Friday, April 13, 2007

A Critique of ex-CIA Analyst Michael Scheuer's Views on Terror War

I've listened to Scott Horton's last interview with Michael Scheuer a few times, and I've identified what I think is a big fallacy in his thinking. Scheuer contends:

1. Al Qaeda are insurgents/warriors not terrorists, and needed to be treated as warriors, not criminals.
2. The best way to defeat al Qaeda is to disengage from the Middle East
3. Because our political leaders (except for Ron Paul) are unwilling to pull our troops out of the Middle East, we must fight with the weapons we make available to ourselves. In other words, we must fight counterinsurgency warfare and not treat this as a criminal matter.

I strongly agree with points 1 and 2. But there is a huge problem with number 3. In number 3, according to Scheuer, we can neutralize al Qaeda by 'taking the gloves off': secret tribunals, renditions, torture (though Scheuer denies it's actually torture) and other dirty tactics. But history has shown us this type of counterinsurgency warfare has very little chance of success. For God's sake, our soldiers are using those very tactics in Iraq, and they have only created an even larger insurgency.

How does Scheuer propose defeating a GLOBAL INSURGENCY when we can't even defeat a LOCAL INSURGENCY in Iraq or Afghanistan? (Also, we couldn't defeat an insurgency in Vietnam in the 60s and 70s. The French used every dirty tactic in the book to defeat the Algerian insurgents and still they lost in the end. The list goes on and on. The only successful counterinsurgency of an occupying power in recent memory is the British victory in Malaysia.)

The reality is, we MIGHT be able to defeat al Qaeda using Scheuer's methods, but the chances of these methods being successful are only slightly better than that of the FBI's. My fear is that some people will listen to Scheuer and think 'If we just treat this as a war and not a criminal matter, we can win'. They won't hear the other part of his message, that this war won't be necessary if America stops propping up Middle East dictatorships and giving unconditional support for every Israeli atrocity.

I personally have come to the conclusion that the only way to win the 'war on terror' is to change U.S. policies radically towards the Middle East and Israel and to begin to slowly dismantle America's global empire. Then, as Scheuer correctly says, our enemies will start fighting each other instead of us. To even consider Scheuer's other solutions will lead us down a path to endless war with very little hope of victory (but much hope for eviscerating the U.S. Constitution).


profmarcus said...

i am of the opinion that eviscerating the u.s. constitution is the primary rather than the secondary goal... claiming unfettered power and the rivers of cash that go with it, to my mind, have always been the paramount twin goals of the bush administration... an endless war, a defense industry bursting with contracts, a population controlled by fear and extremist religious groups, cancelling any implied or explicit social contracts, and instituting a barely-disguised police state are all tools toward those ends... one guy's thoughts...

Miguel said...

I believe that you are right in regards to certain officials, including Bush and Cheney. I wouldn't necessarily attribute that motive to Scheuer. I think he's sincere, but misguided.

Enlightenment said...

I tend to think that eviscerating the Constitution is primarily to make organized (and unorganized) dissent against Cheney regime policies next to impossible, sort of a "safety net" if you will, for this criminal regime for the time when more and more people realize the truth about 9/11 and the so-called "war on terror".

As for the idea of "defeating Al Qaeda in a global war", that idea misunderstands what the "war" is all about. This administration is operating on the Hegelian Dialectic, that is, that it creates the problem ("terrorism") then offers the solution that forwards pre-existing Cheney regime strategic goals (domination of the world's remaining oil and natural gas reserves). Ever notice how every single "front" in the "war on terror" involves either oil or natural gas exploration, extraction and/or transport to market? Look into the T.A.P.(-I.) pipeline project across Afghanistan. Look into the B.T.C. pipeline project in the Caucasus. Iraq, the world's second-largest oil producer, is self-explanatory. Look into the fighting against "Abu Sayyaf" on the oil-rich islands of Basilan and Jolo in the Philippines. Look into the assistance (including air support) given to the Ethiopians after goading them into invading Somalia to establish the U.S.-backed puppet government in Mogadishu which promptly announced it is more than willing to begin negotiations on oil exploration contracts.

There's a reason why the spark that started it all, 9/11, seems like a made-to-order godsend for the Cheney regime to exploit: Because it WAS made-to-order. 9/11 was an inside job, this is fairly obvious to anyone looking into the details of it. So was the London bombing. So was the Bali bombing in Indonesia, "Australia's 9/11".

"Al Qaeda" will exist as long as the Cheney regime needs excuses for interventions to further its resource-dominance plans or until the American people wise up, realize they are being duped, and impeach/otherwise remove from office this war criminal regime.

rimone said...

great replies to all; you said what i wanted to but much better than i ever could.

noise said...

The official lies about 9/11 have confused all the arguments. Then the Bush administration confused things further by lying about the Iraq policy.

It seems Americans have to worry about the elites in the government who are motivated by corporate interests and terrorists motivated by both radical Islamic beliefs and resentment of US government backing of oppressive Middle Eastern governments. It's not an either/or situation as some 9/11 truthers and some pundits would have us believe.

