----- Original Message -----
From: "Peter Myers" <myers@cyberone.com.au>
To: "clem clarke" <oscarptyltd@ozemail.com.au>
Sent: Thursday, November 27, 2003 4:45 AM
Subject: Bernard Lewis and the New Orientalism, by M. SHAHID ALAM

(1) Bernard Lewis on Islam's "humiliation and disgrace"

(2) Bernard Lewis - A Sage for the Age (usnews profile, 12-3-01)

(3) Bernard Lewis and the New Orientalism, by M. SHAHID ALAM

(4) Bernard Lewis Links

(5) Bernard Lewis not to blame

(6) Bernard Lewis interview (Jewsweek)

(1) Bernard Lewis on Islam's "humiliation and disgrace"

Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2003 23:47:12 EST From: Ichee@aol.com


{quote} ... British Orientalist spook Bernard Lewis ... the Saudi
expatriate spoke of Islam's "humiliation and disgrace ... for more than
80 years" - a reference to the crushing of the Ottoman Empire by Britain
and France in 1918. Lewis invented a tradition of jihad, "bequeathed to
Muslims by the Prophet" {endquote}

CRITICISM: MORE PROBABLE ANALYSIS: a refereence to the announcement of
Balfour Declaration to the Palestinians. RJ/ICHEE

(2) Bernard Lewis - A Sage for the Age (usnews profile, 12-3-01)

Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2003 00:35:14 -0800 From: "Paulene Robinson"

Here is this one that I just found. I had to pay for it from the
archives. It isn't exactly the same one from Jewweek, but it says that
he is Jewish also.

But that's mild stuff compared with charges that began flying on the
ideologically overheated campuses of the 1970s, accusations to which
Lewis, conservative-leaning and Jewish, was doubly vulnerable. Foremost
among his detractors was Edward Said, a professor of literature at
Columbia University. In articles, reviews, and his highly influential
book, Orientalism (1978), Said labeled Lewis as one of the last
"orientalists": those European scholars whose study of Eastern
civilizations served as justification for European imperialism.

Title: A Sage for the Age


Highlight: Portrait: Bernard Lewis Author(s): Jay Tolson Citation:
December 3, 2001 p 40-42, 47

Section: Culture & Ideas Copyright © 2003 U.S.News & World Report, L.P.
All rights reserved.

FOREIGN POLICY, US; Lewis, Bernard; Bin Laden, Osama

Word Count: 2314

Abstract: Profile of Islam scholar Bernard Lewis. With box: The Man in
Short. With sidebar: Prescience and poetry.

Article Text: It's been a busy autumn for Bernard Lewis, the scholar
whose work ranges from Persian poetry and the medieval assassin cult to
Muslim perceptions of Europe to modern Turkey. Since September 11, "the
patriarch of all Islamicists," as one historian has called him, has been
the specialist of the season--and very much in demand. "I've been to
Washington six times since the twin towers," Lewis said during a recent
interview at his home in Princeton, N.J. And though a discretion born of
wartime service in British intelligence prevents him from naming names,
sources indicate that officials in the White House and the Pentagon were
among the beneficiaries of his counsel.

Lewis's sharp-edged commentaries on what history means to Muslims--how
it has shaped them, how they have used it and misused it--are what make
him so much the scholar of the hour. (In fact, U.S. officials have been
calling on Lewis ever since he came to Princeton from the University of
London in 1974; before that he was just as much in demand by the British

But those same strong readings of Middle Eastern culture, politics, and
history, which some critics charge are loaded with ideological agendas
ranging from Eurocentrism to Zionism, have made him the subject of
considerable academic controversy during the past 30 years. As historian
Stephen Humphreys of the University of California-Santa Barbara
explains, Lewis has always insisted upon classical liberal values as a
standard by which to measure the progress of Islamic nations, a notion
that is anathema to campus champions of cultural relativism. "He's quite
clear on the way a society must evolve if it wants to become modern,"
Humphreys says.

That clarity is one reason Lewis's views have often been valued more
outside the academy than in it. Yet you will rarely see Lewis on the
talk-show circuit. At 85, Princeton's Cleveland E. Dodge professor of
Near Eastern studies emeritus pleads old age and fatigue. Besides, says
the London-born scholar, "They talk to you for hours and then use four
minutes of fragments." Clearly, fragments ill suit a man who speaks in
fully formed paragraphs (he has composed many of his lectures, articles,
and close to 30 books on a tape recorder).

Nevertheless, the professor's views are getting wider exposure than
usual these days; he recently appeared on both Meet the Press and The
Charlie Rose Show. Recent events have also brought greater numbers of
general readers to his books. They are snapping up his new Music of a
Distant Drum: Classical Arabic, Persian, Turkish, & Hebrew Poems and
have put the 1995 Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years
on the New York Times paperback bestseller list. Coming soon is the
timely What Went Wrong? though readers eager to see how Lewis relates
his wide learning to current events can turn to his article "The Revolt
of Islam," in the November 19 issue of the New Yorker.

Still, in the academy, Lewis's hard-nosed but sympathetic approach was
making a comeback even before radical Islam became a clear and present
danger, says Andre Wink, author of Al-Hind: The Making of the
Indo-Islamic World. "I think that views on the Muslim world will change
even more," says Wink, "and that might be good for scholarship." Lewis
believes that it would be good for the Islamic world as well. Indeed, he
argues that one of the big causes of the current mess in the Middle East
is America's cultural condescension. He says there is more than a little
truth to the charge leveled by many Middle Easterners "that the United
States judges them by different and lower standards than it does
Europeans and Americans, both in what is expected of them and in what
they may expect--in terms of their financial well-being and their
political freedom." This is most obvious, Lewis holds, in Washington's
tolerance of repressive regimes, to whom it implicitly says, "We don't
care what you do to your people at home, so long as you are cooperative
in meeting our needs and protecting our interests."

Lewis concedes that this approach is partly the result of Washington's
foreign-policy realism and America's thirst for Middle Eastern oil. But
beyond that, he adds, "I think there is an underlying assumption that
these people are different and are incapable of running a democratic
society." It is an assumption that he strongly opposes. As proof, he
points to Turkey, whose emergence as a democracy, however flawed, is the
subject of some of his most important work.

Predictions. In a prophetic essay more than 10 years ago, "The Roots of
Muslim Rage," Lewis cautioned that there was little the United States,
or the West in general, could do to affect the outcome of a struggle
that has been going on since the failure of the second Ottoman siege of
Vienna in 1683. Combined with the subsequent spread of European colonies
in Asia and Africa, that setback for the Ottoman Empire marked a sharp
reversal in fortunes for the larger Muslim world, Lewis explained. Once
members of the more prosperous and culturally advanced civilization,
Muslim peoples saw their standing fall drastically in relation to that
of the peoples and nations of Europe. Now on the defensive, Lewis says,
Muslims commenced a 300-year debate over what had gone wrong and how
best to fix it.

In short, that debate turns on two alternative visions of the future.
The one advocated by modernizing reformers was to emulate the West,
adopting--or at least adapting--its best ideas, practices, and
institutions; the other, which found only modest support until recent
decades, was to return to the sacred past of the Muslim umma (community)
that rose and spread under the prophet Mohammed and his early
successors. If the Turks under Mustafa Kemal (later known as Ataturk)
were most successful in taking the former path, the Arab followers of
Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703-92) in what later became Saudi Arabia
were most determined to achieve the latter.

Lewis has repeatedly noted that the debate was greatly complicated by
the fact that Islam in its classical form did not separate church and
state. And though separations did emerge in Muslim regimes, there has
been an abiding murkiness about the status of the political sphere--and
a general cynicism among Muslims about political leaders. Western
powers, through indifference, arrogance, and reckless policies, threw up
further barriers to the modernizing effort throughout the Middle East.
"The only Western political model that took firm root in the modern
Middle East was the one-party dictatorship," Lewis observes. Little
wonder, he says, that the Westernizing voices began to lose ground to
Islamic fundamentalists in recent decades. And what the Islamic
revolution in Iran heralded has now taken a darker turn in the movement
led by Osama bin Laden.

Threats. Lewis says that the West should not underestimate the man who
fashions himself as a second Saladin engaged in a struggle against a
modern crusade. He credits bin Laden with a poetic command of the Arabic
language and a strong (if inaccurate) sense of history that resonates
with many people throughout the Islamic world. "He gives expression to
their resentment and rage," Lewis says, noting also that bin Laden comes
across to them as a man of integrity and honor. "You must ask yourself,
too, what alternative models there are, given the choice between Osama
and the sort of corrupt rulers they have who are so tyrannical to them
and submissive to foreigners." But Lewis is also clear that the West
must meet this threat with unflinching resolve and force. "If you
concede points," Lewis says, "if you show a willingness to compromise,
that shows you are weak and frightened. You hear this again and again
about both the Americans and the Israelis: They have gone soft; they
can't take casualties; hit them hard enough and they will run. This is
Osama's line about the United States. And this is also the underlying
principle of Arafat's position regarding Israel."

Such bluntness explains why government officials come to Lewis for
counsel. It also suggests why academics have found his views offensive.
But scholars, even admiring ones, have registered other objections.
Describing his work as "absolutely major," Patricia Crone of the
Institute for Advanced Study, a former student of Lewis's, nevertheless
charges that it can be superficial and predictable. "It's all very
text-based," she says. "His whole approach is untouched by the social
sciences." Humphreys, also a fan, finds a different problem: "Lewis
tends to look at Islam, to some degree, as a closed set of ideas and
values that do change over time but within the box of Islamic
civilization . . . while today many scholars would suggest a more fluid
movement between civilizations."

But that's mild stuff compared with charges that began flying on the
ideologically overheated campuses of the 1970s, accusations to which
Lewis, conservative-leaning and Jewish, was doubly vulnerable. Foremost
among his detractors was Edward Said, a professor of literature at
Columbia University. In articles, reviews, and his highly influential
book, Orientalism (1978), Said labeled Lewis as one of the last
"orientalists": those European scholars whose study of Eastern
civilizations served as justification for European imperialism.

Questions. Saidian notions won legions of converts among students and
younger academics throughout the humanities and social sciences as well
as in the specialized area of Middle Eastern studies. Though Lewis
responded to some of the accusations--nowhere more deftly than in his
1982 essay, "The Question of Orientalism"--a whole industry of
"postcolonial" scholarship devoted to emphasizing the West's
victimization of Third World peoples threatened to marginalize the
position of scholars like Lewis.

The irony of such scholarship was obvious to some even before September
11. By depicting them as victims, Crone says, "it infantilized Muslims
in a different way." And Muslim intellectuals also began to recognize as
much. "When I was studying in the States in the '70s," says Iranian
literary scholar Azar Nafisi, author of the forthcoming Reading Lolita
in Tehran, "I was very much against people like Lewis. I had far more
books by people like Said. When I went back and lived and taught in
Tehran in 1979, I began to discover how many of my assumptions were
wrong." Reading Lewis, she discovered, among other things, that Muslims
until the mid-19th century had been far more critical of their own
culture than any orientalist ever was--a self-critical spirit that she
had been ignorant of until Lewis, and other "orientalists," led her to

Lewis himself takes great pleasure in the fact that so many of his works
are translated and read in Islamic countries. To him, it might even be
the strongest rebuttal to those who say that he writes to satisfy
Western or Israeli preconceptions, prejudices, and agendas. He quotes a
line from the preface to one of his books that was published by the
fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt: "I don't know who this man
is," the translator wrote, "but one thing is clear: He is either a
candid friend or an honest enemy who disdains to tell lies."

In the fading light of a late autumn afternoon, the patriarch chuckles
softly. "I was rather pleased with that."


BORN London, May 1916

EDUCATION University of London: B.A. 1936; Ph.D. 1939

ACADEMIC AFFILIATIONS University of London, 1938-74; Institute for
Advanced Study, 1974-86; Princeton University, 1974-present

HONORS Jefferson lecturer, National Endowment for the Humanities, 1990;
Ataturk Peace Prize, 1998


Prescience and poetry

Some excerpts from the books and articles of Bernard Lewis:

Islam and the West: " . . . the peoples of Islam continued until the
dawn of the modern age to cherish--as some of us in the West still do
today--the conviction of the immeasurable and immutable superiority of
their own civilization to all others. For the medieval Muslim . . .
Christian Europe was a backward land of ignorant infidels. It was a
point of view which might perhaps have been justified at one time; by
the end of the Middle Ages it was becoming dangerously obsolete." -The
Muslim Discovery of Europe, 1982

Antisemitism. "In the course of the 19th and 20th centuries an important
change took place in the very nature of Muslim hostility to Jews. . . .
In general, their attitude was that of a master people to a subject
people whom they were prepared to treat with a certain lordly
condescension as long they behaved themselves. With the changed
circumstances of the era of European domination, the non-Muslim ceased
to be contemptible in Muslim eyes and became dangerous. In the case of
the Jews, this new attitude was further encouraged by the importation of
certain ideas characteristic of European antisemitism, but previously
unknown even to the most prejudiced Islamic opponents of Jews and other
non-Muslims." -Semites and Anti-Semites, 1986

Fundamentalism. " . . . fundamentalism is not the only Islamic
tradition. There are others, more tolerant, more open, that helped to
inspire the great achievements of Islamic civilization in the past, and
we may hope that these other traditions will in time prevail. But before
this issue is decided there will be a hard struggle, in which we of the
West can do little or nothing . . . these are issues that Muslims must
decide among themselves. And in the meantime we must take great care on
all sides to avoid the danger of a new era of religious wars, arising
from the exacerbation of differences and the revival of ancient
prejudices." -"The Roots of Muslim Rage," 1990

(3) Bernard Lewis and the New Orientalism, by M. SHAHID ALAM

Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2003 00:38:31 -0800 From: "Paulene Robinson"

Scholarship or Sophistry?

