In This Review

Marching Toward Hell: America and Islam After Iraq
Marching Toward Hell: America and Islam After Iraq
By Michael Scheuer
Free Press, 2008, 384 pp

Readers searching for examples of Jacksonian American foreign policy will find much to study in Scheuer's latest bestseller. For Scheuer, the interest of the American elite in building world orders is a utopian distraction from the real and urgent business of the American state: killing those who seek to kill Americans. Worse, the far-reaching global ambitions of the elite, in combination with its fatally naive ideas about the way the world works, have set the United States on a path that creates new enemies -- new enemies that the weak-minded, hapless elite cannot defeat. Scheuer, who headed the CIA's counterterrorism task force charged with monitoring Osama bin Laden, believes that U.S. policies ranging from support of Israel to the promotion of secular democracy have alienated Muslims, that al Qaeda and similar movements are making enormous progress in capitalizing on this alienation to build ever-larger and more deadly terror movements, and that from the time of George H. W. Bush's presidency to the present day the U.S. foreign policy establishment has failed to treat this threat with the seriousness it deserves. There is much to be said for Scheuer's view, and perhaps a bit more to be said against it. However, those interested in U.S. foreign policy should read this book with close attention. It highlights attitudes and concepts that are deeply rooted in the American political tradition, and if current measures fail and the United States should experience additional serious terror attacks, Scheuer's views will find increasing political support.