Recently by Michael Scheuer: Pity Poor America: Obama, Romney, and ForeignPolicy
Having listened to a campaign in which Governor Romney explained how he would fix the U.S. economy and carry a big stick around the world, and President Obama continually blame George W. Bush for all our economic problems and try to depict Romney as the evil-millionaire Mr. Potter from Frank Capra's, It's a Wonderful Life, voters can take their pick on Tuesday. But when doing so they must realize that no matter who wins, the next president's biggest problem will be fighting wars overseas with a war weary populace and an undermanned and ill-equipped military. And no matter who is elected, the new president will only have himself and his interventionist party to blame.
With our war against Islamist militants now two months into its seventeenth year and with those forces still scoring victories over America — note their win in Benghazi — both parties continue to pursue a foreign policy that is increasingly suicidal. Both support Israel without qualm or respect for genuine U.S. interests — Obama just wants the Iran war after 6 November — and both approve of surrendering in Afghanistan, in the wake of our surrender in Iraq. You can bet the lesson of how easy it was to defeat the American superpower in both places will not be lost on the Islamists. We also continue to protect and champion the Saudi tyranny and the other Gulf despots as "good U.S. allies," thereby making sure oil flows but building an ever greater hatred among ordinary Muslims for the states that oppress them and their U.S. protectors. (NB: Let's hope that if Romney wins he keep his word and pushes for energy self-sufficiency, ending Obama's reality-defying energy policy which has kept the Gulf tyrannies in high clover; American families extorted at the pump; and America locked in an endless war with Islam.)
Worst and most war-causing of all, both Obama and Romney are pro-Israel, interventionist democracy crusaders. Both men, for example, are awash with pro-Israel bribes — commonly known as "campaign contributions" — and are surrounded by war-mongering Neoconservatives, although those on the Democratic side are more quietly malign. Both men also buy into the lethal nonsense of American "exceptionalism" and the equally demented idea that the world is thirsting for Washington's leadership and instruction on how to be good Westerners. They are cultural warriors to the core and men who are intent on using their rhetoric and your taxes to remake the world — especially the Muslim world — in their image. And if that does not do the trick, they will use U.S. military power to try to accomplish their policy of international cleansing and social/political/religious remodeling.
This said, it seems that facts, analysis, and substantive debate go largely unheeded in contemporary America. Whether you agree or disagree with the foregoing, though, there is a way to test my argument in a manner that seems more palatable to Americans; that is graphically. Given my at-best minimal computer skills, I cannot provide the graphics for you, but all it really takes to get a picture of reality is to imagine two simple political maps of the world, one for September, 2001, and the other for November 2012. What would be seen on these maps?
— The Map of September 2001:
— 1.) Al-Qaeda and its allies had only Taleban-governed Afghanistan as a major base in which to train, store weaponry, plot, launch attacks, and meet other Islamists from around the world. Yes, al-Qaeda and its allies had so-called cells in dozens of other countries around the world — and they still do — but only in Afghanistan could they operate openly and — thanks to the Clinton administration's profound disregard for U.S. lives and interests — with little concern about being attacked while they prepared for 9/11 and what was to come. (NB: Interestingly, many Americans seem to have forgotten that in October, 2000, Clinton refused to defend America and Americans after the near sinking of the USS COLE, just as Obama has refused to do anything during or after the mujahedin's recent easy victory in Benghazi. Both men clearly were more concerned with their party's presidential prospects than with defending American lives and security.)
– The Map of November 2011:
— 1.) After more than decade of successfully resisting the U.S.-led invasion and occupation, the Taleban and its allies will in the next 18 months return to power in Afghanistan. Whether that new regime in Kabul is called the Taleban or not is irrelevant. It will be a Pakistani-and-Saudi-backed Islamist regime and it will welcome al-Qaeda and its allies to remain in its territories to train, plan, rearm, etc. The new Islamist Afghan regime also will have unprecedented access to and influence over the eastern third of Pakistan. Ironically, the Islamist Afghan state will be much larger, better organized, and better armed in 2014 than it was in 2001.