Bernard Lewis and the New Orientalism


Counterpunch, June 28, 2003


It would appear from the fulsome praise heaped by mainstream reviewers
on Bernard Lewis's most recent and well-timed book, <I>What Went Wrong?
Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response</I> (Oxford University Press,
2002), that the demand for Orientalism has reached a new peak. America's
search for new enemies that began soon after the end of the Cold War
very quickly resurrected the ghost of an old, though now decrepit,
enemy, Islam. Slowly but surely, this revived the sagging fort1unes of
Orientalism, so that it speaks again with the treble voice of authority.

The mainstream reviewers describe Bernard Lewis as "the doyen of Middle
Eastern studies," the "father" of Islamic studies, "[a]rguably the
West's most distinguished scholar on the Middle East," and "[a] Sage for
the Age." It would appear that Lewis is still the reigning monarch of
Orientalism, as he was some twenty-five years back when Edward Said, in
his <I>Orientalism</I>, dissected and exposed the intentions,
modalities, deceptions, and imperialist connections of this ideological
enterprise. This Orientalist tiger has not changed his stripes over the
fifty-odd years that he has been honing his skills. Now at the end of
his long career-only coincidentally, also the peak-he presents the
summation, the quintessence of his scholarship and wisdom on Islam and
the Middle East, gathered, compressed in the pages of this slim book
that sets out to explain what went wrong with Islamic history, and that
has so mesmerized reviewers on the right.

Who Is Bernard Lewis?

We will return to the book in a moment, but before that, we need to step
back some twenty-five years and examine how Edward Said, in
<I>Orientalism</I>, has described this Orientalist tiger's stripes and
his cunning ploys at concealment. Edward Said gets to the nub of Lewis's
Orientalist project when he writes that his "work purports to be liberal
objective scholarship but is in reality very close to being propaganda
<I>against</I> his subject material." Lewis's work is "aggressively
ideological." He has dedicated his entire career, spanning more than
five decades, to a "project to debunk, to whittle down, and to discredit
the Arabs and Islam." Said writes:

<BLOCKQUOTE> The core of Lewis's ideology about Islam is that it never
changes, and his whole mission is to inform conservative segments of the
Jewish reading public, and anyone else who cares to listen, that any
political, historical, and scholarly account of Muslims must begin and
end with the fact that Muslims are Muslims.</BLOCKQUOTE>

Although Lewis's objectives are ominous, his methods are quite subtle;
he prefers to work "by suggestion and insinuation." In order to disarm
his readers and win their trust and admiration, he delivers frequent
"sermons on the objectivity, the fairness, the impartiality of a real
historian." This is only a cover, a camouflage, for his political
propaganda. Once he is seated on his high Orientalist perch, he goes
about cleverly insinuating how Islam is deficient in and opposed to
universal values, which, of course, always originate in the West. It is
because of this deficiency in values that Arabs have trouble accepting a
democratic Israel-it is always "democratic" Israel. Lewis can write
"objectively" about the Arab's "ingrained" opposition to Israel without
ever telling his readers that Israel is an imperialist creation, and an
expansionist, colonial-settler state that was founded on terror, wars,
and ethnic cleansing. Lewis's work on Islam represents the "culmination
of Orientalism as a dogma that not only degrades its subject matter but
also blinds its practitioners."

Lewis's scholarly mask slips off rather abruptly when he appears on
television, a feat that he accomplishes with predictable regularity.

Once he is on the air, his polemical self, the Orientalist crouching
tiger, takes over, all his sermons about objectivity forgotten, and then
he does not shrink from displaying his sneering contempt for the Arabs
and Muslims more generally, his blind partisanship for Israel, or his
bristling hostility toward Iran. One recent example will suffice here.
In a PBS interview broadcast on 16 April 2002, hosted by Charlie Rose,
he offered this gem: "Asking Arafat to give up terrorism would be like
asking Tiger to give up golf." That is a statement whose malicious
intent and vindictive meanness might have been excusable if it came from
an official Israeli spokesman.

After this background check, do we really want to hear from this "sage"
about "what went wrong" with Islamic societies; why, after nearly a
thousand years of expansive power and world leadership in many branches
of the arts and sciences, they began to lose their &eacute;lan, their
military advantage, and their creativity and, starting in the nineteenth
century, capitulated to their historical adversary, the West? And,
though Islamic societies have regained their political independence, why
has their economic and cultural decline proved so difficult to reverse?
Yet, although our stomachs turn at the prospect, we must sample the
gruel Lewis offers, taste it, and analyze it, if only to identify the
toxins that it contains and that have poisoned far too many Western
minds for more than fifty years.

Where is the Context?

What went wrong with the Islamic societies? When this question is asked
by our "doyen of Middle Eastern studies," especially when it is asked
right after the attacks of 11 September, it is hard not to notice that
this manner of framing the problem of the eclipse of Islamic societies
by the West is loaded with biases, value judgments, and preconceptions,
and even contains its own answer. There are two sets of "wrongs" in
<I>What Went Wrong</I>? The first consists of "wrongs," deviations from
what is just and good, that we confront in contemporary Islamic
societies. Lewis undoubtedly has in mind a whole slew of problems,
including the political, economic, and cultural failings of the Islamic
world. In addition, this question seeks to discover deeper "wrongs,"
deviations from what is just and good that are prior to and at the root
of the present "wrongs." Lewis is concerned primarily with this second
set of "wrongs."

The first problem one encounters in Lewis's narrative of Middle Eastern
decline is the absence of any context. He seeks to create the impression
that the failure of Islam to catch up with the accelerating pace of
changes in Western Europe is a problem specific to this region; there is
no attempt to locate this problem in a global context. This exclusive
Middle Eastern focus reveals to all but the blinkered the <I>mala
fides</I> of <I>What Went Wrong?</I> Lewis cannot hide behind pious
claims that a historian's "loyalties may well influence his choice of
subject of research; they should not influence his treatment of it." His
exclusive focus on the decline of the Middle East is not legitimate
precisely because it is designed to-and it unavoidably must-"influence
his treatment of it."

Once Western Europe began to make the transition from a feudal-agrarian
to a capitalist-industrial society, starting in the sixteenth century,
the millennial balance of power among the world's major civilizations
shifted inexorably in favor of Western Europe. A society that was
shifting to a capitalist-industrial base, capable of cumulative growth,
commanded greater social power than slow-growing societies still
operating on feudal-agrarian foundations. Under the circumstances, it
was unlikely that non-Western societies could simultaneously alter the
foundations of their societies while also fending off attacks from
Western states whose social power was expanding at an ever-increasing
rate. Even as these feudal-agrarian societies sought to reorganize their
economies and institutions, Western onslaughts against them deepened,
and this made their reorganization increasingly difficult. It is
scarcely surprising that the growing asymmetry between the two sides
eventually led to the eclipse, decline, or subjugation of nearly
<I>all</I> non-Western societies.

While Lewis studiously avoids any reference to this disequalizing
dynamic, another Western historian of Islam not driven by a compulsion
"to debunk, to whittle down, and to discredit the Arabs and Islam"
understood this tendency quite well. I am referring here to Marshall
Hodgson, whose <I>The Venture of Islam</I> shows a deep and, for its
time, rare understanding of the interconnectedness, across space and
time, amongst all societies in the Eastern hemisphere. He understood
very clearly that the epochal changes under way in parts of Western
Europe between 1600 and 1800 were creating an altogether new order based
on markets, capital accumulation, and technological changes, which acted
upon each other to produce cumulative growth. Moreover, this endowed the
most powerful Western states with a degree of social power that no one
could resist. In his <I>Venture of Islam</I>, Marshall Hodgson writes,

<BLOCKQUOTE> Hence, the Western Transmutation, once it got well under
way, could neither be paralleled independently nor be borrowed
wholesale. Yet it could not, in most cases, be escaped. The millennial
parity of social power broke down, with results that were disastrous

Clearly, Lewis's presentation of his narrative of Middle Eastern decline
without any context is a ploy. His objective is to whittle down world
history, to reduce it to a primordial contest between two historical
adversaries, the West and Islam. This is historiography in the crusading
mode, one that purports to resume the Crusades-interrupted in the
thirteenth century-and carry them to their unfinished conclusion, the
triumph of the West or, conversely, the humiliation and defeat of Middle
Eastern Islam. Once this framework has been established, with its
exclusive focus on a failing Islamic civilization, it is quite easy to
cast the narrative of this decay as a uniquely Islamic phenomenon, which
must then be explained in terms of specifically Islamic failures. Thus
Lewis's agenda in <I>What Went Wrong?</I> is to discover all that was
and is "wrong" with Islamic societies and to explain their decline and
present troubles in terms of these "wrongs."

If Lewis had an interest in exploring the decline of the Middle East, he
would be asking why the new, more dynamic historical system that lay
behind the rise of the West had not emerged in the Middle East, India,
China, Italy, or Africa. If he had asked this question, it may have
directed him to the source and origins of Western hegemony. But Lewis
ducks this issue altogether. Instead, he takes the growing power of the
West-its advances in science and technology-as the starting point of his
narrative and concentrates on demonstrating why the efforts of Islamic
societies to catch up with the West were both too little and too late.
In other words, he seeks to explain a generic phenomenon-the overthrow
of agrarian societies before the rise of a new historical system, based
on capital, markets, and technological change-as one that is specific to
Islam and is due to specifically Islamic "wrongs."

If one focuses only on the Middle Eastern response to the Western
challenge, it does appear to be too little and too late. The Ottoman
Empire, once the most powerful in the Islamic world, had lost nearly all
its European territories by the end of the nineteenth century, and the
remnants of its Arab territories were lost after its defeat in the First
World War. At this point, the Ottoman Empire had been reduced to a rump
state in northern Anatolia, with the British and French occupying
Istanbul, the Greeks pushing to occupy central Anatolia, the Armenians
extending their boundaries in eastern Anatolia, and the French pushing
north in Silesia. Yet, after defeating the Greeks, the French, and the
Armenians, the victorious Turks managed to establish in 1922 a new and
modern Turkish nation-state over Istanbul, Thrace, and all of Anatolia.
The Iranians were more successful in preserving their territories,
though, like the Ottomans, they too had lost control over their economic
policies in the first decades of the nineteenth century. However, if one
compares these outcomes with the fate suffered by other regions-barring
Japan, China, and Thailand, nearly all of Asia and Africa was directly
colonized by the Europeans-one has to conclude that the results for the
Middle East could have been worse.

Uncurious Ottomans

There is even less substance to Lewis's claims about Middle Eastern
inertia in the face of Western threats, especially when we compare their
responses to these threats with the record of East Asian societies.

First, consider Lewis's charge that the Muslims showed little curiosity
about the West. He attributes this failing to Muslim bigotry that
frowned upon contacts with the infidels. This is a curious charge
against "a world civilization" that Lewis admits was "polyethnic,
multiracial, international, one might even say intercontinental." It
also seems strange that the Ottomans, and other Middle Eastern states
before them, were quite happy to employ their Christian and Jewish
subjects-as high officials, diplomats, physicians, and bankers-traded
with the Europeans themselves, bought arms and borrowed money from them,
and yet, somehow, loathed learning anything from the same infidels. In
addition, Muslim philosophers, historians and travelers have left
several very valuable accounts of non-Islamic societies. One of these,
Al-Biruni's monumental study of India, still remains without a rival for
its encyclopedic coverage, objectivity, and sympathy for its subject.
Clearly, Lewis has fallen prey to the Orientalist temptation: when
something demands a carefully researched explanation, an understanding
of material and social conditions, better pin it on some cultural

Lewis is little aware how his book is littered with contradictions. If
the Muslims were not a little curious about developments in the West, it
is odd that the oldest map of the Americas-which dates from 1513 and is
the most accurate map from the sixteenth century-was prepared by Piri
Reis, a Turkish admiral and cartographer. It would also appear that the
number of Muslims who had left accounts of their observations on Europe
were not such a rarity either. Lewis himself mentions no fewer than ten
names, nearly all of them Ottomans, spanning the period from 1665 to
1840; and this is far an from exhaustive list. One of them, Ratib
Effendi, who was in Vienna from 1791 to 1792, left a report that "ran to
245 manuscript folios, ten times or more than ten times those of his
predecessors, and it goes into immense detail, primarily on military
matters, but also, to quite a considerable extent, on civil affairs."
Diplomatic contacts provide another indicator of the early growth of
Ottoman interest and involvement in the affairs of European states.
Between 1703 and 1774, the Ottomans signed sixty-eight treaties or
agreements with sovereign, mostly European states. Since each treaty
must have involved at least one diplomatic exchange, the Ottomans could
hardly be accused of neglecting diplomatic contacts with Europe.

