Imperial Hubris: Review of the Reviewers

Imperial has an awesome guest article by none other than Michael Scheuer (formerly known as “Anonymous”), the author of book Imperial Hubris. Scheuer, who spent 22 years at the CIA and was the ex-CIA bin Laden Unit Chief, dissects the reviews from both the left and the right. The amazing thing is how predictable the partisans were:

My book has been embraced on the left by those eager to attack President Bush and his neoconservative advisers, especially on the issue of Iraq. I oppose the Iraq war because it made crushing our bin Laden-led Islamist enemies vastly more difficult, and because self-initiated, offensive wars are incompatible with the principles on which the Founding Fathers grounded U.S. foreign policy.

[…]At a basic level, America is suffering from the postwar mangling of our educational system that allows the inculcation of such errant nonsense as the idea that all wars are evil, as well as from the willingness of our elites to preach the lie that wars can be fought and won with few combatant casualties on either side and even fewer civilian casualties.

[…]For the most part, reviews of Imperial Hubris from the right have been more straightforward and less nuanced. I am simply and variously described as a “liberal appeaser”, an “Islamist fellow traveler”, and ?Äì my personal favorite ?Äì a “rightwing weasel” who always “blames the Jews.” The consensus on the right seems to be that my intention was to “blame America” for the problems we are having at the hands of Islamist militants. The use of these epithets necessarily sets the tone and shapes the content of the reviews. Oddly, the reviews from the right have not noted the sharp nationalistic tone of my book, suggesting, perhaps, that the neoconservatives now in the saddle in Washington are truly more interested in the glories of empire than in the security of America.

[…]The traditional principles of U.S. foreign policy ?Äì non-intervention, freedom of the seas, avoiding detrimental alliances, being the exemplar not the installer of democracy in the world, not picking fights abroad, etc. ?Äì appear as foreign to some of my reviewers on the right as they so manifestly are to the neoconservatives.

After 22 years, I would think he knows his shit about terrorism, but apparently the armchair pundits are more content to cherry-pick his book for anything that could damage the other side than to actually pay attention to what he’s writing:

So far, I have failed in terms of what I intended my book to do. I have failed to stir any sort of substantive debate, and the nationalist, America first ?Äì not America alone ?Äì content of my argument has gone virtually unnoticed. I am responsible for that failure, and will work to clarify my prose and sharpen my argumentation on the chance I am tempted to write a third book on America?Äôs war with Islamist militancy. There is also the chance, of course, that the problem is not my writing, but that I have not changed with the times.

I think the latter is the most probable, and in fact I’m willing to bet his views are more in tune to traditional libertarianism than today’s Republican doctrine (minus the rhetoric). He goes on to say that he’s hoping to finally get lefties and right-wingers to listen to him by writing a large-print children’s book with pictures called Mother of God… Bin Laden is Still Alive: What the Fuck is Wrong With You People?

I sent Scheuer the following email in hopes he will respond with a rational policy that the Libertarian Party could package and use for it’s stance on the war in Iraq and the War on Terrorism in general:

I enjoyed your book when I read it last year, and am not surprised by your account of its reception by the left and right. I think your analysis was spot on in regards to how to tackle the issue of terrorism facing our nation.

That said, I believe your stance is very libertarian in principle and was wondering what kind of foreign policy you would advocate in an ideal America. You praise non-interventionism, but that concept seems to be eagerly warped into the same category as pacifism by the right. Is there a summation that you could provide?

I think it’s time we start putting some pressure on the LP to have a cohesive policy, and perhaps hire Scheuer as a consultant to help create a legitimate and marketable message for the party.

Stephen VanDyke

I've published HoT along with about 300+ friends since 2002. We're all Americans who are snarky and love our country. I'm a libertarian that registered Republican because I like to win elections. That's pretty much it.

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