"A tour dāforce."
Anthony Lewis, The New York Times
SEEDS OF HATE: How America's Flawed Middle East Policy Ignited the Jihad
By Lawrence Pintak
Published October 2003 by Pluto Press
* ANNIVERSARY OF BEIRUT BOMBING MARKS BIRTH OF MODERN TERROR
* Fully revised edition explores the link between the current Palestinian struggle, Jihad, Hizbu'llah, and the 'Axis of Evil'
The terror tactics plaguing U.S. forces in Iraq and Westerners around the world were born 20 years ago this October when 243 U.S. Marines died in the suicide bombing of their Beirut headquarters, argues the author of a new book on the roots of terrorism.
"America's brief encounter with Lebanon lasted less than two years. But it was long enough to show the world that a handful of men and women with a few hundred pounds of explosives and a willingness to give their lives could bring a superpower to its knees," writes Lawrence Pintak in Seeds of Hate: How America's Failed Middle East Policy Ignited the Jihad (Pluto Press).
Now, says the veteran Middle East correspondent, the Bush administration policy is repeating many of the same errors that led to their deaths.
"The Reagan White House sent the Marines into Lebanon to protect Muslims, then ended up at war with them. It announced it was going to create a democracy, then propped up a powerless regime. It launched an ambitious Middle East peace plan, only to see it wither and die because it couldn't deliver on its promises in Lebanon. You only have to look at the newspaper to see it's all happening again," says Pintak, a former CBS News correspondent, who witnessed the birth of Islamic terrorism in Beirut and its rise in Southeast Asia.
In the book, Pintak examines how the men responsible for driving the U.S. Marines - and later, Israeli occupation forces - out of Lebanon, both inspired and directly supported suicide attacks against the U.S. and Israel on the West Bank, in the Persian Gulf, and in locations as far-flung as South America and Southeast Asia.
But he argues that the Bush administration's escalating threats against the Lebanese Shi'ite party Hizballah in recent months ignores the important role that organization plays in Lebanese politics and its complex relationship with the men behind the ongoing terror.
"The Iraq invasion was sold to the American - and British - public on the basis of tenuous claims that are now proving empty. It's time for a Middle East policy that is based on more than personal prejudice and cliche," says Pintak, who is currently the Howard R. Marsh Visiting Professor of Journalism at the University of Michigan.
"Besides," he adds, "we were burned in Lebanon once. The Israelis were burned in Lebanon. We're in danger of being burned in Iraq by the same tactics. And the Iraqi Shi'ites haven't even entered the fight. Do we really want to declare war on them, at a time when we need them as allies, by targeting their brethren in Lebanon?"
"One of the most perceptive accounts of the nightmare in Lebanon."
The Washington Post
ABOUT LAWRENCE PINTAK
Lawrence Pintak is a veteran of 25 years in journalism on four continents. He has reported for many of the world's leading news organizations and has served as both a newspaper editor and the editorial director of a major Internet news site.
Pintak covered the birth of modern Islamic terrorism as CBS News Middle East correspondent in the 1980s and more recently reported on the Indonesian revolution and subsequent spread of militant Islam in Southeast Asia for The San Francisco Chronicle and ABC News.
He was twice nominated for Emmy awards and won two Overseas Press Club citations for his Middle East coverage.
His work has been published in scores of mainstream and academic publications, from The New York Times and The Times of London to the American Journalism Review and Middle East Journal, and he has contributed to broadcast outlets ranging from the BBC and National Public Radio to five of the major U.S. networks.
He also writes on Buddhism and Eastern Religion for mainstream and academic outlets such as Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma. He is currently the Howard R. Marsh Visiting Professor of Journalism at the University of Michigan.