According to Lewis, the Ottoman decision not to challenge the Portuguese
hegemony in the Indian Ocean in the sixteenth century was a failure of
vision. Despite some early warnings from elder statesmen, the Ottomans
did not anticipate that the Portuguese incursion would translate some
250 years later into a broader and more serious European challenge to
their power. As a result, they chose to concentrate their war efforts on
acquiring territory in Europe, which, Lewis claims, they saw as "the
principal battleground between Islam and Europe, the rival faiths
competing for enlightenment-and mastery-of the world." It is of no
interest to Lewis that the Ottomans, departing from their own tradition
of land warfare, had built a powerful navy starting in the fifteenth
century and created a seaborne empire in the eastern Mediterranean, the
Black Sea, and the Red Sea. If the Ottomans chose to concentrate their
resources on land wars in Central Europe rather than challenge
Portuguese hegemony in the Indian Ocean, this was not the result of
religious zealotry. It reflected the balance of class interests in the
Ottoman political structure. In an empire that had traditionally been
land-based, the interests of the landowning classes prevailed against
commercial interests that looked to the Indian Ocean for their
livelihood. Although the decision not to contest the Portuguese presence
in the Indian Ocean in the sixteenth century was fateful, that policy
was rational for the Ottomans.

A Military Decline?

Several Orientalists-Lewis amongst them-have argued that the military
decline of the Ottoman Empire became irreversible after its second
failed siege of Vienna in 1683, or perhaps earlier, after its naval
defeat at Lepanto in 1571. In an earlier work, <I>The Muslim Discovery
of Europe</I>, Lewis declared that "[t]he Ottomans found it more and
more difficult to keep up with the rapidly advancing Western
technological innovations, and in the course of the eighteenth century
the Ottoman Empire, itself far ahead of the Islamic world, fell
decisively behind Europe in virtually all arts of war."

This thesis of an early and inexorable decline has now been convincingly
questioned. Jonathan Grant has shown that the Ottomans occupied the
third tier in the hierarchy of military technology, behind innovators
and exporters, at the beginning of the fifteenth century; they could
reproduce the latest military technology with the help of foreign
expertise but they never graduated into export or introduced any
significant innovations. The Ottomans succeeded in maintaining this
relative position, through two waves of technology diffusion, until the
early nineteenth century. However, they failed to keep up with the third
wave of technology diffusion, based upon the technology of the
industrial revolution, that began in the mid-nineteenth century. The
Ottomans fell below their third-tier status only toward the end of the
nineteenth century, when they became totally dependent on imported

If we put together the evidence made available by Lewis, it becomes
clear that the Ottomans were not slow in recognizing the institutional
superiority enjoyed by Europe's military. A debate about the causes of
Ottoman weakness began after the Treaty of Carlowitz in 1699, growing
more intense over time. A document from the early seventeenth century
recognized that "it was no longer sufficient, as in the past, to adopt
Western weapons. It was also necessary to adopt Western training,
structures, and tactics for their effective use." The Ottomans began to
dispatch special envoys to European capitals "with instructions to
observe and to learn and, more particularly, to report on anything that
might be useful to the Muslim state in coping with its difficulties and
confronting its enemies." Several of these envoys wrote reports,
occasionally quite extensive and detailed, on their European visits, and
these reports had an important impact on thinking in Ottoman circles.
The first mathematical school for the military was founded in 1734, and
a second one followed in the 1770s.

While Ottoman military technology generally kept pace with the advances
in Europe, at least into the first decades of the nineteenth century, it
took the Ottomans longer to introduce organizational changes in the
military since they ran into powerful social obstacles. As a result, the
first serious attempts at modernizing the army did not begin until the
late eighteenth century, during the reign of Selim III, who sought to
bypass the problems of reforming the existing military corps by
recruiting and training a new European-style army. Although, by 1806, he
had raised a modern army of nearly twenty-five thousand, he had to
abandon his efforts in the face of resistance from the ulama and a
Janissary rebellion. The task of modernizing the Ottoman army was taken
up again in 1826 after the Janissary corps was disbanded, and in two
years, the new Ottoman army included seventy-five thousand regular
troops. Simultaneously, the Ottomans introduced reforms in the
bureaucracy and also reformed land-tenure policies with the objective of
raising revenues.

And yet these efforts at modernizing the Ottoman military-quite early by
most standards-failed to avert the progressive fragmentation and
eventual demise of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I. One
might join Hodgson in thinking that this was inevitable, that agrarian
societies in Asia and Africa could not modernize fast enough in the face
of the ever increasing economic and military power of the modern Western
nation-states. But, perhaps, this assessment is too fatalistic; and it
is contradicted by the case of-among others-Russia, which was spared
colonization or subjection to open-door treaties. A comparison of the
two quickly reveals that the Ottomans' efforts at modernization were
undermined by several extraneous factors. The Ottoman Empire, which
straddled three continents, lacked the compactness that might have made
its territories more defensible. What proved more fatal to the Ottoman
Empire was the fact that the Ottoman Turks, though they constituted its
ethnic core, made up less than a third of its population and occupied an
even smaller part of its territories. Once nationalism reared its head
in the nineteenth century, the fragmentation of the Ottoman Empire was
well-nigh unavoidable. The Ottomans faced one insurrection after another
in the Balkans, each backed by some European power, until the last of
these territories had broken free in the early decades of the twentieth
century. Not only did these insurrections reduce the revenues of the
empire, but by diverting its attention and resources to war, they
delayed the modernization of the military and economy. Eventually,
during World War I, the Arab territories of the empire were wrested away
by the British and French, with support from Arab nationalists.

The Egyptian program to modernize its military, started in 1815 under
the leadership of Muhammad Ali, was more ambitious and more successful.
It was part of an integrated program of modernization and industrial
development financed through state ownership of lands, development of
new export crops, and state-owned monopolies over the marketing of the
major agricultural products. In 1831, Egypt's Europeanized army
consisted of one hundred thousand officers and men, and in 1833, having
conquered Syria, it was penetrating deep into Anatolia when its march
was halted by Russian naval intervention. When the Ottomans resumed the
Syrian war in 1839, the Egyptians routed the Ottoman forces and were
rapidly marching westward, poised to capture Istanbul for Muhammad Ali.
At this point, all the great European powers, except France, intervened,
forcing the Egyptians to withdraw, give up their acquisitions in Syria
and Arabia, reduce their military force to eighteen thousand, and
enforce the Anglo-Ottoman Commercial Convention, which required the
lowering of tariffs to 3 percent and the dismantling of all state
monopolies. By depriving Egypt of its revenues and dramatically reducing
the military's demand for its manufactures, these measures abruptly
terminated the career of the earliest and most ambitious program to
build a modern, industrial society in the Periphery.

Lewis faults the Ottomans and Egyptians of the nineteenth century for
seeking to build an effective military response on the foundations of a
modern industrial economy. He thinks it odd that these countries "tried
to catch up with Europe by building factories, principally to equip and
clothe their armies." Apparently, Lewis is unaware that the Ottomans-and
especially Egypt-were breaking new ground in their efforts to modernize
their manufactures, a road that would soon be taken by most European
countries. Nearly every country that lagged behind in the nineteenth
century and was forced to catch up with Britain, built its strategy
around industrialization, and the military in many of these countries
formed an important initial market for their nascent industries. Of
course, Lewis had no choice but to demean the military and industrial
responses to the Western threat. As we will see, he believes that the
Ottomans should have been working harder to remedy their cultural
deficiencies, such as their less-than-enthusiastic appreciation for
European harmonies.

Industrial Failure-But Why?

Lewis declares that the industrialization programs launched by the
Ottomans and Egypt "failed, and most of the early factories became
derelict." These programs were doomed from the outset because their
promoters lacked a proper regard for time, measurement, harmonies,
secularism, and women's rights-values upon which Western industrial
success was founded.

We must correct these jaundiced observations. Far from being a failure,
the Egyptian "program of industrialization and military expansion,"
according to Immanuel Wallerstein (<I>Unthinking Social Science</I>),
"seriously undermined the Ottoman Empire and almost established a
powerful state in the Middle East capable eventually of playing a major
role in the interstate system." Muhammad Ali's fiscal and economic
reforms, between 1805 and 1847, brought about a more than ninefold
increase in government revenues. At their height in the 1830s, Egypt's
state monopolies had made investments worth $12 million and employed
thirty thousand workers in a broad range of industries that included
foundries, textiles, paper, chemicals, shipyards, glassware, and
arsenals. By the early 1830s, Egyptian arsenals and naval yards had
acquired the ability to "produce appreciable amounts of warships, guns
and munitions," elevating Egypt "to a major regional power." Naturally,
these developments in Egypt were raising concerns in British government
circles. A report submitted to the British foreign office in 1837
sounded the right note: "A manufacturing country Egypt never can
become-or at least for ages." Three years later, when Istanbul was
within the grasp of Muhammad Ali's forces, a coalition of European
powers intervened to roll back his gains, downsize his military, and
dismantle his state monopolies. These measures successfully reversed the
Periphery's first industrial revolution.

The Ottomans launched an ambitious program of industrialization in the
early 1840s, but it had little chance of success and was abandoned
within a few years of its inauguration. Since the early nineteenth
century, the unequal treaties limited the Ottomans to import tariffs
under 3 percent, severely limiting their ability to protect their
manufactures or raise revenues for investments in development projects.
In 1838, the Anglo-Turkish Commercial Convention forced them to
dismantle all state monopolies, dealing another blow to their fiscal
autonomy. It speaks to the determination of the Ottomans that they
sought to launch an industrial revolution despite their adverse fiscal
circumstances. In the decade starting in 1841, the Ottomans had set up,
to the west of Istanbul, a complex of state-owned industries that
included spinning and weaving mills, a foundry, steam-operated machine
works, and a boatyard for the construction of small steamships. In the
words of Edward Clark (<I>International Journal of Middle Eastern
Studies</I>, 1974): "In variety as well as in number, in planning, in
investment, and in attention given to internal sources of raw materials
these manufacturing enterprises far surpassed the scope of all previous
efforts and mark this period as unique in Ottoman history." Several
foreign observers saw in the Istanbul industrial complex the potential
to evolve into "a Turkish Manchester and Leeds, a Turkish Birmingham and
Sheffield," all wrapped in one. In addition, other modern industrial,
mining, and agricultural projects were initiated during the same period
in several other parts of the Ottoman Empire. But these grand projects
could not be sustained for long. Once the Crimean War started, the
Ottomans were forced to borrow heavily from foreign banks, and, strapped
for funds, they abandoned most of these industrial projects. Thus ended
another bold experiment in industrialization, early even by European
standards, but whose failure was linked to the loss of Ottoman fiscal

It's in Their Culture

The real culprit behind the political, economic, and military failures
of the Middle East over the past half a millennium was their culture.
Lewis identifies a whole slew of problematic cultural traits, but two
are singled out for special attention: the mixing of religion and
politics and the unequal treatment of women, unbelievers, and slaves.
Both, according to Lewis, are Islamic flaws.

Lewis argues that secularism constitutes a great divide between Islam
and the West: the West always had it and Islamic societies never did.
Secularism, as the separation of church and state, "is, in a profound
sense, Christian." Its origins go back to Jesus-his injunction to give
God <I>and</I> Caesar, each, their due-and to the early history of the
Christians when, as a minority persecuted by the Roman state, they
developed the institutions of the Church with its "own laws and courts,
its own hierarchy and chain of authority." This was quite unique,
setting Europe apart from anything that went before and from its
competitors. In particular, the Muslims never created an "institution
corresponding to, or even remotely resembling, the Church in

These claims about a secular Christendom-an oxymoron in itself-and a
theocratic Islam are problematic. Lewis rests his case upon two
propositions. First, he contrasts the presence of the Church in
Christendom against its absence in Islamic societies. Second, he works
on the presumption that the existence of a Church, a hierarchical
religious organization different from the state, necessarily implies a
separation between religion and political authority. For the most part,
these claims are contestable.

The existence of a Church in Christendom is not in dispute, but the
contention that there existed nothing like it in Islamic societies is
contradicted by history. The Prophet and the first four Caliphs combined
religious and mundane authority in their persons. In addition, most
Islamic thinkers have maintained that the ideal Islamic state, modeled
after the state in Medina, must be guided by the Qur'an and the
Prophet's Sunnah. The Islamic practice in the centuries following the
pious Caliphs, however, departed quite sharply from the canonical model
as well as the theory.

