The Age of Sacred Terror (2002 book)

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The book "The Age of Sacred Terror" by former National Security Council directors, Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, was originally published in October 2002.

From the inside flap:

From two of the world's foremost experts on the new terrorism comes the definitive book on the rise of al Qaeda and America's efforts to combat the most innovative and dangerous terrorist group ever. Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon trace the growth of radical Islam from its medieval origins and, drawing on their years of counter-terrorism work at the National Security Council, provide essential insights into the thinking of Usama bin Laden and his followers. With unique authority, they analyze why America was unable to defend itself against this revolutionary threat on September 11, 2001, why bin Laden's apocalyptic creed is gaining ground in the Islamic world, and what the United States must do to stop the new terror. per Amazon


"There are very good reasons to end Saddam Hussein's brutal reign over Iraq, but terrorism is not one of them. There is little or no history of cooperation between Iraq and al-Qaeda, and, as demonstrated by the U.S. warning to Baghdad against using a weapon of mass destruction during the Gulf War, Saddam Hussein can be deterred and will not court the destruction of his regime.
"Al-Qaeda, on the other hand, cannot be deterred and must be destroyed. The confusion about these matters and the ease with which the war on al-Qaeda has blurred into a move against Iraq suggest that America's leaders may not yet have taken al-Qaeda's full measure."

Dunlop comments further: "This was written before it became apparent that Bush would invade Iraq. It holds Iraq up as an indicator of how well the Bush Administration understood the threat posed by global terrorism. What it is saying is that, not only is Iraq irrelevant to the real fight against terrorism, but to give it any sort of priority would be an indication that the Administration still didn't get it, that they hadn't really understood where the real threat lay.

"And we all know what they did - they neglected Afghanistan, and for reasons that turn out to have been badly wrong, went after Saddam Hussein.

"In other words, even after 9/11, even as it was made clear to them in the most unequivocal terms possible that al Qaeda and similar organisations were the main concern, the Bushies still allowed themselves to be distracted by the likes of Iraq. Their little adventure in Iraq has increased Islamic resentment against the United States, proved a great recruiting tool for terrorist organisations, opened up a whole 'new front' in the 'war on terrorism' and for the last eighteen months, sapped resources, human and financial, from the main game. How anyone thinks they are doing a good job on security is beyond me."