— 2.) In addition to soon controlling an expanded Afghan state, the international spread of the Islamists' presence and power since 9/11 has been impressive. While Americans and their media have been bore-sighted on the willfully lost wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the politically motivated silence of the Islamist-empowering Obama administration has allowed the creation of a half-dozen Afghan-like Islamist bastions to go mostly unnoticed. Soon after 9/11, Osama bin Laden began dispersing his forces from South Asia — and he helpfully told us what he was up to in a public statement — with the result being that today Islamist military bastions are firmly established in Yemen, throughout the North Caucasus, in East Africa, across North Africa, and reaching from the latter down into Mali and toward southern Africa. There are also the Islamist-redoubts that are growing and solidifying via al-Qaeda's startling and forceful turn to Iraq, as well as in Libya and Syria where Mrs. Clinton's and Senator McCain's "freedom fighters" are in the process of installing Islamist regimes with the military aid of our Gulf "allies" and al-Qaeda.
– 3.) While the sheer geographical dimensions of the mujahedin's growth is very impressive, the places where they have ensconced themselves are even more impressive and strategically dangerous to U.S. interests. As al-Qaeda's 9/11 attacks were designed to lure the U.S. military into Afghanistan — it being easier to kill soldiers and Marines there than in America — the post-2001 expansion of al-Qaeda and its allies is meant, among other things, to force the United States to fight in places where it has genuine, life-and-death national interests — not the nonsense of fighting for democracy and women's rights. This becomes especially clear after a review of the activities of Al-Qaeda-in-the-Islamic-Mahgreb (AQIM), Al-Qaeda-in-the-Arab Peninsula (AQAP); Somalia's Al-Shabab — which the West foolishly thinks is fully beaten after a series of tactical defeats — and Nigeria's Boko Haram. The strategic bottom line for America is simple and clear: these four groups, with minimal inter-group cooperation, are near-to-threatening free U.S. and Western access to the Niger Delta's oil resources and West Africa's rich deposits of uranium and strategic minerals. The mujahedin also sit astride vital sea lanes off both coasts of Africa, at the Suez Canal, and in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. Free and reliable access to all of these are indispensable to the economic welfare of the United States and as they become increasingly threatened we will have to fight for them. This is, incidentally, why the brief discussion of U.S. naval power during the presidential debate should have been prolonged. The protection of maritime commerce and offshore resource production is a ship-intensive activity; numbers do matter — perhaps more than military punch each ship packs — and the number of U.S. Navy ships now available is simply inadequate to the potential requirements for them. The method of operation of Al-Qaeda and its allies is today what it has long been: spread out U.S. military assets so as to sap their reserves and flexibility. This is a strategy that might well work as effectively at sea as it has on land.
– 4.) Perhaps the most important development in the U.S.-Islamist war in the last few years also has gone largely unmarked. The fall of Mubarak, Ben Ali, and Qadhafi has greatly eased the operational environment for Islamist groups and movements not only in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya, but also in other Muslim states whose regimes have a tenuous hold on power. Think especially of Jordan in the latter regard. Where three years ago Islamists in all these places were constantly hunted by Arab security services and killed, incarcerated, or turned over to U.S. authorities, today they operate freely with little concern for local security forces so long as they do not attack within the country; nowhere is this more true than in Egypt. From the Pakistan-India border to Morocco's Atlantic coast, the Islamists are encountering a freedom of movement and a degree of personal safety that they have never before enjoyed. The Islamist are also much better armed than ever before, thanks largely to the looting of military arsenals in Yemen, Libya, Syria, Egypt, and Libya during the opening of the Pandorau2018s box known as the Arab Spring.
So before voting, take a minute and imagine each of these maps and compare them. Then vote for whoever you want, but vote with the certainty that all Americans are joining you in voting for a president whose interventionism will bring all of us more war.
Michael Scheuer [send him mail] is the author of Marching Toward Hell: America and Islam After Iraq and Imperial Hubris and Through Our Enemies’ Eyes. He recently resigned after 22 years at the CIA. He served as chief of the CIA’s bin Laden unit.