In one of his numerous attempts at distortion, Lewis asserts that the
"pietists" retreated into "radical opposition or quietist withdrawal"
when they failed to impose "ecclesiastical constraints on political and
military authority." This is only part of the picture. In the bigger
picture, we find that the pietists turned vigorously to scholarship.
Starting from a scratch, and independently of state authority and
without state funding, the early pietists developed the Islamic
sciences, which included the Traditions of the Prophet, biographies of
the Prophet and his companions, Arabic grammar, and theology. Most
significantly, these pious scholars elaborated several competing systems
of Islamic laws-regulating every aspect of individual, social, and
business life-on the premise that legislative authority was vested in
the consensus of the pious scholars-or, in the case of Shi'ites, in the
rulings of the imams. The state had executive powers but it possessed no
legislative authority. In effect, Islam had evolved not only separate
political and religious institutions, but separate executive and
legislative powers as well. It was the pious scholars-with their
competing schools of jurisprudence-who constituted the informal
legislatures of Islam, long before these institutions had evolved in

Lewis's second proposition-that separation between religion and
political authority flows from the presence of a Church-is equally
dubious. There can be no separation between religion and political
authority if religion is organized into a Church with power over the
lives of people. If the Church itself commands power, ipso facto, it
becomes a rival of the state. It follows that the Church can and will
exercise its power directly to regulate the religious, economic, and
social affairs of the community, and indirectly by using the state for
its own ends. Once Christianity became the official religion of the
Roman state, the Church progressively increased its power: it used the
power of the state to eliminate or marginalize all competing religions;
it gained the exclusive right to define all religious dogma and rituals;
it acquired properties, privileges, and exclusive control over
education; it expanded its legislative control over different spheres of
society. In time, since the Church and state recruited their higher
personnel from the same classes, they also developed an identity of
class interests. In other words, although they remained organizationally
distinct, the Church and the state mixed religion and politics.

One expects that a separation of religion and political authority would
produce a measure of tolerance. Yet, the adoption of Christianity as its
official creed led the Roman state, hitherto tolerant of all religious
communities, to inaugurate a regime of growing intolerance toward other
religions, and even toward any dissent within Christianity. As Daniel
Schowalter (<I>Oxford History of the Biblical World</I>) says, "By the
end of the fourth century, both anti-pagan and anti-Jewish legislation
would serve as licenses for the increasing number of acts of vandalism
and violent destruction directed against pagan and Jewish places of
worship carried out by Christian mobs, often at the instigation of the
local clergy." Although the practice of Judaism was not banned, by the
end of the fourth century C.E., a variety of decrees prohibited
conversion to Judaism, Jewish ownership of non-Jewish slaves, and
marriage between Jews and Christians, and Jews were excluded from most
imperial offices. In dogma, theology, legislation, and practice, the
Church and state crafted a regime that suppressed paganism and
marginalized all other non-Christian forms of worship.

According to Lewis, modernization in Islamic societies was set back by a
second set of cultural barriers-namely, the inferior status of
unbelievers, slaves, and, especially, women. It is not that these groups
labored under stricter restraints than their counterparts in Europe, but
that their unequal status was "sacrosanct" in that they "were seen as
part of the structure of Islam, buttressed by revelation, by the precept
and practice of the Prophet, and by the classical and scriptural history
of the Islamic community." As a result, these three inequalities have
endured; they were not challenged even by the radical Islamic movements
that arose from time to time to protest social and economic

Lewis's claims are problematic for several reasons. The first problem is
their lack of historicity. Implicitly, Lewis bases his case on a reading
of European history that inverts causation between economic development
and social equality. He would have us believe that Europeans developed
because their flexible legal systems moved faster to create a more
egalitarian society, a necessary basis for rapid progress. This shows a
curious indifference to chronology. While Europe was establishing its
global capitalist empire it was conducting the Inquisition, expelling
the Moors and Jews from Spain, waging unending religious wars, burning
witches at the stake, and granted few legal rights to women. In
addition, they were creating in the Americas economic systems based on
slavery that would be abolished only after the 1860s. In Russia, serfdom
remained the basis of the economy at least until the 1860s. The equality
Lewis speaks of began to arrive in slow increments at the beginning of
the nineteenth century, and it was a byproduct of economic development,
not its precursor.

Lewis's claims about inequalities in Muslim societies lack historicity
on another score. It is a bit surprising that "the doyen of Middle
Eastern studies," who has spent more than fifty years studying the
history of the region, is unaware of at least a few challenges to the
alleged inferior status of women or unbelievers. In the early centuries
of Islam, there were at least three groups-the Kharijis, the Qarmatians
and the Sufis-that did not accept the legal interpretations of the four
traditional schools of Islamic law as sacrosanct. Instead, they looked
for inspiration to the Qur'anic precepts on the moral and spiritual
equality of men and women, claiming that the early applications of these
precepts were time-bound. The Kharijis and Qarmatians rejected
concubinage and child marriage, and the Qarmatians went further in
rejecting polygamy and the veil. In a similar spirit, the Sufis welcomed
women travelers on the spiritual path, permitting women "to give a
central place in their lives to their spiritual vocation." In
sixteenth-century India, the Mughal emperor Akbar abolished the
<I>jizyah</I> (the poll tax imposed by Islamic law on all non-Muslims),
banned child marriage, and repealed a law that forced Islam on prisoners
of war.

The "most profound single difference" between Islam and the West,
however, concerns the status of women. In particular, Lewis argues that
Islam permits polygamy and concubinage and that the Christian Churches
prohibit it. Once again, Lewis is exaggerating the differences. In
nearly all societies, not excluding the Western, men of wealth and power
have always had access to multiple sexual partners, although within
different legal frameworks. Islam gave equal rights to all the free
sexual partners of men as well as to their children. The West, driven by
a concern for primogeniture, adopted an opposite solution by vesting all
the rights in a man's primary sexual partner and her offspring. All the
other sexual partners-a man's mistresses-and their children had no legal
rights. Arguably, Europe's mistresses might think that the Islamic
practice favored women.

It would appear from Lewis's emphasis on polygamy and concubinage that
they were very common in Islamic societies. In fact, both were quite
rare outside the ruling class. Among others, this is attested by
European visitors to eighteenth-century Aleppo and nineteenth-century
Cairo. A study of documents relating to two thousands estates in
seventeenth-century Turkey could identify only twenty cases of polygamy.
Keeping concubines was most likely even rarer.

Lewis quotes from the reports of Muslim visitors who were startled to
see European men curtsying to women in public places; this is supposed
to validate the "striking contrasts" in women's status in Europe and
Islam. Once the bowing and curtsying are done, we need to compare the
property rights enjoyed by women in Europe and Islam, a quite reliable
index of the social power of women inside the household and outside. In
this matter, too, it is the Muslim women who had the advantage until
quite recently. Unlike her European counterpart, a married Muslim woman
could own property, and she enjoyed exclusive rights to income from her
property as well as the wages she earned. In Britain, the most advanced
country in Europe, married women did not acquire the right to own
property until 1882.

The ownership of property gave Muslim women a measure of social power
that was not available to women in Europe. A Muslim woman of independent
means had a stronger hand in marriage: she could initiate a divorce or
craft a marriage contract that prevented her husband from taking another
wife. Muslim women often engaged in trading activities, buying and
selling property, lending money, or renting out stores. They created
<I>waqfs</I>, charitable foundations financed by earnings from property,
which they also administered. A small number of women distinguished
themselves as scholars of the religious sciences. According to one
report from the early nineteenth century, women attended al-Azhar, the
leading university in the Islamic world. Ahmed concludes, on the basis
of such evidence, that Muslim "women were not, after all, the passive
creatures, wholly without material resources or legal rights, that the
Western world once imagined them to be."

What Went Wrong?

In an earlier era, before the Zionists developed a proprietary interest
in Palestine, the least bigoted voices in the field of Oriental studies
were often those of European Jews. Ironically, Lewis himself has written
that these pro-Islamic Jews "were among the first who attempted to
present Islam to European readers as Muslims themselves see it and to
stress, to recognize, and indeed sometimes to romanticize the merits and
achievements of Muslim civilization in its great days." At a time when
most Orientalists took Muhammad for a scheming imposter, equated Islam
with fanaticism, thought that the Qur'an was a crude and incoherent
text, and believed that the Arabs were incapable of abstract thought, a
growing number of Jewish scholars often took opposite positions. They
accepted the sincerity of Muhammad's mission, described Arabs as "Jews
on horseback" and Islam as an evolving faith that was more democratic
than other religions, and debunked Orientalist claims about a static
Islam and a dynamic West. It would appear that these Jews were
anti-Orientalists long before Edward Said.

These contrarian positions had a variety of motives behind them. Even as
the Jews began to enter the European mainstream, starting in the
nineteenth century, they were still outsiders, having only recently
emerged from the confinement of ghettos, and it would be scarcely
surprising if they were seeking to maintain their distinctiveness by
emphasizing and identifying with the achievements of another Semitic
people, the Arabs. In celebrating Arab civilization, these Jewish
scholars were perhaps sending a non-too-subtle message to the Europeans
that their civilization was not unique, that Arab achievements often
excelled theirs, and that Europeans were building upon Islamic
achievements in science and philosophy. In addition, Jewish scholars'
discussions of religious and racial tolerance in Islamic societies,
toward Jews in particular, may have offered hope that such tolerance was
attainable in Europe too. The discussions may also have been an
invitation to Europeans to incorporate religious and racial tolerance in
their standards of civilization.

Yet the vigor of this early anti-Orientalism of Jewish scholars would
not last; it would not survive the logic of the Zionist movement as it
sought to create a Jewish state in Palestine. Such a state could only
emerge as a child of Western imperialist powers, and it could only come
into existence by displacing the greater part of the Palestinian
population, by incorporating them into an apartheid state, or through
some combination of the two. In addition, once created, Israel could
only survive as a military, expansionist, and hegemonic state,
constantly at war with its neighbors. In other words, as the Zionist
project gathered momentum it was inevitable that the European Jews'
attraction for Islam was not going to endure. In fact, it would be
replaced by a bitter contest, one in which the Jews, as junior partners
of the imperialist powers, would seek to deepen the Orientalist project
in the service of Western power. Bernard Lewis played a leading part in
this Jewish reorientation. In the words of Martin Kramer, Bernard Lewis
"came to personify the post-war shift from a sympathetic to a critical

Ironically, this shift occurred when many Orientalists had begun to shed
their Christian prejudice against Islam, even making amends for the
excesses of their forebears. Another factor aiding this shift toward a
less polemical Orientalism was the entry of a growing number of Arabs,
both Muslim and Christian, into the field of Middle Eastern studies. The
most visible upshot of these divergent trends was a polarization of the
field of Middle Eastern studies into two opposing camps. One camp,
consisting mostly of Christians and Muslims, has sought to bring greater
objectivity to their study of Islam and Islamic societies. They make an
effort to locate Islamic societies in their historical context, arguing
that Islamic responses to Western challenges have been diverse and
evolving over time, and they do not derive from an innate hostility to
the West or some unchanging Islamic mindset. The second camp, now led
mostly by Jews, has reverted to Orientalism's original mission of
subordinating knowledge to Western power, now filtered through the prism
of Zionist interests. This Zionist Orientalism has assiduously sought to
paint Islam and Islamic societies as innately hostile to the West,
modernism, democracy, tolerance, scientific advance, and women's rights.

This Zionist camp has been led for more than fifty years by Bernard
Lewis, who has enjoyed an intimate relationship with power that would be
the envy of the most distinguished Orientalists of an earlier
generation. He has been strongly supported by a contingent of able
lieutenants, whose ranks have included the likes of Elie Kedourie, David
Pryce-Jones, Raphael Patai, Daniel Pipes, and Martin Kramer. There are
many foot soldiers, too, who have provided distinguished service to this
new Orientalism. And no compendium of these foot soldiers would be
complete without the names of Thomas Friedman, Martin Peretz, Norman
Podhoretz, Charles Krauthammer, William Kristol, and Judith Miller.

In my mind's eye, I try to visualize an encounter between this
distinguished crowd and some of their eminent predecessors, like
Hienrich Heine, Abraham Geiger, Gustav Weil, Franz Rosenthal, and the
great Ignaz Goldziher. What would these pro-Islamic Jews have to say to
their descendants, whose scholarship demeans and denigrates the
societies they study? Would Geiger and Goldziher embrace Lewis and
Kedourie, or would they be repelled by the latter's new brand of Zionist

M. Shahid Alam is Professor of Economics at Northeastern University. A
more complete version of this essay, with footnotes and references, has
appeared in <I>Studies in Contemporary Islam</I> 4 (2002), 1:51-78. He
may be reached at m.alam@neu.edu.

