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).