Michael Scheuer Peddling Nonsense
Listeners to Chicago's WLS Tuesday morning might have been shocked by comments from 22 year CIA veteran Michael Scheuer, had they not followed his sycophantic ramblings as a Ron Paul acolyte. Discarding analysis for cant, he insisted on at least two erroneous positions: that Islamist hatred of the US is due to our own actions; and that "the Israel lobby controls politics."
When WLS's Don Wade asked Scheuer what actions of ours he was referring to, he cited two: "unqualified" support for Israel and support for the "Saudi police state." His gratuitous modifiers made it clear that this was anything but unbiased analysis. Say what you will about Saudi Arabia, one thing it is not is a "police state." A theocracy, yes; guilty of egregious human rights violations, yes again; but a police state, no. Further evidence that he long ago exchanged his CIA professionalism for Paulite propaganda, Sheuer's comments simplistically assumed that the Muslim world is monolithic, which it is not. While the Saudi and Israel issues might resonate with some Muslim populations, it has little gravitas in South Asia where I face the Islamist threat; where 30 percent of all Muslims live, and which includes countries with the second, third, and fourth largest Muslim population. These are substantial numbers and organized communities.
While panning Israel is the same sort of pastime there as it is in Europe, it does not generate much heat among most Muslims in the region where the Taliban thrives. One hears more passion about the Babri Mosque than about Al Aqsa. One of those Muslim governments, in fact, recently asked me to help them build relations with Israel, noting: "At one time, our people felt kinship with the Palestinians, but that is no longer the case and they recognize that working with Israel is much better for them."
According to direct testimony by Muslim individuals and officials there, our policies of weakness have recruited more to the Islamist cause over the past three years than anything else. For them, it is a matter of survival and where they are most likely to land on their feet. They still tell me that they are not going to end up like the Iranian revolutionaries who "America" encouraged then abandoned. And I never once heard them mention Saudi Arabia except within the context of expatriate employment and mosque funding.
Scheuer's Mearsheimer-Walt like shibboleth of a pro-Israel lobby somehow controlling US foreign policy is more a discredited assertion than a legitimate position, not even requiring credibility to be used. When the Bangladeshi candidate for the Organization of Islamic Conference presidency lost out to his Turkish rival, he blamed his defeat on: "the Zionists." No lie; you just can't make up stuff like that. Scheuer must also have missed a recent article in the Chicago Tribune that cited a study of census data. It prominently asserted that the third largest religious group in Illinois is Islam. Yet, Illinois is home to arguably Israel's most reliable supporter in the US Senate: Mark Kirk. Citing politics as Scheuer did is counterintuitive given the decades of figures of Jews' overwhelmingly vote for the party that more polls show is moving away from its support for Israel -- Democrats. And while pro-Israel sentiment in the US goes well beyond Jews, it is most closely associated with Jews. Scheuer's assertion about political dominance falls apart without reliance on old canards about some mystical powers or large amounts of money Jews have to control world events.
As the political season here ripens and conservatives try to unite to prevent another four more years of Barack Obama, there is no question that Ron Paul will have a place at the table in Tampa Bay come August. When he does, we need to distinguish the wheat from the chaff that he will be bringing with him.