(4) Bernard Lewis Links

Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2003 00:40:53 -0800 From: "Paulene Robinson"

Bernard Lewis Links:


-ESSAY: King and Country (Bernard Lewis AND James Woolsey, October 29,
2003, Wall Street Journal)

-ESSAY: "I'm Right, You're Wrong, Go To Hell": Religions and the meeting
of civilization (Bernard Lewis, May 2003, Atlantic Monthly) -ESSAY:
Targeted by a History of Hatred: The United States is now the
unquestioned leader of the free world, also known as the infidels.
(Bernard Lewis, September 10, 2002, Washington Post) -ESSAY : Lunch with
the FT: Bernard Lewis (Michael Steinberger, August 9 2002, Financial

-ESSAY: Put the Iraqis in Charge: Why Iraq is proving much tougher than
Afghanistan. (BERNARD LEWIS, August 29, 2003, Wall Street Journal)

-PROFILE: Lewis of Arabia: A visit with America's greatest Middle East
sage. (TUNKU VARADARAJAN, September 23, 2003, Wall Street Journal)

-ESSAY: Fighting for the Soul of Islam (Jim Hoagland, July 13, 2003,

-REVIEW ESSAY: Bernard Lewis: Soft on Islam (Derek Copold, The Texas

Lewis (Jasper Griffin, The Spectator)
http://www.commentarymagazine.com/bk.warren.html-REVIEW: of Terror and
Liberalism by Paul Berman and The Crisis of Islam by Bernard Lewis
(David Warren, Commentary)

Book-related and General Links: -Bernard Lewis : Cleveland E. Dodge
Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Emeritus (Princeton University)


-BOOKNOTES : What Went Wrong?: Western Impact and Middle Eastern
Response by Bernard Lewis (C-SPAN, December 30, 2001 )

-ESSAY : What Went Wrong : By all standards of the modern worldóeconomic
development, literacy, scientific achievementóMuslim civilization, once
a mighty enterprise, has fallen low. Many in the Middle East blame a
variety of outside forces. But underlying much of the Muslim world's
travail may be a simple lack of freedom (Bernard Lewis, February 2002,
The Atlantic)

-ESSAY: Deconstructing Osama : Bin Laden is still popular in the Arab
world. Why? (BERNARD LEWIS, August 23, 2002, Wall Street Journal)

-ESSAY : THE REVOLT OF ISLAM : When did the conflict with the West
begin, and how could it end? (Bernard Lewis, The New Yorker, November
19, 2001)

-ESSAY : Did You Say 'American Imperialism'? : Power, weakness, and
choices in the Middle East.(Bernard Lewis, 12/17/01, National Review)

-ESSAY : Jihad vs. Crusade : A historian's guide to the new war.
(Bernard Lewis, September 27, 2001, Wall Street Journal)

-ESSAY : The Roots of Muslim Rage : Why so many Muslims deeply resent
the West, and why their bitterness will not easily be mollified.
(Bernard Lewis, Atlantic Monthly, September, 1990)

-ESSAY : Jihad vs. crusade: A historian's guide to the new war. (Bernard
Lewis, 9/26/01, Wall Street Journal)

-ESSAY : Islamic Revolution (Bernard Lewis, The New York Review of
Books, January 21, 1988)

-ESSAY : The Enemies of God (Bernard Lewis, The New York Review of
Books, March 25, 1993)

-ESSAY : Culture and Modernization in the Middle East (Bernard Lewis)

-ESSAY : State and Civil Society Under Islam (Bernard Lewis, New
Perspectives Quarterly)

-ESSAY : Iran in History (Bernard Lewis)

-EXCERPT : Chapter One of Bernard Lewis. Race and Slavery in the Middle

-REVIEW : of The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World. Edited
by John L. Esposito (Bernard Lewis, First Things)

-AUDIO INTERVIEW : What Went Wrong? : Scholar Portrays Islamic World as
Culture in Turmoil (Robert Siegel, 1/03/02, All Things Considered)

-AUDIO INTERVIEW : Bernard Lewis (Fresh Air, NPR)

-INTERVIEW : @random interview with Bernard Lewis (Random House)

-INTERVIEW : A Discussion with Bernard Lewis (Middle East Forum)

-INTERVIEW : Islam, Fundamentalism and Osama Bin Laden's Jihad : Q and A
with Bernard Lewis (Culture Kiosk)

-INTERVIEW : The Armenian Issue Revisited : There Was No Genocide:
Interview with Prof. Bernard Lewis (Dalia Karpel, 23/01/98, Haaretz)

-AUDIO INTERVIEW : Islam and the West: The Last Thousand Years (June 21,
2000, The Connection, NPR)

-DISCUSSION : The Multiple Identities of the Middle East By Bernard
Lewis (Assaf Moghadam, Middle East Forum)

-PROFILE : Affinity For Afghans (George F. Will, October 25, 2001)

-PROFILE : A Sage for the Age (Jay Tolson, 12/3/01, US News)

-PROFILE : Bernard Lewis : The Islam scholar U.S. politicians listen to
(Emily Yoffe, November 13, 2001, Slate)

-PROFILE : Bernard Lewis, unplugged : Professor Bernard Lewis, the great
historian of the Muslim world, talks about bin Laden, the Intifada, and
the new threat from Iran (Yaron London, Jewish Issues)

-PROFILE : British Svengali Behind Clash Of Civilizations (Scott
Thompson and Jeffrey Steinberg, November 30, 2001, Executive
Intelligence Review) (beware, they're Larouchees)

-ESSAY : The Methodology of Bernard Lewis in his approach to the
intellectual aspects of Islamic History. (Mazin S. Motabbagani, Imam
Muhammad ibn Saud University, College of Da wa at Madinah , Department
of Orientalism, 1994)

-ESSAY : The Clash of Ignorance (Edward Said, October 11, 2001, Media
Monitors Network)

-ESSAY : Clashing Metaphors: Post-Colonialist's Critique is Disingenuous
and False (DEREK COPOLD, November 15, 2001, Austin Review)

-The Bernard Lewis Trial


-ESSAY : Us vs. Them (Jameson Taylor, October 2001, Ashbrook.org)

-ESSAY : Radical Islam vs, Islam (David Forte, September 2001,

-ESSAY : It's the Regime, Not the Religion (David Forte, September 2001,

-ESSAY : Democracy and Islam : A new report highlights the lack of
freedom in the Islamic world. (Claudia Winkler, 12/18/2001, Weekly

-ESSAY : The New Imperialism (Pepe Escobar, Asia Times)

-ARCHIVES : Bernard Lewis (NY Review of Books)

-ARCHIVES : Bernard Lewsis (Foreign Affairs)

-ARCHIVES : "bernard lewis" (Find Articles)

-ARCHIVES : "bernard lewis" (Mag Portal)

-REVIEW : of What Went Wrong : Western Impact and Middle Eastern
Response by Bernard Lewis (SERGE SCHMEMANN, NY Times)

-REVIEW : of What Went Wrong (Paul Kennedy, NY Times Book Review)

-REVIEW : of What Went Wrong (Robert Irwin, Washington Post)

-REVIEW : of What Went Wrong (Carlin Romano, Philadelphia Inquirer)

-REVIEW : of What Went Wrong (FRITZ LANHAM, Houston Chronicle)

-REVIEW : of What Went Wrong (John J. Miller & Ramesh Ponnuru, National

-REVIEW : of What Went Wrong? (Stephen Schwartz, National Review)

-REVIEW : of The Multiple Identities of the Middle East by Bernard Lewis
(Geoffrey Wheatcroft, NY Times Book Review)

-REVIEW : of The Multiple Identities of the Middle East, by Bernard
Lewis (David Pryce-Jones, National Review)

-REVIEW : of The Multiple Identities of the Middle East by Bernard Lewis
(Efraim Karsh, Commentary Magazine)

-REVIEW : of The Middle East A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years. By
Bernard Lewis (Fouad Ajami, NY Times Book Review)

-REVIEW : of The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years
(Daniel Pipes, Wall Street Journal)

-REVIEW : of The Middle East (Heather E. Morse, National Strategy

-REVIEW : of The Middle East (Andrew Hammond, Middle East Times)

-REVIEW : The Middle East (John O. Voll, Historian)

-REVIEW : of Islam and the West by Bernard Lewis (Ross Mullin,

-REVIEW : of A Middle East Mosaic: Fragments of Life, Letters, and
History, by Bernard Lewis (Christopher Caldwell, National Review)

-REVIEW : of A Middle East Mosaic (Efraim Karsh, Commentary Magazine)

-REVIEW : of A Middle East Mosaic (Michael Widlanski, Jerusalem Post)

-REVIEW : of A Middle East Mosaic. Fragments of Life, Letters and
History, Bernard Lewis (Denys Johnson-Davies , Al-Ahram)

-REVIEW : of Semites and Anti-Semites by Bernard Lewis (Daniel Pipes,
The Wall Street Journal)

-REVIEW : of Cultures in Conflict: Christians, Muslims, and Jews in the
Age of Discovery. By Bernard Lewis (Robert Royal, First Things)

-REVIEW : of The Assassins by Bernard Lewis (Kevin Rushby, The Guardian)

-REVIEW : of The Jewish Discovery of Islam : Studies in Honor of Bernard
Lewis Edited by Martin Kramer (Daniel Pipes, Commentary Magazine)

-AWARD : The 1998 Ataturk International Peace Award has been presented
to Professor Bernard Lewis, an academic at Princeton University in the
United States


-BOOKNOTES : Author: Daniel Pipes Title: Conspiracy: How the Paranoid
Style Flourishes and Where It Comes From Air

Date: January 25, 1998 (C-SPAN) -ESSAY: Islam and Globalization:
Secularism, Religion, and Radicalism: Far from being incompatible with
it, Islam will have its place in the globalizing world. Islamic revival
is part of the world-wide religious resurgence that corrects the
secularist bias of European modernity. Globalization is a driving force
in this process. (Sean L. Yom, 4/2002, International Politics and
Society )

-ESSAY : How Islam Lost Its Way : Yesterday's Achievements Were Golden;
Today, Reason Has Been Eclipsed (Pervez Amir Ali Hoodbhoy, December 30,
2001, Washington Post)

-ESSAY : Occidentalism (Avishai Margalit, Ian Buruma, January 17, 2002,
The New York Review of Books)

-ESSAY : Inside the Islamic Reformation : A report on the currents that
are pulling the Islamic faith in new directions (Dale Eickelman, Wilson

-ESSAY : Crusading They Went : The deeds and misdeeds of our spiritual
kin (John Derbyshire, December 3, 2001, National Review)

-ESSAY : Where Ignorance Isn't Bliss : In need of a lesson (Robert
Conquest, October 1 2001, National Review)

-ESSAY : Fighting Islam's Ku Klux Klan : The Muslim world cannot forever
attribute all its ills to the Great Satan, America (Kanan Makiya,
October 7, 2001, The Observer)

anti-freedom ideas in Islam encourage terrorist fanaticism. (Edwin A.
Locke THE AYN RAND INSTITUTE October 3, 2001)

-ESSAY : Mullahs and Heretics (Tariq Ali, 7 February 2002, London Review
of Books)

-ESSAY : The Intellectual Mission of the Saracens : The author argues
that Islamic culture saved the wisdom of the ancients from extinction
during the middle ages. (Edward Hungerford, December 1886, The Atlantic)

-ESSAY : The difficult future of holy struggle (Jan 31st 2002 , The

-ESSAY : Enemies within, enemies without : Islam remains a tolerant
faith, despite its apparent new ferocity (Sep 20th 2001, The Economist)

-ESSAY : The next war, they say : Are Muslims and the people of the West
doomed to perpetual confrontation? Not if they both see that this is a
moment for change. (Brian Beedham, Aug 4th 1994 , The Economist)

-ESSAY : Atatürk s Ambiguous Legacy (Cengiz Çandar, Wilson Quarterly)

-ESSAY : The Rage of Islam : Our inability to understand terrorists and
their deep grudge against us is a serious problem (Dinesh D'Souza,
December 11, 2001, Red Herring)

-REVIEW ESSAY : Fundamentalism (Walter Laqueur, Partisan Review)

-ESSAY : Two Concepts of Secularism (Wilfred M. McClay, Wilson

-ESSAY : Why Export Democracy? (G. John Ikenberry , Wilson Quarterly)

-ESSAY : Democracy Inc. (Eric Bjornlund, Wilson Quarterly)

-ESSAY : Holy Pollers (Jonathan Zimmerman, November 2001, New Republic)

-ESSAY : A is for Arabs : From algebra and coffee to guitars, optics and
universities -- an alphabetical reminder of what the West owes to the
People of the Crescent Moon. (George Rafael, Jan. 8, 2002 |, Salon)

-ESSAY : Fatal Contact: The Western influence on Islamic radicals ( John
O'Sullivan, November 05 2001, National Review)

-ESSAY : The End of Islamic Ideology (Hamid Dabashi, June 22 2000,
Social Research)

-ESSAY : Islam a religion of peace? : The controversy reveals a struggle
for the soul of Islam. (James A. Beverley, January 7, 2002, Christianity

-ESSAY : Stranger in the Arab-Muslim World (Fouad Ajami , Wilson

-REVIEW : of Empires of the Sand: The Struggle for Mastery in the Middle
East, 1789-1923 by Efraim Karsh & Inari Karsh (Daniel Pipes, Commentary

(5) Bernard Lewis not to blame

Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2003 18:49:05 +1000 From: "John Craig"

This stuff from 'Executive Intelligence Review' seems a bit 'on the
nose'. It reflects the worst excesses of the post-modernist view that
the fact of describing (or trying to describe) a phenomenon is what
creates it. Lewis did not 'create' or malitiously / ignorantly describe
the potential for an extremist Islamism. There are a lot of sources
(which do not derive from Lewis) who say broadly compatible things (eg
about what is actually in the Koran - as compared with what is in the
civilised minds of most Muslims - about the use of violence to spread
Islam). And I have no trouble understanding the difficulties that Muslim
countries have in succeeding in the modern world and understanding
(based on seeing how the One Nation phenomenon emerged in Australia -
Queensland in particular) how this can lead to a perception of
victimisation, and a consequent extremist reaction. None of this can
legitimately be blamed on Lewis.

(6) Bernard Lewis interview (Jewsweek)

Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2003 08:21:54 -0800 From: "Paulene Robinson"

Here is a copy of the Bernard Lewis article from Jewsweek... the site
below has the complete article.

{The Jewsweek article was at http://www.jewsweek.com/israel/092.htm }

{Another copy is at the following URL}


Bernard Lewis Unplugged
by Yaron London

Professor Bernard Lewis, the great historian of the Muslim world, talks
about bin Laden, the Intifada, and the new threat from Iran.

