Scheuer is a leftist, Scheuer is a worshipper of Osama bin Laden, Scheuer hates America... While a couple of Amazon's low-star reviews are well-thought out, I'm utterly baffled by most of them.
In "Imperial Hubris" Michael Scheuer does (for the most part) what a good intelligence analyst is supposed to do, he reports on the state of affairs and their drivers. His main criticism is that America's foreign policy is not driven by available information that should educate policy decisions. America, in the Middle East, is repeating the errors of Vietnam where policy makers committed rookie mistakes starting with not understanding the enemy. In OBL we see a penny-ante terrorist where we should see a cunning warrior inciting and championing a fight for a cause he believes is worth his own life.
While the analysis makes sense, Scheuer goes off-piste in offering prescription for policy makers (what a good intelligence analyst is not supposed to do, but we readers want anyway). While most of his recommendations are sensibly vague (e.g., understand the enemy better), others appear to contradict the lessons he's tried to get across (e.g., full-blown war against the insurgents without regard to civilian casualties, ignoring his own point that we're not at war with a nation-state - after all, a key tenet of Mr Scheuer's book is that Muslims hate us for what we do to them, not for our freedoms or beliefs).
An insider, Mr Scheuer is damning of America's Middle East policy, the half-baked strategy for fighting a determined enemy, and the stupidity mustered by decision makers in tactics deployed. It's an eye-opening and frightening critique.
It would be interesting to see a sequel to this now that President Obama has been in office for a year: Are we (in his opinion) just getting more of the same? Has more thought and intelligence been put into our Middle East strategy? Is the Afghan "surge" a policy change we can count on? Mr Scheuer released another book several months ago, but it looked like a rehash of "Imperial Hubris". I'd like to see something discussing how the new Commander-in-Chief is doing - is there any reason for optimism, or are we dooming ourselves to repeat history's mistakes....Continua