Rudy Giuliani and raging neo-cons all over the country don’t care for Ron Paul and his assertion that American interventionism in the Middle East is one important factor contributing to the radicalization of an ever-growing number of Muslims into suicidal, anti-American terrorists. In response, I’ve discussed here the veracity of Paul’s claim and the overreaction of the neo-cons in a few posts recently, especially in these three posts.
But that’s just me and Dr. Paul speaking (though we cite our sources). What does the leading expert on Osama bin Laden say? That, to me, seems much more important to consider. Fortunately, we now know.
Michael Scheuer is a 22 year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). From 1996 to 1999, he was the Chief of the Bin Laden Issue Station (aka Alec Station), the Osama bin Laden tracking unit at the Counterterrorist Center. From September 2001 to November 2004, he served again as Special Advisor to the Chief of the bin Laden unit. His insider perspective and expertise led him to write a book, anonymously, titled Through Our Enemies’ Eyes: Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam, and the Future of America. We now know that he is also the anonymous author of Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror.
It is possible to be an expert in war and terror and still be a weak-willed pacifist. But that would not describe Scheuer. The 9/11 Commission Report accurately relates his frustration with his political and bureaucratic superiors for their failure to aggressively target bin Laden in the years leading up to that infamous day in American history. The essence of this frustration came across loud and clear in the excellent documentary last year, “The Path to 9/11,” which I have discussed previously in my post, “The Path To 9/11 or The Path Since 9/11: Which is Worse?” In fact, as he relates in Hubris, Scheuer ultimately resigned from the CIA over what he called “the feckless 9/11 Commission, which failed to find any personal failure or negligence among Intelligence Community leaders even though dozens of serving officers provided the commissioners with clear documentary evidence of that failure.”
All this is to say that Scheuer’s War on Terror credentials are absolutely impeccable. He is hard core, and if our leaders would have listened more carefully to the likes of him, there would have been no more bin Laden after we had a chance to take him out during the Clinton Administration. If they had followed his advice then, there may not have been the terrorist attacks on our country on September 11, 2001, as a result.
So, if anyone would seem a natural to line up with Giuliani — who has gained his “conservative” following through his tough guy reputation — following his now-famous exchange with Dr. Paul at the South Carolina debate, it would be this guy. But that is precisely the opposite of what has happened.
This day found Scheuer standing beside the castigated Ron Paul, rather than next to the would-be defender of American Empire around the world, Rudy Giuliani. And this is what Scheuer had to say at Dr. Paul’s press conference in the nation’s capital on Thursday:
“Foreign policy is about protecting America. Our foreign policy is doing the opposite.”
“Our foreign policy is doing the opposite,” he said. This is exactly what Dr. Paul has been contending — but being ridiculed as being naïve over. But if that quote isn’t clear enough, here is what Scheuer wrote in the book, Through Our Enemies’ Eyes:
“[T]he crux of my argument is simply that America is in a war with militant Islamists that it cannot avoid; one that it cannot talk or appease its way out of; one in which our irreconcilable Islamist foes will have to be killed, an act which unavoidably will lead to innocent deaths; and one that is motivated in large measure by the impact of U.S. foreign policies in the Islamic world…”
Scheuer appeared at the press conference in support of Dr. Paul and his contention that in terms of the war on terror, Giuliani is not qualified to be president. But they haven’t given up on Giuliani. If he just does some reading, perhaps the former mayor will understand enough to more effectively bring the war on terror to a close, securing America’s national security and safety in the process.
Therefore, Scheuer and Dr. Paul recommend that Giuliani read a few books. Starting with Scheuer’s own works and The 9/11 Commission Report, they also recommend other expert analyses of terrorism and interventionism, such as Chalmer Johnson’s Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire.
Perhaps Dr. Paul’s “conservative” critics could do some reading, as well. If these contemporary works don’t suit them, maybe a few from the conservative canon will suffice — you know, works with authors like Edmund Burke, George Washington, and Russell Kirk, for example.