Courtesy of www.jewsweek.com

Bernard Lewis, professor emeritus at Princeton University, is considered
by most of his colleagues as the greatest historian of the Muslim world
in our generation. He is Jewish, a native of London, in his 80s. Among
his many students are teachers and analysts who work in universities in
Israel and the Arab countries. His age hardly shows: he moves easily,
exhibits an ironic sense of humor, clearly conscious of his importance.
He travels a great deal. He frequently visits Israel as a guest of Tel
Aviv University, and he sometimes visits the neighboring countries too,
but he understandably refuses to talk about that. Government leaders
frequently consult with him and he has been in great demand during the
past year. The breadth of his knowledge and his decisive views are aimed
to assist the ones in power in the West to shape their policy towards
the Muslim world.

"The Patriarch of the Islamicists", as he is called in the American
press, stands out as a partisan of classic liberal values. He is often
attacked because he refuses to comply with the spirit of the times, in
which the voice of relativism is strong, which is cautious about judging
cultures from the point of view of western culture. In his best-known
debate, he faced Edward Said, the well-known Palestinian professor of
literature, in whose book "Orientalism" he condemns Lewis and scholars
like him. He charges that their studies are another means which the West
uses to strengthen its imperialistic rule.

One may assume that the following interview will harden his opponents
and hearten perplexed Israelis. Ariel Sharon can find in his words
encouragement for his position on the need for complete victory before
any gesture.


That would be correct.


To my great regret, I must confess I made a mistake.


Historically, the Palestinian leaders have consistently made the wrong
choice. It started with their refusing the terms of the Peel Commission
and their rejection of the UN Partition Plan. They made mistakes in
their choice of friends: during the Second World War they chose the
Nazis, during the Cold War they chose the Soviet Bloc and in the Gulf
War they joined with Saddam Hussein. Do they have an astonishing
instinct that pushes them to the verge of destruction? Indeed not. They
turned to the enemies of their enemies and this is natural. After the
collapse of the Soviet Bloc, they once again had no super power patron,
and after the Gulf War, even most of the Arab governments were disgusted
with them, particularly those that could offer them financial aid. Under
these circumstances, I thought the Rabin government was correct in
moving as it did, but it erred in its choice of its partner for the


Yes, the idea of bringing Arafat from Tunis was a mistake.


It's true that according to the resolution of the Arab League, the PLO
is the Palestinians' only representative organization. From this
distance in time it is hard for me to judge if it would have been better
to insist on finding an alternative to it, or perhaps there was no other


It's clear they were not professional diplomats and they did not have
much experience in conducting negotiations.


They forgot that is not just a matter of negotiations between leaders,
but between two differing civilizations. It is easy to slip and
interpret your adversary according to your worldview. I will give you an
example. I think that Israel was right to enter Lebanon, and I well
remember how its army was received as an army of liberation, with
flowers and music, but from the moment the job was completed, it was
necessary to withdraw from there. The late withdrawal, as it was
undertaken without agreement, with abandonment of friends and weaponry,
was interpreted by the Palestinians and the other Arabs as a sign of
weakness. From the experience of Hizbullah they derived that the
Israelis are soft, pampered, and if they are hit -- they will surrender.
These things have been said explicitly by the Palestinians.


Let me be precise: Muslim culture stands out in the generosity of its
victors. The victor does not push the face of the vanquished in the
dust, but the result of the struggle has to be clear to both sides. A
struggle that ends indecisively is an invitation for trouble. The
Ottomans provided us with many examples of this conduct: they crushed
rebels with a strong hand and an outstretched arm, but did not humiliate
the defeated, they showed generosity toward them and even helped them
rehabilitate themselves. If the one with the power does not exhaust his
ability to bring about such a victory, his conduct is interpreted as

Another example of differing interpretations of conduct is the is
significance of manners and customs: I visited Jordan some time after
the signing of the peace agreement on which the Jordanians bed much
hope, and I found the Jordanians agitated over the conduct of the
Israeli tourists which they saw as provocative and humiliating. It was
difficult for me to explain to them that Israelis behave that way even
to each other. The Israelis, who seem to be the least polite people in
the world, are not understood by the Arabs, who have the most
well-mannered culture in the world. It is not a matter of insignificant
etiquette, but of conduct that has a bearing on relations between the
peoples. The lack of courtesy of the Israeli solders at the checkpoints
has terrible repercussions and something needs to be done about this


There is tremendous importance in these differences. Look, the Christian
world and the Muslim world had friction with each other and fought
against each other on many fronts during the course of a millennium. At
the end of the 18th century the universities in the west had dozens of
departments for eastern studies and hundreds of translations of Arabic,
Persian, and Turkish works were printed. The western world longed to
know its historic adversary, but a share in this curiosity was not given
to the Muslim world. There they did not learn the languages of the West,
didn't take an interest in western history and thought and did not
translate much literature into Arabic. Things changed somewhat when the
power of the threat of the west became clear to them, but even now, if
you go into a book store in Israel, you will easily find translations
from Arabic literature and books about Arab and Muslim history. In
contrast, if you go into a bookstore in an Arab capital and look for
books on Israel, on Judaism and even on Christianity, practically all
you will find is propaganda. Curiosity about one's fellow is a striking
western phenomenon. In all the great cultures, except western culture,
the matter of one's fellow arises only in the presence of a threat."


It is definitely not permanent, but it is deeply rooted, more than many
people like to think. For example, many point to the fact that only 2 of
the 57 Muslim countries have semi democratic governments, but this does
not say that Muslims lack the ability to develop their own version of
democracy, that will not resemble any western democracy.


Turkey and Bangladesh. Turkey is a wonderful example, which proves that
it is very difficult to establish a liberal democracy in a culture with
an ancient autocratic tradition, but it also proves that it is not


I already told you that the withdrawal from Lebanon had a great
influence on the decision of the Palestinians to renew the armed
struggle. Israel is depicted as a country that resembles America and the
Americans, who fled from Vietnam and extracted themselves suddenly from
Lebanon and Somalia, proved by this conduct that they are pampered and
not adapted to absorb losses. Likewise the Israelis, who became rich and
got soft and pampered themselves. America and Israel are close friends
and the Palestinians took a page from the conduct of America in
analyzing the expected conduct of Israel.


In the whole Muslim world in our day a feeling of frustration and crisis
prevails. Everything is mixed up. For more than a thousand years the
Muslims became accustomed to the belief, justified in its time, that
they represented the most advanced part of the world, and that they are
the ones who set the standards in politics, economics and science. In
the new age the Muslims came to realize that their power had weakened
and that even adopting western technology wasn't any help. The western
ideas of socialism and capitalism did not halt the economic
deterioration, and then the belief arose that redemption was to be found
in adopting the western democratic brand of government. Most
unfortunately it was proven that the only western brand that succeeded
in taking root in the Muslim world was dictatorship, based on a single
party. Political independence did not give rise to freedom. The reaction
to these disappointments is resistance to any ideas imported from the
west and blaming the west for all the unhealthy evils that stemmed from
the failed attempt to imitate its culture.

Now there are two options: some feel that the failure stems from
abandonment of the earlier traditions, leaving behind the authentic
Islamic culture. The two main versions that have stemmed from this
feeling are Wahabi Fundamentalism which is disseminated by the Saudis,
and the Iranian-Shiite Fundamentalism. The other option, which adherents
to the modern hold, says that the failure stems from the Muslims having
adopted the shell of western culture and not its deep content, and
therefore it is necessary to introduce western values in their full
depth. In all of the Muslim world there are people who think that way,
but the dictatorships make it difficult for them to express their
opinions openly.


Of course. But here one must stress the importance of Arab oil. The
tremendous profits that the Saudis accumulated have enabled them to
develop a network of schools with many branches that cultivates Wahabi
Fundamentalism. It is possible that if not for the oil, this movement
would have remained an otherworldly phenomenon in a marginal country. In
general, the oil is the Arabs' disaster, because it enabled governments
to accumulate enormous wealth which strengthens their political and
military power and destroys democracy and freedom in the bud. It is no
accident that the only countries in which the beginnings of a civilian
society are growing are Morocco and Jordan which have no oil.


Both. Of course, the bond with Israel does not help America's
popularity, but the Mideast is not the only place in the world in which
they loathe this large wealthy empire. It is hated because it is so
successful and local figures exploit the resentment for their special
needs. For example, for Bin Laden the main problem is his country, Saudi
Arabia, which he wants to rid of the presence of infidels. He mentions
Israel, if at all, in the third place on his list of targets. In one of
his speeches he called it "a lowly little country", in other words not
something substantial or very important and in an interview he gave some
years ago he said that if the Americans leave Saudi Arabia he would be
prepared to sign a peace agreement. Israel is an easy target for
propagandists in the Arab world because attacking it does not endanger
them, while in some Arab countries they are looking for trouble if they
disseminate attacks against America. The propagandists know that in
America and Europe there is a willing ear for anti-Israel propaganda and
the reason is that directing an assault against Israel eases the burden
of the accusations that are spread on them in the west. This is where
the aggression towards Israel in the Sabra and Shatila affair comes
from, as compared with the leniency towards the deeds of Hafez Assad in
the city of Hama, or towards the chemical weapons attack on the Kurds in


People in the West are accustomed to ask "why don't they like us" and
the simple answer is that you can't be wealthy, strong and successful
and be liked, especially considering that for a few hundred years you
have won every battle. The correct question is: "why have they stopped
respecting you, or at least fearing you?" I mentioned earlier that men
like Bin Laden believed that the west was pampered and soft. I hope that
the war in Afghanistan changed this perception, because it proves that
the idea that America and the other western countries are soft is an
invention, and that they are afraid to fight when their civilization is
attacked. Now there are two possibilities: either the people in the
Muslim world, and particularly the Arabs, decide that in order to
establish a better society it is necessary to turn to the path of peace
and cooperation with the west, or they will believe that the defeat in
Afghanistan was a painful episode but they need to continue in the same
path. I hope that the first way will win, but I can't exclude the
possibility that the second idea will take hold.


The Iranian politicians who are depicted as moderates, are nothing but
makeup whose purpose is to enable the regime to continue acting as it
wants, but many signs indicate that the regime has become very
unpopular, and will be thrown out if an opportunity presents itself.
Here I want to mention a paradox: the masses in countries that declare
their opposition to America love America, while the masses in countries
whose governments support America, exhibit resentment towards America.
It is no accident that the terrorists who attacked the twin towers and
the Pentagon indeed came from Egypt and Saudi Arabia while in Tehran
there were large spontaneous, authentic demonstrations, in which people
expressed sorrow. It is clear that the hatred for America in Egypt and
Saudi Arabia stems, first and foremost, from the hatred for the corrupt
regimes there. The demonstrations for joy in Kabul will seem like
funeral processions compared to the demonstrations for joy that will
break out in Baghdad, Tehran and perhaps even Damascus, if the west
brought about the expulsion of the despotic inefficient regimes that
rule in these countries.

This article originally appeared in Hebrew in the Israeli newspaper
Yediot Achronot and was translated by Jonathan Silverman,
zalmanaron@msn.com. The translated version originally appeared on

This article can also be read at:

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Sorrows of Empire, by Chalmers Johnson

Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2003 17:57:39 -0500 From: "David Chiang"

Sorrows of Empire

By Chalmers Johnson


Chalmers Johnson is the president of the Japan Policy Research Institute
in California and author of Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of
American Empire. This essay is an excerpt from his forthcoming book The
Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (New
York: Metropolitan Books; and London: Verso).

"Although tyranny, because it needs no consent, may successfully rule
over foreign peoples, it can stay in power only if it destroys first of
all the national institutions of its own people." - Hannah Arendt, The
Origins of Totalitarianism

With the fall of Baghdad, America's dutiful Anglophone allies--the
British and Australians--are due for their just rewards: luncheons for
Blair and Howard with the Boy Emperor at his "ranch" in Crawford, Texas.
The Americans fielded an army of 255,000 in Iraq, the British 45,000,
and the Australians 2,000. It was not much of a war--merely confirming
the antiwar forces' contention that an unchallenged slaughter of Iraqis
and a Mongol-like sacking of an ancient city were not necessary to deal
with the menace of Saddam Hussein. But the war did leave the United
States and its two Sepoy nations much weaker than they had been before
the war--the Western democratic alliance was seemingly irretrievably
fractured; a potentiality for British leadership of the European Union
went up in smoke; Pentagon plans to make Iraq over into a client state
sundered on Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish realities; and "international
law," including the Charter of the United Nations, was grievously
weakened. Why the British and Australians went along with this fiasco
when they could so easily have stood for something other than might
makes right remains a mystery.

The United States has been inching toward imperialism and militarism for
many years. Disguising the direction they were taking, American leaders
cloaked their foreign policy in euphemisms such as "lone superpower,"
"indispensable nation," "reluctant sheriff," "humanitarian
intervention," and "globalization." However, with the advent of the
George Bush administration in 2001, these pretenses gave way to
assertions of the Second Coming of the Roman Empire. "American
imperialism used to be a fiction of the far-left imagination," writes
the English journalist Madeleine Bunting, "now it is an uncomfortable
fact of life."1

On March 19, 2003, the Bush administration took the imperial step of
invading Iraq, a sovereign nation one-twelfth the size of the U.S. in
terms of population and virtually undefended in the face of the awesome
array of weapons employed against it. The U.S. undertook its second war
with Iraq with no legal justification and worldwide protests against its
actions and motives, thereby bringing to an end the system of
international order that existed throughout the cold war and that traces
its roots back to seventeenth century doctrines of sovereignty,
non-intervention in the affairs of other states, and the illegitimacy of
aggressive war.

