Zaid - I am not obliged to defend any of the things Sam Harris has said in the past. I just recommended “Islam and the Future of Tolerance”.
I meant "although I recommend this book, I don't agree with much of what Harris has said in the past". I'm against all Western intervention in the Middle East, including support for, or even recognition of, Israel.
Harris may have said all kinds of outrageous things in the past, some of which which confirm al Qaeda's view, but this book does not.
The phrase "do not need to be lectured by" is a modern leftist tactic, switching attention from the content of the argument to the persons involved, in particular, how oppressed they are. It doesn't matter who's doing the "lecturing", or to whom it's directed: is it true?
The fact that the Americans invaded Iraq DOES NOT IN ANY WAY contradict the statement that they "did, at considerable cost to themselves, ATTEMPT to improve life for Iraqis". That statement is about their INTENTIONS. And the costs are obvious - billions of dollars, thousands of lives, and a less stable Iraq.
This response also applies to "Cigargod", but I doubt if she/he can understand it.
'zaid' - first, I think you misunderstood my phrase "ex-Muslim extremist". Nawaz is not an ex-Muslim who is an extremist, he is a Muslim who used to be an extremist!
Second, neither Nawaz nor Harris are telling Muslims to reform their religion. They are politely suggesting it might be a good idea.
Third, I don't recommend this book because I agree with every single thing Harris has ever written.
Finally, civilized human beings did, at considerable cost to themselves, attempt to improve life for Iraqis. Of course, they failed, because, though civilized, they are idiots.