I’ve been seeing Michael Scheuer, or Anonymous, author of Imperial Hubris, all over the place recently—apparently his resignation from the CIA has released the muzzle somewhat—and I don’t quite know what to make of him. I would venture to say that he’s one of the more inscrutable people in the news these days, with Kerry being in retirement and all.
Depending on who is quoting him—or if he’s doing the writing—he is either opposed to President Bush’s policy in the Middle East or thinks it needs to be ratcheted up; thinks we are losing our soft power or will have to resolve to do more of the dirty work ourselves. He’s referenced in the former capacity in an FT article that could have been written by Brad DeLong:
The self-serving fallacies of the they-hate-us-for-our-freedoms industry have been criticised in recent books from, for example, the former CIA official in charge of pursuing Osama bin Laden, Michael Scheuer (Imperial Hubris), and the Palestinian-American historian Rashid Khalidi (Resurrecting Empire). Both argue it is the policies of the US and its allies that have ignited such rage in the Arab and Muslim world.He wrote a column for the Washington Times that advocates a unilateral approach to the war on terror that requires a great deal more killing on the part of the U.S.:
Simply put, the thinking that expects others to do our dirty — and very bloody — work should have died with the fall of the Berlin Wall. If America is to win its worldwide battle with Islamist insurgents and terrorists, it will have to do its own dirty work whenever it has a chance to do so, even at the cost of heavier human casualties than we have suffered to date. This is not to say we do not need allies, for we surely do. What we need, however, is a consistently commonsense perspective that sees that no two nations have identical national interests; that no country will ever do all we want; and that to survive we must act with U.S. military and CIA assets whenever a chance arises, even if supporting intelligence is not perfect. This modus operandi will take a steady application of moral courage at a level unseen in Washington for 15 years.I don’t understand this guy and reading additional articles either by or about him are of no help. The views don’t seem entirely irreconcilable—I’ve always viewed saying that the Islamists “hate our freedom” as shorthand for them being opposed to our values, which they are—and we could stand to disengage from much of the Middle East, though I wouldn’t favor abandoning Israel or Iraq. Anyone care to square this circle?
In weighing the foregoing, readers might ask themselves two questions: 1) How can it be that Pakistan’s military has suffered far more casualties than U.S. forces in the war on bin Laden?; and 2) Whatever happened to the “Major 2004 Afghan Spring Offensive” that the Pentagon’s multi-starred general-bureaucrats leaked news of to the media back in January 2004? At least one answer to each question is that our governing elites are still desperate to find others to do our dirty work.