From the moment the United States assumed the permanent military
domination of the world, it was on its own--feared, hated, corrupt and
corrupting, maintaining "order" through state terrorism and bribery, and
given to megalomaniacal rhetoric and sophistries while virtually
inviting the rest of the world to combine against it. The U.S. had
mounted the Napoleonic tiger and could not get off. During the Watergate
scandal of the early 1970s, the president's chief of staff, H. R.
Haldeman, once reproved White House counsel, John Dean, for speaking too
frankly to Congress about the felonies President Nixon had ordered.
"John," he said, "once the toothpaste is out of the tube, it's hard to
get it back in." This homely metaphor by a former advertising executive
who was to spend 18 months in prison for his own role in Watergate
fairly accurately describes the situation of the United States.

The sorrows of empire are the inescapable consequences of the national
policies American elites chose after September 11, 2001. Militarism and
imperialism always bring with them sorrows. The ubiquitous symbol of the
Christian religion, the cross, is perhaps the world's most famous
reminder of the sorrows that accompanied the Roman Empire--it represents
the most atrocious death the Roman proconsuls could devise in order to
keep subordinate peoples in line. From Cato to Cicero, the slogan of
Roman leaders was "Let them hate us so long as they fear us."

Four sorrows, it seems to me, are certain to be visited on the United
States. Their cumulative effect guarantees that the U.S. will cease to
resemble the country outlined in the Constitution of 1787. First, there
will be a state of perpetual war, leading to more terrorism against
Americans wherever they may be and a spreading reliance on nuclear
weapons among smaller nations as they try to ward off the imperial
juggernaut. Second is a loss of democracy and Constitutional rights as
the presidency eclipses Congress and is itself transformed from a
co-equal "executive branch" of government into a military junta. Third
is the replacement of truth by propaganda, disinformation, and the
glorification of war, power, and the military legions. Lastly, there is
bankruptcy, as the United States pours its economic resources into ever
more grandiose military projects and shortchanges the education, health,
and safety of its citizens. All I have space for here is to touch
briefly on three of these: endless war, the loss of Constitutional
liberties, and financial ruin.

Allegedly in response to the attacks of al Qaeda on September 11, 2001,
President Bush declared that the United States would dominate the world
through absolute military superiority and wage preventive war against
any possible competitor. He began to enunciate this doctrine in his June
1, 2002, speech to the cadets of the U.S. Military Academy at West
Point, and spelled it out in his "National Security Strategy of the
United States" of September 20, 2002.

At West Point, the president said that the United States had a
unilateral right to overthrow any government in the world that it deemed
a threat to American security. He argued that the United States must be
prepared to wage the "war on terror" against as many as sixty countries
if weapons of mass destruction are to be kept out of terrorists' hands.
"We must take that battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans and confront
the worst threats before they emerge." Americans must be "ready for
pre-emptive action when necessary to defend our liberty and to defend
our lives ... . In the world we have entered, the only path to safety is
the path of action. And this nation will act." Although Bush did not
name every single one, his hit-list of sixty possible target countries
was an escalation over Vice President Dick Cheney, who in November 2001,
said that there were only "forty or fifty" countries that United States
wanted to attack after eliminating the al Qaeda terrorists in

At West Point, the president justified his proposed massive military
effort in terms of alleged universal values: "We will defend the peace
against threats from terrorists and tyrants. We will preserve the peace
by building good relations among the great powers. And we will extend
the peace by encouraging free and open societies on every continent." He
added an assertion that is demonstrably untrue but that in the mouth of
the president of the United States on an official occasion amounted to
the announcement of a crusade: "Moral truth is the same in every
culture, in every time, in every place."

In his National Security Strategy, he expanded on these goals to include
"America must stand firmly for the non-negotiable demands of human
dignity; the rule of law; limits on the absolute power of the state;
free speech; freedom of worship; equal justice; respect for women;
religious and ethnic tolerance; and respect for private property." In
the preamble to the strategy, he (or Condoleezza Rice, the probable
actual author) wrote that there is "a single sustainable model for
national success"--America's--that is "right and true for every person
in every society. ... The United States must defend liberty and justice
because these principles are right and true for all people everywhere."

The paradoxical effect of this grand strategy is that it may prove more
radically disruptive of world order than anything the terrorists of
September 11, 2001, could have hoped to achieve on their own. Through
its actions, the United States seems determined to bring about precisely
the threats that it says it is trying to prevent. Its apparent
acceptance of a "clash of civilizations"--wars to establish a moral
truth that is the same in every culture--sounds remarkably like a jihad,
even to its basis in Christian fundamentalism. Bush seems to equate
himself with Jesus Christ in his repeated statements (notably on
September 20, 2001) that those who are not with us are against us, which
duplicates Matthew chapter 12, verse 30, "He that is not with me is
against me."

Implementation of the National Security Strategy will be considerably
more problematic than its promulgation and contains numerous unintended
consequences. By mid-2003, the United States armed forces were already
seriously overstretched, and the U.S. government was going deeply into
debt to finance its war machine. The American budget dedicated to
international affairs allocates 93% to the military and only 7% to the
State Department, and does not have much flexibility left for further
military adventures.3 The Pentagon has deployed a quarter of a million
troops against Iraq, several thousand soldiers are engaged in daily
skirmishes in Afghanistan, countless Navy and Air Force crews are
manning strategic weapons in the waters off North Korea, a few thousand
Marines have been dispatched to the southern Philippines to fight a
century-old Islamic separatist movement, several hundred "advisers" are
participating in the early stages of a Vietnam-like insurgency in
Colombia and elsewhere in the Andean nations, and the U.S. currently
maintains a military presence in 140 of the 189 member countries of the
United Nations, including significant deployments in twenty-five. The
U.S. has military treaties or binding security arrangements with at
least thirty-six countries.4

Aside from the financial cost, there is another constraint. The American
people are totally unwilling to accept large numbers of American
casualties. In order to produce the "no-contact" or "painless dentistry"
approach to warfare, the Pentagon has committed itself to a massive and
very expensive effort to computerize battle.5 It has spent lavishly on
smart bombs, battlefield sensors, computer-guided munitions, and
extremely high performance aircraft and ships. The main reason for all
this gadgetry is to keep troops out of the line of fire.

Unfortunately, as the conflicts in both Afghanistan and Iraq have
demonstrated, ground troops follow in the wake of massive aerial bombing
and missile attacks. The first Iraq War produced four classes of
casualties--killed in action, wounded in action, killed in accidents
(including "friendly fire"), and injuries and illnesses that appeared
only after the end of hostilities. During 1990 and 1991, some 696,778
individuals served in the Persian Gulf as elements of Operation Desert
Shield and Operation Desert Storm. Of these 148 were killed in battle,
467 were wounded in action, and 145 were killed in accidents, producing
a total of 760 casualties, quite a low number given the scale of the

However, as of May 2002, the Veterans Administration (VA) reported that
an additional 8,306 soldiers had died and 159,705 were injured or ill as
a result of service-connected "exposures" suffered during the war. Even
more alarmingly, the VA revealed that 206,861 veterans, almost a third
of General Schwarzkopf's entire army, had filed claims for medical care,
compensation, and pension benefits based on injuries and illnesses
caused by combat in 1991. After reviewing the cases, the agency has
classified 168,011 applicants as "disabled veterans." In light of these
deaths and disabilities, the casualty rate for the first Gulf War is
actually a staggering 29.3%.

A significant probable factor in these deaths and disabilities is
depleted uranium (or DU) ammunition, although this is a hotly contested
proposition. Some researchers, often paid for by the Pentagon, argue
that depleted uranium could not possibly be the cause of these
war-related maladies and that a more likely explanation is dust and
debris from the blowing up of Saddam Hussein's chemical and biological
weapons factories in 1991, or perhaps a "cocktail" of particles from DU
ammunition, the destruction of nerve gas bunkers, and polluted air from
burning oil fields. But the evidence--including abnormal clusters of
childhood cancers and birth defects in Iraq and also in the areas of
Kosovo where the U.S. used depleted-uranium weapons in the 1999 air
war--points primarily toward DU. Moreover, simply by insisting on
employing such weaponry, the American military is deliberately flouting
a 1996 United Nations resolution that classifies DU ammunition as an
illegal weapon of mass destruction.

DU, or Uranium-238, is a waste product of power-generating
nuclear-reactors. It is used in projectiles like tank shells and cruise
missiles because it is 1.7 times denser than lead, burns as it flies,
and penetrates armor easily, but it breaks up and vaporizes on
impact--which makes it potentially very deadly. Each shell fired by an
American tank includes between three and ten pounds of DU. Such warheads
are essentially "dirty bombs," not very radioactive individually but
nonetheless suspected of being capable in quantity of causing serious
illnesses and birth defects.6

In 1991, U.S. forces fired a staggering 944,000 DU rounds in Kuwait and
Iraq. The Pentagon admits that it left behind at a bare minimum 320
metric tons of DU on the battlefield. One study of Gulf War veterans
showed that their children had a higher possibility of being born with
severe deformities, including missing eyes, blood infections,
respiratory problems, and fused fingers.

Aside from the damage done to our own troops and civilians by depleted
uranium, the United States military remains committed to the most
devastating forms of terror bombing, often without even a pretense of
precision targeting of militarily significant installations. This aspect
of current American military thinking can be found in the writing of
Harlan Ullman, a high-ranking Pentagon official and protégé of General
Colin Powell, who advocates that the United States attack its enemies in
the same way it defeated Japan in World War II. He writes, "Super tools
and weapons--information age equivalents of the atomic bomb--have to be
invented. As the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki finally
convinced the Japanese Emperor and High Command that even suicidal
resistance was futile, these tools must be directed toward a similar
outcome." Ullman is the author of the idea is that the U.S. should
"deter and overpower an adversary through the adversary's perception and
fear of his vulnerability and our own invincibility." He calls this
"rapid dominance" or "shock and awe." He once suggested that it might be
a good idea to use electromagnetic waves to attack peoples' neurological
systems and scare them to death.7

The United States government has other ways to implement its new world
strategy without getting its hands dirty, including what it and its
Israeli allies call "targeted killings." During February, 2003, the Bush
administration sought the Israeli government's counsel on how to create
a legal justification for the assassination of terrorism suspects. In
his 2003 State of the Union speech, President Bush said that terrorism
suspects who were not caught and brought to trial have been "otherwise
dealt with" and observed that "more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have
been arrested in many countries, and many others have met a different
fate. Let's put it this way: they are no longer a problem to the United
States and our friends and allies."8

High-tech warfare invites the kind of creative judo the terrorists of al
Qaeda utilized on September 11. Employing domestic American airliners as
their weapons of mass destruction, they took a deadly toll of innocent
American bystanders. The U.S. worries that they might acquire or be
given fissionable material by a "rogue state," but the much more likely
source is via theft from the huge nuclear stockpiles of the United
States and Russia. The weapons-grade anthrax used in the September 2001
terrorist attacks in the United States almost certainly came from the
Pentagon's own biological stockpile, not from some poverty stricken
Third World country. The U.S. government has probably solved the case
but is too embarrassed by it actually to apprehend those responsible and
bring them publicly before a court of justice.9 Meanwhile, the emphasis
on using a professional military with its array of "people-zappers" will
only strengthen the identification between the United States and

If the likelihood of perpetual war hangs over the world, the situation
domestically in the United States is no better. Militarism and
imperialism threaten democratic government at home just as seriously as
they menace the independence and sovereignty of other countries. Whether
George Bush and his zealots can ever bring about a "regime change" in
Iraq or any other country is an open question, but there is no doubt
that they already have done so within the United States. In keeping with
the Roman pretensions of his administration, Bush often speaks as if he
were a modern Caligula (the Roman emperor who reigned from 37 to 41 AD
and who wanted to appoint his horse to the Senate). In the second
presidential debate on October 11, 2000, Bush said, "If this were a
dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the
dictator." A little more than a year later, he replied to a question by
the Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward, "I'm the commander--see, I
don't need to explain--I do not need to explain why I say things. That's
the interesting thing about being president. Maybe somebody needs to
explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe
anybody an explanation."10

Bush and his administration have worked zealously to expand the powers
of the presidency at the expense of the other branches of government.
Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution says explicitly that "The
Congress shall have the power to declare war." It prohibits the
president from making that decision. The most influential author of the
Constitution, James Madison, wrote in 1793, "In no part of the
Constitution is more wisdom to be found than in the clause which
confides the question of war or peace to the legislature, and not the
executive department. ... The trust and the temptation would be too
great for any one man."11 Yet, after September 11, 2001, President Bush
unilaterally declared that the nation was "at war" against terrorism,
and a White House spokesman later noted that the president "considers
any opposition to his policies to be no less than an act of treason."

