Unholy Wars Afghanistan, America, and International Terrorism by John K. Cooley (Sterling, VA: Pluto Press, 2000. 299 pages.)

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Maria Hussain

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Abstract

Reading this book is a lot like trying to eat undercooked meat – there is protein
in there, but it is flavorless and tedious. You can chew and chew, but you
just cannot bring yourself to swallow it. The author presents his case with an
authoritative tone, stuffing each paragraph with names, dates, and historical
data, but a closer look reveals the use of manipulative language that strings
together half-truths and repeated insinuations with conclusions that do not
directly relate to the given evidence. The “Acknowledgements” mention that
the author has important friends in media and politics, yet his credentials
(e.g., for whom he is working, or what his political motivations are) are not
given. This is a serious weakness.
Even more serious is his clear contempt for Islam, for he makes no genuine
distinction between Muslims’ desire for self-rule based upon their belief
system (often called “Islamism”) and terrorism. The CIA’s use of Muslim
lives to advance American corporate interests is taken for granted, while
Muslims are portrayed as untrustworthy imbeciles or ungrateful servants.
Such mainstream and moderate organizations and intellectuals as Tablighi
Jamaat, Jamaat Islami, Maududi of Pakistan, and Hassan al-Turabi of Sudan
are given as examples of dangerous extremism. American terrorism against
Iraq, Sudan, and Afghanistan, and its support of Israel, are unquestioned as
being justified, noble, and necessary, while any attack on western interests or
American lives is described with emotionally loaded terms. The only serious
criticism of the United States is that it ever trusted Muslims as allies ...

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