I haven't seen much comment on Michael Scheuer's piece in the Washington Post, which strikes me as odd, because it is combative and provocative. The gist is that in abandoning torture, Obama is acting like a naive dilettante. Scheuer builds his case on the eventuality that we capture Osama, that he knows where and when nuclear bombs are to explode in the US, and that because we don't (or can't, thanks to Obama) torture the information out of him, the bombs go off.
He deals with the debate exclusively in the terrain of such a scenario, so it's not surprising that it's not a particularly nuanced or balanced take on the debate. Indeed, the parts about Obama are absurd:
...Obama gazes upon a globe that he regards as largely carnivore-free and believes that remaining threats can be defused by semantic warfare; just stop saying "War on Terror" and give talks in Turkey and on al-Arabiyah television, for example.The fact that he discounts Obama's promise not to interrogate CIA prosecutors from the get-go is a pretty good indication of bias, and other examples of it flow throughout. The idea that Obama thinks that holding hands, singing kumbaya, and using nicer words alone will defeat Islamic terrorists is a ridiculous, tired caricature. As is the suggestion that pleasing European pacifists weighs heavily on Obama's mind. As is the suggestion that Obama thinks that nuclear destruction of American cities would be a small price to pay for making foreign people like us more. Honestly, such a mischaracterization of Obama's point of view, hyperbolic though it may be, borders on insulting his readers' intelligence. Obama, of course, doesn't think reaching out to the Islamic world comes at the expense of American security, but rather helps ensure it. Scheuer's point would seem to be that Obama falsely conflates the two goals, and needs to forgo the former in favor of the latter. I'd be a lot more disposed to giving his argument serious consideration if his rhetoric wasn't grossly misleading.
Obama and his team will "reluctantly" agree to a congressional investigation of former Bush officials and serving CIA officers, politically targeted indictments from Holder's minions and perhaps even a truth commission to prove that even the United States can aspire to be a half-baked Third World country.
Americans and their country's security will be the losers. The Republicans do not have the votes to stop Obama, and the world will not be safer for America because the president abandons interrogations to please his party's left wing and the European pacifists it so admires. Both are incorrigibly anti-American, oppose the use of force in America's defense and -- like Obama -- naively believe that the West's Islamist foes can be sweet-talked into a future alive with the sound of kumbaya.
So if the above worst-case scenario ever comes to pass, Americans will have at least two things from which to take solace, even after the loss of major cities and tens of thousands of countrymen. First, they will know that their president believes that those losses are a small price to pay for stopping interrogations and making foreign peoples like us more. And second, they will see Osama bin Laden's shy smile turn into a calm and beautiful God-is-Great grin.
Take a look at Obama's campaign speech on terrorism, which, shockingly, includes no mention of kumbaya:
Just because the President misrepresents our enemies does not mean we do not have them. The terrorists are at war with us. The threat is from violent extremists who are a small minority of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims, but the threat is real. They distort Islam. They kill man, woman and child; Christian and Hindu, Jew and Muslim. They seek to create a repressive caliphate. To defeat this enemy, we must understand who we are fighting against, and what we are fighting for.
There must be no safe-haven for terrorists who threaten America. We cannot fail to act because action is hard.
As President, I would make the hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. military aid to Pakistan conditional, and I would make our conditions clear: Pakistan must make substantial progress in closing down the training camps, evicting foreign fighters, and preventing the Taliban from using Pakistan as a staging area for attacks in Afghanistan.
I understand that President Musharraf has his own challenges. But let me make this clear. There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will.
Beyond Pakistan, there is a core of terrorists -- probably in the tens of thousands -- who have made their choice to attack America. So the second step in my strategy will be to build our capacity and our partnerships to track down, capture or kill terrorists around the world, and to deny them the world's most dangerous weapons.
I will not hesitate to use military force to take out terrorists who pose a direct threat to America. This requires a broader set of capabilities, as outlined in the Army and Marine Corps's new counter-insurgency manual. I will ensure that our military becomes more stealth, agile, and lethal in its ability to capture or kill terrorists. We need to recruit, train, and equip our armed forces to better target terrorists, and to help foreign militaries to do the same. This must include a program to bolster our ability to speak different languages, understand different cultures, and coordinate complex missions with our civilian agencies.