical culture and ideas of the West on other parts of the world.

A major theme of the book is that our government refused to put down terrorists such as Osama Bin Laden in a timely manner before they could do damage to Am
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Zach
This book raises some very interesting ideas, you may not agree with them, but they are intersting to think about. For example:

--What is the US strategic interest in Israel?

--Should moral issues (human rights, womens' rights, encouraging democracy) be part of US foriegn policy? What is the interest?

--Is AQ focused on the US not because of "our freedoms" but because we appear to support anti-Muslim regimes (Israel, Russia, China, India) or oppressive "secularist" regimes (Egypt, Saudi) while tr
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Chris
Jun 25, 2008 Chris rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who hate people
I'm about a third of the way through it now and it sucks shit. And I really, really, enjoyed Imperial Hubris and most articles by him that I've read. I might get around to finishing this but Christ is it a whole lot of effort for not a lot of joy.

Short list of some of the things and people Scheuer despises up to page 110:

FBI (nosy, incompetent, actively sabotaging the CIA)
NSA (pretentious, not willing to do their job)
Entire Clinton administration (no balls)
Entire Bush administration (no clue)
All
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Ray
Mr. Scheuer was a senior U.S. Intelligence official in the CIA, and has clear positions on what is being done wrong, and what needs to be done, to keep America and American citizens safe. He is critical of the Bush Administrations simplistic position that "... they hate us because of our Freedoms...".

Instead, Mr. Scheuer points out that the writings and speeches of Al Qaeda indicate that the key issues continue to be the presence of U.S. troops in "Holy Lands", the U.S. unabashed, one-sided, an
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Glen
An unrepentant Machiavellian and self-described unreconstructed Reaganite, ex-spook Scheuer idolizes Bin Laden's political genius yet offers no operable solution to the scourge of Islamism except "change our Foreign Policy in the Middle East". I agree with him that our goal of democratization of Islamic regimes is idiotic in the extreme, and that we missed a lot of opportunities to take out Bin Laden before he made his mark, but this book does nothing to help us fight al'Qaeda in the present or ...more
Emily
Jul 28, 2008 Emily rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: McCain, Obama
I give this a 3.5 stars. I think Scheuer's an isolationist asshole who would make Ayn Rand proud, but I also think he makes a lot of good points, though he repeats them throughout the book. He cites a myriad relevant sources in relevant ways.

Take Home Points:
1. Al Qaeda is not killing us because of our freedoms and our (Western) way of life. They're after us because we're in their holy places, we continue to back Israel for no apparent reasons, we give money to police states who oppress, torture
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Greg
Audio books take me a lot longer to get through now that I have a 3-minute walk for a commute. I had mixed feelings about this book. I understand it's seriously controversial but I do think Scheuer has some decent points. He is excessively logical and I appreciate logic but I have learned that there is more to humanity than logic. All head and no heart makes Homer something something (or something like that). In any case, his argument is compelling when it is not outright offensive and while I d ...more
James Hatton
Here's another excellent analysis of U.S. foreign policy as it pertains to the war in Iraq and the "war on terror". It's a criticism of U.S. foreign policy at the time it was published, and for a couple of decades preceding its publication; but foreign policy has a way of sticking around, so the book is still relevant.

The author is a Republican, so don't be thinking it's all about bashing Bush. Read it and judge for yourself.

Bryan
Mr. Scheuer reminds us of the federal government's primary responsibility in this book; one which is too often forgotten: promote the country's national (including security) interests. Too often our federal government makes the mistake that President Washington warned against about becoming entangled in other nations' affairs.

His other primary thesis in this book is that the military, through the government's mandates, has forgotten how to fight a war, and instead has become overly concerned wit
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Shea Mastison
This is a much weaker book than "Imperial Hubris" and it suffers because of the frustration that Michael Scheuer allows to cloud his thoughts. It's obvious that he left the CIA under poor circumstances, and one has to wonder whether or not it's affected his ability to rationally analyze the subjects he's tackled.

However, seeing as this book was written some years ago; his descriptions of the brewing problems in Syria and Libya seem almost prescient.

If you love reading about foreign affairs; an
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Jen
Wow. Scheurer is a fantastic analyst when it comes to the Middle East and terrorism. He also should have stopped with his first book. This one is nothing more than embittered CIA analyst bitching about any politician that doesn't want to blast the entire region into a parking lot and pave over it.
His first book was a great analytical piece about bin Laden, his rationale for war and al-Qaeda in general. This book is a bitter, vitriolic rant with a few facts sprinkled in for good measure.
Bob
An interesting view of the war on terrorism from an ex-CIA analyst. This was written before the "surge" in Iraq and therefor we get a hindsite look at Mr. Scheuers predictive competence, which is not 100%. He definitely has a unique perspective on the U.S. and its roll in the world. But his solutions are not even on the radar in Washington. Maybe Ron Paul is the closest example of his thinking. An interesting read if only to round out what is fed to us by the mainstreem media.
Gerry
Totally debunks all party myths of the political gaming in Washington DC and how neither party was particularly "good" or "bad" at this terrorism related matter. Rather, they both used the system for political point gaming. Good humor along the way - but be forewarned you may find yourself bonking your head with a frying pan (in a matter of speaking of course) as I did along the way.
Stephanie
Nothing like a long-time CIA guy whose specialty was AlQaeda to perk up your perception of how our government is (mis)handling the whole Middle East.

I actually didn't read it all, as I was sliding toward the black hole of depression and just couldn't take it if it was headed where I know it was headed. I've see the author speak enough times to be aware of how bleak it all is.
Lynn
I sure hope this guy isn’t right, but after reading the book, I suspect he is. This book is worth reading, even in 2009; especially if you think what we are doing now in the Middle East is OK. I’ve seen him on FOX News a lot, and he is always interesting and controversial. If you think he is the typical right-winger, you need to read this book.
Karmen
This books asks "is the protection of U.S. interests and American citizens, and the maintenance of American sovereignty, independence, and freedom of action, any longer the primary, overriding concern of the U.S. federal government?"
Jason
A no nonsense look at the huge challenges ahead for the US of A and why we as a nation must fundamentally rethink the current approach to Islamic Fundamentalism and national security.
Matthew
I think the bulk of this was written when Iraq was descending into chaos. It seems a reminder to not be myopic when analyzing foreign affairs is in order.
Will Whitacre
Interesting but probably not the most useful for constructing solutions.
Greg
Psychotic and bloodthirsty book that seems to hate everyone. Not convincing.
Tom
Not as good as Imperial Hubris, but anything by Scheuer is worth it.
Hugh Carson
Good premise, but more vitriolic than his previous one.
Bob
Intelligent insights into U.S Middle East relations.
Steven
Dec 17, 2010 Steven added it
Another good work by the author. Good read.
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Michael F. Scheuer is a former CIA employee. In his 22-year career, he served as the Chief of the Bin Laden Issue Station (aka "Alec Station"), from 1996 to 1999, the Osama bin Laden tracking unit at the Counterterrorist Center. He then worked again as Special Advisor to the Chief of the bin Laden unit from September 2001 to November 2004.

Scheuer resigned in 2004. He is currently a news analyst fo
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More about Michael Scheuer...
Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror Osama Bin Laden Through Our Enemies' Eyes: Osama Bin Laden, Radical Islam, and the Future of America Spy Trade: How Israel's Lobby Undermines America's Economy America And The Middle East: Challenges For The Future

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