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« CIA | Main | Hunger for regime change »

November 23, 2004



The argument that the existence of an Iraqi intelligence operative who helped, and failed, to procure WMD for bin Laden in the late '90s justifies the Iraq war is false, in my opinion.


By the way, have you read all of Imperial Hubris? I took from it a condemnation of the American view on the war on terror rather than finding it overtly political, not in the least actually (very refreshing in this way.) He condemns Clinton for inaction and cowardice and Bush for throwing fuel on the flames. From Scheuer's perspective, both are/were highly misguided and culpable.

Tom Bowler

I have two confessions. First, I haven’t read Imperial Hubris, and I suppose at the risk of undermining my prejudices I ought to pick it up. My point to posting on these news bits about Scheuer is, first to point out the odd behavior of the CIA, and second to point out his apparent contradictions from book to book. But I haven’t read any of them. I’m going on the assumption that the books are accurately quoted.

Second, I was in favor of the invasion of Iraq. I believed then and believe now from the strategic standpoint, deposing Saddam was the right thing to do. Without a change in the political climate in the Middle East, terrorism will continue to thrive, and to think political change will happen through diplomacy is unrealistic. That puts me among those who subscribe to the theory that the war on terror is an actual war, not a criminal justice issue. I think if you see the war on terror as a criminal justice issue, no argument in favor of invading Iraq is going to sway you.


I agree entirely we are fighting a war. As it relates to Imperial Hubris, Scheuer argues we are left with two choices: war, or endless war. Indeed I would say the book's overriding message is that Americans need to come to grips with the substantial and growing threat Bin Laden poses to us in the Islamic world. I would argue, in fact, that the real shame of the reaction to the book and interviews Scheuer has given on television is that his message is being skewed politically. Frankly, if I had to guess, I would actually say Scheuer is a right-leaning Independent--he has kind words for Reagan and his foreign policy approach I would argue is more hawkish than Bush, though in a different manner, Iraq being of course a notable exception. Please pick up the book or take it out from your local library--you won't regret it.

I can be convinced Iraq was the right thing to do but all of my concerns about this particular war that I had as long as 2+ years ago have come true. Your point about the political climate needing to change in the Middle East is an excellent one; the manner in which this is done forms the crux of difference between our favored approaches.

Tom Bowler

The constant refrain coming from Bush about the spread of freedom being America's best defense is all about changing the political climate in the Middle East. This Foreign Affairs article by Michael Doran makes that point. I think our options for political reform in the Middle East are severely limited. Unless we're willing to go along with the destruction of the state of Israel, diplomacy is not one of them. I'll plan on picking up a copy of Imperial Hubris.

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