In April, 2011, two CNN pundits interviewed Michael Scheuer about the war President Barack Obama agreed to enter in Libya.
Scheuer had given an opinion that we now know should have been heeded. We should have never gone at all—“This was none of our business.”
Scheuer also made a prediction that more than a year later has come true.
Watching the video, you get the impression the pundits weren’t familiar with Scheuer’s libertarian views. He believes war is sometimes necessary, but he’s not into nation building. Basically you go in, kill the enemy, destroy infrastructure and get out.
Scheuer told NPR in a later interview that strategy is better than leaving “defeated…with them remembering that we tried to destroy their cultural, their political system.”
Scheuer pointed out that the fighters the U.S. helped in Libya would be called “mujahedeen” in other circumstances—“not much better than Gaddafi.”
When the CNN interview was conducted, it was introduced with, “Sources say the CIA is on the ground in Libya.”
Scheuer responded to questions about that by explaining, “Wherever there’s trouble, you’ll find the agency.”
In the May, 2012 NPR interview Scheuer indicated that al Qaeda is far from defeated, although Americans are aware Obama has repeatedly claimed that in campaign speeches.
Scheuer pointed out al Qaeda in Pakistan, Yemen, the east coast of Africa, Somalia, Kenya, the northern rim of Africa, Palestine and Iraq.
The former head of the bin Laden unit at the CIA, Scheuer gave a troubling assessment of the outcome of wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. He explained bin Laden’s metrics for defeating the U.S. and running us from that part of the world began with taking advantage of the financial meltdown “to help lead us to bankruptcy.” The second was to create problems in “so many areas that our military and intelligence forces would be spread very thin.” Third was to “strip us of allies and create political dissent at home.”
When Obama decided to engage in war in Libya allegedly as part of NATO, he told Americans our role would be limited and there would be no troops on the ground.
That begs the question of whether Obama put politics above reason in deciding not to send help to the Americans under attack in Benghazi.
By the end of the 2011 CNN interview, one pundit was edgy enough for Scheuer to tell her, “You’re just carrying water for Mr. Obama.”
Scheuer said from the beginning that Obama’s claims about our NATO involvement might “fool some Americans.” He added, “It won’t fool the Islamists…It’s a piece of theater set up by Mrs. Clinton and Mr. McCain.”
Scheuer also said it looked like the Libya engagement was “for oil.”
His advice was also well put, however, on one major point.
Scheuer told CNN the U.S. could “either put ground troops in or be defeated.”
Great Britain pulled assets out of Benghazi during the summer, leaving large quantities of weapons behind. The weapons are missing and presumably have fallen into Islamist hands.
Thus far, wars in Muslim countries have acted as “a recruiting tool for al Qaeda,” Scheuer said.
He also referred to Obama’s UN ambassador as the “rather crazed Ms. Rice at the UN.” In light of Susan Rice’s claims about a video causing the Benghazi attack, Scheuer appears right on that assessment too.
Scheuer has criticized both Democrats and Republicans on matters of foreign policy in Islamist countries.
(Analysis by Kay B. Day/Oct. 26, 2012)