Enlightenment said...

Well, though I will agree that it isn't 100% all one way or the other, I certainly wouldn't equate the two or even mention them in the same breath without caveat which could lead someone to believe you are inferring they are equal threats. Yes, I'm not denying that there are NO genuine Islamic terrorist groups in existence however any threat Americans face from them is exceedingly small. Not anything worth changing any part of anyone's daily routine and certainly not something worth launching anything resembling a "global war" or even a regional one. In fact, I can scarcely think of a BETTER way to ensure a surge in recruiting and action by Islamic terrorists than to launch a clumsy "global war" involving invading two countries populated by Muslims who were doing nothing whatsoever to threaten America. But even then it wouldn't necessitate making America into a jackbooted police state like it is now when someone has a far better chance of getting struck by lightning than being killed by "terrorists".

Furthermore, any Islamic terrorists in existence have legitimate grievances. The U.S. should have no influence over the Middle East, should base no military forces there, and most importantly, should cut off all aid to the illegal Zionist entity. In short, they are right and America is dreadfully wrong. Any problems America has from Islamic radicals America has brought upon itself.

And if we can then turn attention to states instead of non-state actors for a moment, since there is all this current hysteria regarding Iran, all of America's problems with Iran it has also brought upon itself. It's somewhat funny how almost all Americans act like the U.S. and Iran have a history with each other only going back to the embassy hostage crisis. While they never tire of beating Iran with that stick, they myopically refuse to look any farther back at the REASONS why the hostage crisis happened in the first place, instead pretending things happen in a vacuum. If they were a little more well-read they would realize that Iran and America have a history going back to 1953 when the C.I.A. engineered a coup to overthrow the democratically-elected government of Iran under Mohammed Mossadegh, for the "crime" of trying to nationalize Iran's oil industry. In place of Mossadegh the Iranian people got the despotic Shah Reza Pahlavi and his U.S.-trained SAVAK secret police, among the most brutal in the world. The Shah ruled with an iron fist and that was of course right up Washington's alley since he was in their pocket. The only avenue of dissent/free expression remaining that Pahlavi didn't close off was religion, namely the mosques and madrassas. So when things got to a boiling point in Iran and a revolution overthrew the hated Shah, it should surprise no American that it was an Islamic fundamentalist revolution. Even then, even knowing that the U.S. forced the Shah on them and trained his brutal secret police, even knowing that the Shah was a U.S. puppet who sold out his country to foreigners in exchange for living in luxury, even then the hostage crisis would never have happened had the U.S. simply deported the Shah back to Iran so he could face justice for his numerous crimes. But the U.S. refused to send that piece of shit back to his former home country, so the Iranians overran the compound from which the coup to overthrow Mossadegh was plotted, the U.S. embassy in Tehran, and took its occupants, many certainly C.I.A. agents, hostage. So who's to blame for America's problems with Iran? Who's to blame for Iran hating America's guts? America.

Any "Islamic radical" threat the U.S. faces, though miniscule and blown so far out of proportion to be laughable, it has brought upon itself. Change the shitty policies that make people rightfully hate America and you will eliminate the miniscule "Islamic radical threat". And this tiny "threat" by no means legitimizes the "war on terror" or makes it anything other than a thinly-veiled effort to secure American dominance over the world's remaining oil and natural gas resources. Any argument playing up the "threat" and trying to link it to the Cheney regime's actions around the world in pursuit of its resource dominance ambitions (not saying you are trying to justify the "war on terror" or believe all of the regime's bullshit about it, just saying) does nothing but lend false credence to the Cheney regime's satanic ambitions and forfeits the terms of the debate to them instead of addressing the "war on terror" issue for what it really is.

Enlightenment said...

In my first paragraph I meant to say "Yes, I'm not SAYING there are NO genuine terrorist groups.."

Enlightenment said...

P.S.- And if you'll notice, the Cheney regime's "war on terror" isn't aimed at genuine Islamic radical groups like Hezbollah, Hamas, etc. but instead is aimed at fake terror groups it and its allies have created from whole cloth like "Al Qaeda" and "Abu Sayyaf" (who is supplied and directed by the government of the Philippines, the very ones on whose soil the U.S. "advisors" are helping to fight the group). Why? Because when it is your OWN side who is manipulating the "enemy" groups it is a hell of a lot easier to make them do things to "justify" your military presence in a desired resource-producing region than non-controlled, unpredictable, independent (genuine) groups. So "Al Qaeda" and "Abu Sayyaf" will exist as long as they serve the interests of the Cheney and Arroyo regimes respectively.

lukery said...

great psot miguel - trying to unravel scheuer drives me mad.

Enlightenment - good to see you here, and thnx for your contributions.

Enlightenment said...

Most welcome Lukery. Great blog you have here. I came here from Moxie Grrrl's blog where one of your writers posted a comment there with a link here. So I came here and I like what I see. Please keep up the good work you are doing.