"Philip Smucker makes an impassioned argument for understanding and reconciliation. Traversing a broad swath of the world's great Islamic societies, from northern Africa to Indonesia, he mingles a multitude of personal experiences with insights and analysis. The ultimate goal is peaceful resolution of the great 'war on terror' that pits U.S.-led forces against a wide range of enemies. He avoids demonizing either or any side in a search for a better way of both waging war and making peace. As the title suggests, our enemies also are our brothers, and the war will end only when we recognize our common bond as people with similar yearnings, hopes, and fears.... The author himself sides only with a desire to resolve conflict. He suggests how in a final section devoted to sensitive and colorful first-person reporting from the battlegrounds of Afghanistan. Moving from there to the plain at West Point, he offers criticism and advice that those closest to the war zone may want to consider seriously."
—Donald Kirk, Asia expert, correspondent, Christian Science Monitor,
author of Korea Betrayed: Kim Dae Jung and the Struggle for Sunshine
In this kaleidoscopic tour behind the frontlines of the war of ideas, veteran investigative journalist Philip Smucker—the author of the acclaimed Al Qaeda’s Great Escape—assesses US efforts to persuade Muslims that Americans respect their rights and interests, while we fight wars and promote our interests. He draws on extensive travels in the Muslim world through interviews with a cross-section of the population including students, intellectuals, insurgents and politicians. For an American perspective, the author examines the threat of terrorism and the challenges of winning the peace through candid interviews with US military officers, diplomats, and regional experts.
Smucker describes turmoil within the Islamic realm and our efforts to project “soft power” into a world that remains misunderstood. He assesses both our failures and successes in Israel and Palestine, Egypt, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Saharan Africa.
In contrast to Western fearmongers who use hyperbolic rhetoric about “a clash of civilizations” and our war with “Islamic fascism,” Smucker asserts that such language targeting a would-be “enemy” has only aided and abetted al Qaeda’s recruiting drive and hardened attitudes against America among average Muslims.
Several themes resonate through Smucker’s interviews. One is that the Muslim world is looking for consistent engagement from the United States, particularly in regard to Israeli-Palestinian peace. After decades of paying lip service to the ideal of peace in the Middle East, Smucker shows why it is crucial for the Obama Administration to push forcefully for a two-state solution. Another is that the US must discontinue its policy of backing authoritarian regimes that oppress their people. In the eyes of everyday Muslims, such tactics make a mockery of our claim to be the champion of individual liberty. Muslims, many of whom already support democratic change, will only be convinced of America’s good will, says Smucker, if our actions speak louder than our words. Finally, Smucker makes the case that as long as Americans and Muslims view one another with blanket suspicions and as potential "enemies," neither side can hope to persuade his "brother" to see the world in another light. Though there are no silver bullets, pacification, development, and democratic progress should be approached through shifts in American foreign policy, he argues.
This revealing, vividly told narrative by a daring and experienced journalist with firsthand knowledge of the events and people in conflict areas offers unforgettable insights into the Muslim world’s hopes and fears as well as our own crucial diplomatic overtures and military campaigns across the Islamic world.
Binding: Hardcover345 pages (photos)
Shipping Weight: 2lbs
Philip Smucker (Alexandria, VA) is the author of the highly acclaimed Al Qaeda’s Great Escape, which broke the story of Osama’s Bin Laden’s escape. A seasoned journalist with over twenty-five years of experience abroad, he has worked and written for numerous publications including the Atlantic Monthly, McClatchy Newspapers, the Christian Science Monitor, the International Herald Tribune, Asia Times, and the Daily Telegraph. His most recent reporting in the Muslim world has been for the McClatchy Newspaper chain, Atlantic Monthly, and USA Today, among others.