During October 3 to 10, 2002, Congress's "week of shame," both houses
voted to give the president open-ended authority to wage war against
Iraq. It permitted the president to use any means, including military
force and nuclear weapons, in a preventive strike against Iraq as soon
and as long as he--and he alone--determined it to be "appropriate." The
vote was 296 to 33 in the House and 77 to 23 in the Senate. There was no
debate; the members were too politically cowed to address the issue
directly. Thus, for example, Sen. Pete Domenici (R-New Mexico) spoke on
the hundredth anniversary of the 4-H Club; Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Kentucky)
talked about the Future Farmers of America in his state; and Sen.
Barbara Boxer (D-California) gave Congress a brief history of the city
of Mountain View, California.12

Equally serious, the Bush administration arrogated to itself the power
unilaterally to judge whether an American citizen or a foreigner is part
of a terrorist organization and can therefore be stripped of all
Constitutional rights or rights under international law. President
Bush's government has imprisoned 664 individuals from forty-two
countries, including teenage children, at a concentration camp in
Guantánmo, Cuba, where they are beyond the reach of the Constitution. It
has also designated them "illegal combatants," a concept unknown in
international law, to place them beyond the Geneva Conventions on the
treatment of prisoners of war. None of them has been charged with
anything: they are merely captives.

The key cases here concern two native-born American citizens--Yasir Esam
Hamdi and Jose Padilla. Hamdi, age 22, was born in Baton Rouge,
Louisiana, but raised in Saudi Arabia. The Pentagon claimed he was
captured fighting for the Taliban in Afghanistan, although in a more
detailed submission it acknowledged that he surrendered to the Northern
Alliance forces, the warlords whom the U.S. had paid to fight on its
side, before he engaged in any form of combat. Padilla is a
Brooklyn-born American of Puerto Rican ancestry. He was arrested by
federal agents on May 8, 2002, at O'Hare Airport, Chicago, after he
arrived on a flight from Pakistan. He was held for a month without any
charges being filed or contact with an attorney or the outside world. On
the eve of his appearance in federal court in New York, he was hastily
transferred to a military prison in Charleston, South Carolina; and
President Bush designated him "a bad guy" and an "enemy combatant." No
charges were brought against him, and attempts to force the government
to make its case via writs of habeas corpus were routinely turned down
on grounds that the courts have no jurisdiction over a military

A year and a half after September 11, 2001, at least two articles of the
Bill of Rights were dead letters--the fourth prohibiting unwarranted
searches and seizures and the sixth guaranteeing a jury of peers, the
assistance of an attorney in offering a defense, the right to confront
one's accusers, protection against self-incrimination, and, most
critically, the requirement that the government spell out its charges
and make them public. The second half of Thomas Jefferson's old
warning--"When the government fears the people, there is liberty; when
the people fear the government, there is tyranny"--clearly applies.13

The final sorrow of empire is financial ruin. It is different from the
other three in that bankruptcy may not be as fatal to the American
Constitution as endless war, loss of liberty, and habitual official
lying; but it is the only sorrow that will certainly lead to a crisis.
The U.S. proved to be ready militarily for an Iraq war, maybe even a
North Korea war, and perhaps an Iran war, but it is unprepared
economically for even one of them, much less all three in short

The permanent military domination of the world is an expensive business.
During fiscal year 2003, the U.S.'s military appropriations bill, signed
on October 23, 2002, came to $354.8 billion. For fiscal year 2004, the
Department of Defense asked Congress for a 4.2% increase, to $380
billion. When the budget was presented, sycophantic Congressmen spent
most of their time asking the defense secretary if he was sure he did
not need even more money and suggesting big weapons projects that could
be built in their districts. They seemed to say that no matter how much
the U.S. spends on "defense," it will not be enough. The next largest
military spender is Russia, but its military budget is only 14% of the
U.S.'s total. To equal current U.S. expenditures, the military budgets
of the next twenty-seven highest spenders would have to be added
together. The American amounts do not include the intelligence budgets,
most of which are controlled by the Pentagon, nor do they include
expenditures for the Iraq war or the Pentagon's request for a special
$10 billion account to combat terrorism.

Estimates of the likely cost of the war vary widely. In 2002, President
Bush's first chief economic adviser, Lawrence Lindsey, guessed that
attacking Iraq--an economy somewhat smaller than that of
Louisiana's--would require around $140 billion, but this figure already
looks too small. In March 2003, the Bush administration said it would
need an additional amount somewhere between $60 billion and $95 billion
just to cover the build-up of troops in and around Iraq, the ships and
planes carrying them, their munitions and other supplies, and the fuel
they will consume. These figures did not include the costs of the
postwar occupation and reconstruction of the country. A high-level
Council on Foreign Relations study concluded that President Bush has
failed "to fully describe to Congress and the American people the
magnitude of the resources that will be required to meet the
post-conflict needs" of Iraq.14

The first Gulf war cost about $61 billion. However, American allies such
as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Germany, Japan, and
South Korea chipped in some $54.1 billion, about 80% of the total,
leaving the U.S.'s financial contribution a minuscule $7 billion. Japan
alone contributed $13 billion. Nothing like that will happen again.
Virtually the entire world is agreed that if the lone superpower wants
to go off in personal pursuit of a preventive war, it can pick up its
own tab. The problem is that the U.S. is becoming quite short on cash.
The budget for 2003 forecasts a $304 billion federal deficit, excluding
the costs of the Iraq war and shortfalls in the budgets of programs that
are guaranteed, backed, or sponsored by the U.S. government. Virtually
all of the U.S. states face severe fiscal shortages and are pleading
with the federal government for bailouts, particularly to pay for
congressionally mandated anti-terrorism and civil defense programs. The
Congressional Budget Office projects federal deficits over the next five
years of over $1 trillion, on top of an already existing government debt
in February 2003 of $6.4 trillion.

In my judgment, American imperialism and militarism are so far advanced
and obstacles to its further growth have been so completely neutralized
that the decline of the U.S. has already begun. The country is following
the path already taken by its erstwhile adversary in the cold war, the
former Soviet Union. The U.S.'s refusal to dismantle its own empire of
military bases when the menace of the Soviet Union disappeared, combined
with its inappropriate response to the blowback of September 11, 2001,
makes this decline virtually inevitable.

There is only one development that could conceivably stop this cancerous
process, and that is for the people to retake control of Congress,
reform it and the election laws to make it a genuine assembly of
democratic representatives, and cut off the supply of money to the
Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency. That was, after all, the
way the Vietnam War was finally brought to a halt.

John le Carré, the novelist most famous for his books on the role of
intelligence services in the cold war, writes, "America has entered one
of its periods of historical madness, but this is the worst I can
remember: worse than McCarthyism, worse than the Bay of Pigs and in the
long term potentially more disastrous than the Vietnam War."15 His view
is somewhat more optimistic than mine. If it is just a period of
madness, like musth in elephants, we might get over it. The U.S. still
has a strong civil society that could, at least in theory, overcome the
entrenched interests of the armed forces and the military-industrial
complex. I fear, however, that the U.S. has indeed crossed the Rubicon
and that there is no way to restore Constitutional government short of a
revolutionary rehabilitation of American democracy. Without root and
branch reform, Nemesis awaits. She is the goddess of revenge, the
punisher of pride and arrogance, and the United States is on course for
a rendezvous with her.


Madeleine Bunting, "Beginning of the End: The U.S. Is Ignoring an
Important Lesson from History--that an Empire Cannot Survive on Brute
Force Alone," The Guardian, February 3, 2003. Ewen MacAskill, "Up to 50
States Are on Blacklist, Says Cheney," The Guardian, November 17, 2001;
James Doran, "Terror War Must Target 60 Nations, says Bush," The Times,
London, June 3, 2002. Tom Barry, "The U.S. Power Complex: What's New?"
Foreign Policy in Focus, Special Report, November 2002, n. 11. Madhavee
Inamdar, "Global Vigilance in a Global Village: U.S. Expands Its
Military Bases," The Progressive Response, vol. 6, no. 41 (December 31,
2002). William M. Arkin, "The Best Defense," Los Angeles Times, July 14,
2002; "War Designed to Test New Weapons: Interview with Vladimir
Slipchenko," Rossiyskaya Gazeta, February 22, 2003, online at
<<http://globalresearch.ca/articles/SLI303A.html>>. Doug Rokke, "Gulf
War Casualties," September 30, 2002, online at
<http://www.rense.com/general29/gulf.htm>; Susanna Hecht, "Uranium
Warheads May Leave Both Sides a Legacy of Death for Decades," Los
Angeles Times, March 30, 2003; Neil Mackay, "U.S. Forces' Use of
Depleted Uranium Is 'Illegal,'" Glasgow Sunday Herald, March 30, 2003;
Steven Rosenfeld, "Gulf War Syndrome, The Sequel," TomPaine.com, April
8, 2003; "UK to Aid DU Removal," BBC News, April 23, 2003; Frances
Williams, "Clean-up of Pollution Urged to Reduce Health Risks" and
Vanessa Houlder, "Allied Troops 'Risk Uranium Exposure,'" Financial
Times, April 25, 2003; Jonathan Duffy, "Iraq's Cancer Children
Overlooked in War," BBC News, April 29, 2003. See Ira Chernus, "Shock &
Awe: Is Baghdad the Next Hiroshima?" CommonDreams.org, January 27, 2003.
On the proposed Anglo-American use of such weapons as lasers that can
blind and stun and microwave beams that can heat the water in human skin
to the boiling point, see Antony Barnett, "Army's Secret 'People Zapper'
Plans," The Observer, November 3, 2002. The United States is also
sponsoring research on chemical and biological weapons that violates the
1972 Biological Weapons Convention and other international treaties. One
of the projects is to produce antibiotic-resistant anthrax. Julian
Borger, "U.S. Weapons Secrets Exposed," The Guardian, October 29, 2002;
and Thomas Fuller, "Microwave Weapons: The Dangers of First Use,"
International Herald Tribune, March 17, 2003. "Complete Text of
President Bush's State of the Union Address," Los Angeles Times, January
28, 2003. Also see Ian Urbina, "On the Road with Murder, Inc.," Asia
Times, January 24, 2003; Ori Nir, "Bush Seeks Israeli Advice on
'Targeted Killings,'" Forward, February 7, 2003. See Marilyn W.
Thompson, The Killer Strain: Anthrax and a Government Exposed (New York:
HarperCollins, 2003); and Chuck Murphy, "Not Iraq, But Anniston, Ala.,"
St. Petersburg Times, March 16, 2003. According to Murphy, the U.S. Army
is currently storing in the United States, 873,020 pounds of sarin,
1,657,480 pounds of VX nerve agent, and 1,976,760 pounds of mustard
agent. Bob Woodward, Bush at War (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002), pp.
145-46. James Madison, as quoted by Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-West
Virginia), October 3, 2002, speaking in opposition to a resolution
granting the president open-ended authority to go to war whenever he
chooses to do so. See John C. Bonifaz, "War Powers: The White House
Continues to Defy the Constitution," TomPaine.com, February 4, 2003.
Winslow T. Wheeler, "The Week of Shame: Congress Wilts as the President
Demands an Unclogged Road to War" (Washington: Center for Defense
Information, January 2003), p. 17. William Norman Grigg, "Suspending
Habeas Corpus," The New American, vol. 18, no. 14 (July 15, 2002). Also
see "Detaining Americans," Washington Post, June 13, 2002; Nat Hentoff,
"George W. Bush's Constitution," Village Voice, January 3, 2003;
Benjamin Weiser, "U.S. to Appeal Order Giving Lawyers Access to
Detainee," New York Times, March 26, 2003; Dick Meyer, "John Ashcroft:
Minister of Fear," CBSNews.com, June 12, 2002; Edward Alden and Caroline
Daniel, "Battle Lines Blurred as U.S. Searches for Enemies in the War on
Terrorism," Financial Times, January 2, 2003. Leslie Wayne, "Rumsfeld
Warns He Will Ask Congress for More Billions," New York Times, February
6, 2003; Thom Shanker and Richard W. Stevenson, "Pentagon Wants $10
Billion a Year for Antiterror Fund," New York Times, November 27, 2002;
Jason Nissé, "The $800 Billion Conflict and a World Left Licking Its
Wounds," The Independent, March 9, 2003; Patrick E. Tyler, "Panel Faults
Bush on War Costs and Risks," New York Times, March 12, 2003; David R.
Sands, "Allies Unlikely to Help Pay for Second Iraq Invasion,"
Washington Times, March 10, 2003. 59.Edmund L. Andrews, "Federal Debt
Near Ceiling; Second Time in 9 Months," New York Times, February 20,
2003. John le Carré, "The United States of America Has Gone Mad," The
Times (London), January 15, 2003, online at

Published by Foreign Policy In Focus (FPIF), a joint project of the
Interhemispheric Resource Center (IRC, online at www.irc-online.org
<http://www.irc-online.org/>) and the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS,
online at www.ips-dc.org <http://www.ips-dc.org/>). ©2003. All rights
reserved. Recommended Citation Chalmers Johnson, "Sorrows of Empire,"
Foreign Policy In Focus (Silver City, NM: Interhemispheric Resource
Center, November 2003). Web location:
http://www.presentdanger.org/papers/sorrows2003.html <sorrows2003.html>
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