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Mike Scheuer Explains His ‘Attack’ Comments

Mike Scheuer’s Google Alerts must be going crazy after his Glenn Beck appearance, because he left this message in the comment thread on my earlier post:

Spencer, What I tried to say on FOX last night is what I said in my last two books. I believe that our governing elite has a single foreign policy vis. the Muslim World and that it has no contact points with reality. Americans are therefore very inadequately protected. I increasingly believe that our leaders’ perception of the threat and attempts to defeat it are verging on the feckless, and that most Americans — concerned with the economy, raising families, and quite insular in any event — do not recognize the poor job leaders in both parties are doing in defending their country, homes, and family. I am afraid that another, greater-than-9/11 attack will occur — because our leaders see the world that they want to be and not the one on offer — and that only then will Americans starkly see what I believe is unconscionable failure of the federal goverment to put their safety first. My bottom line is that there will be another attack because the Republicans and Democrats are abject incompetents and because our current economic state is too good a chance for bin Laden not to try to push forward al-Qaeda’s “bleed America to bankruptcy” strategey . Far from wishing for another attack, I trust that Churchill’s judgment that God looks out for drunks and the United States of America still holds good and and we remain safe. God better do the job, because no one in our elite is doing it.

Respectfully, Mike Scheuer

It’s true that in Mike’s second book, Imperial Hubris (I haven’t yet read his most recent one), he warned of attacks if the U.S. didn’t radically change its Middle East strategy. I think a fair representation of his prescriptive argument in Imperial Hubris is that the U.S. needed to significantly disengage politically and militarily from the region before it found itself drawn into a war that could only be won through extreme and overwhelming violence. But speaking more generally, it’s not the most persuasive argument that a terrorist attack will vindicate your contentions, even if the intention is merely to call attention to certain dangers. I have to say I am still unsure from Mike’s post and from his Glenn Beck appearance — which dealt mostly with border security, but rambled tremendously — what these dangers actually are in his eyes.

One more thing. Back in the 1990s and early 2000s at CIA, Scheuer was no fan of White House counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke. But Clarke famously wrote to the Bush administration on September 4, 2001 in frustration with the turgid pace of counterterrorism strategization that policymakers would “imagine a day after a terrorist attack, with hundreds of Americans dead at home and abroad, and ask themselves what they could have done earlier.” Did that mean Clarke was wishing for a terrorist attack? I don’t mean to adjudicate this dispute or apologize for Scheuer, but that seems like relevant context.

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