ANONYMOUS NO MORE
The CIA author of Imperial Hubris is formally out of the closet. Micheal Scheuer, former chief of the CIA's Bin Laden task force has resigned
in order to speak publicly on the War on Terror, which he believes the United States is steadily losing.
I've read Imperial Hubris
but I have not gotten around to writing a detailed review yet. Reader's Digest version
, if you keep in mind the Scheuer has a " Forest-Trees" problem with context and he is too close to his subject - evincing the same grudging admiration for Bin Laden and Arab-Ialamic culture that plagued John Toland's WWII books - Imperial Hubris can be a valuable book. Scheuer has a large number of pointed insights about both al Qaida and the dysfunctionality of the IC that bear repeating. Foremost among these is his identification of al Qaida as merely the spear tip of a global Islamist insurgency. I'm convinced he is quite correct on that score as well as on his numerous observations on al Qaida's operational capabilities and structure.
Where Scheuer fails is as a grand strategist. The fact that pan-Arab nationalists and radical sharia state Islamists are unhappy with American pursuit of American interests is a truism. It is also a poor justification for either capitulation or doing to the Arab-Islamic world what Rome did to Carthage, the dichotomy Scheuer sees as our alternatives. Where Scheuer can contribute to the debate is elevating the public sense of urgency of dealing with al Qaida and a better understanding how it operates, recruits, infiltrates and attacks.
Speaking of Scheuer, today his take on Osama bin Laden and nuclear weapons
"Even if bin Laden had a nuclear weapon, he probably wouldn't have used it for a lack of proper religious authority - authority he has now. "[Bin Laden] secured from a Saudi sheik...a rather long treatise on the possibility of using nuclear weapons against the Americans," says Scheuer. "[The treatise] found that he was perfectly within his rights to use them. Muslims argue that the United States is responsible for millions of dead Muslims around the world, so reciprocity would mean you could kill millions of Americans,"
Scheuer tells Kroft.Scheuer says bin Laden was criticized by some Muslims for the 9/11 attack because he killed so many people without enough warning and before offering to help convert them to Islam. But now bin Laden has addressed the American people and given fair warning. "They're intention is to end the war as soon as they can and to ratchet up the pain for the Americans until we get out of their region....If they acquire the weapon, they will use it, whether it's chemical, biological or some sort of nuclear weapon," says Scheuer"
Were al Qaida to detonate a nuclear weapon of any size - perhaps even a significant biological weapon - I have no doubt the United States would retaliate with a nuclear attack across the Arab-Islamic world from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan. Mecca and Medina, Qom and Teheran would cease to exist within hours of a nuclear strike within the United States. Anyone who doubts this certainty seriously underestimates the magnitude of the political reality of, say, losing Manhattan. For two buildings we invaded two nations. For a city we will destroy a civilization.
If, by chance, the President of the United States were to be killed in such an attack, the U.S. military would be left on automatic pilot, relying on Cold War era and 1990's " worst-case scenario" contingency plans for nuclear war and our retaliation would most likely to be massive rather than selective. The Islamic world would end as a coherent entity for all time.
If the zealots of al Qaida do not understand this it should be made clear to their more reasonable supporters in KSA and Pakistan that they and hundreds of millions of Muslims will bear the price for such an attack.
I sincerely hope Scheuer is reporting nothing but empty Islamist bluster over the web but if he's not, this is the direction that kind of event would take.