Friday, October 27, 2006
One minute closer to the hour of your doom:
Mike Scheuer, he of Alec Station, Through Our Enemies Eyes, Imperial Hubris, the bin Laden hunter above them all, is voting Republican in 2006. I've been baffled by Scheuer in the past, but this is more than a mistake, it's a betrayal of what he believes.

For Scheuer, this is The Case:
If Americans vote for what sounds like sweet reason from the Democrats, bin Laden and company will rejoice. What they will hear is the death knell for any prospect of effective U.S. military resistance to militant Islam. With the Republicans out, the Islamists will be confident that Democrats will deliver the best of both worlds: less emphasis on military force and a rigid maintenance of U.S. foreign policies that are hated with passion and near-unanimity by 1.3 billion Muslims. If Osama approved of music, he would be whistling "Happy Days Are Here Again!"
This is madness! Mike, please -- you know UBL wants us in Iraq. We know this because al-Qaeda says so, and you're the one who, wisely, has always warned us to pay close attention to al-Qaeda's stated wishes. Should we give UBL what he wants, or withdraw from Iraq to leave al-Qaeda to the tender mercies of the Iraqi Sunnis while we redouble our efforts to destroy their camps, disrupt their finances and stop the appeal of their message? Those are the stakes
in this election.

To translate something from the Scheuer-ese that may be a bit obscure, when Mike says the Dems will provide "a rigid maintenance of U.S. foreign policies that are hated with passion and near-unanimity by 1.3 billion Muslims," he means things like support for Israel. And he's right: the Democratic Party will support Israel. Of course, if that sort of thing bothers Mike, he should ask himself why it's preferable to vote for a Republican Party that will support Israel blindly, on top of doing all sorts of things that UBL likes without actually destroying al-Qaeda. Please, Mike, can't you see this?

One last word. In 2004, I was having drinks with a former Democratic leadership aide who was interested in all my reporting on the low-intensity conflict between the White House and the CIA. Several beers into the evening, the aide turned to me and asked, "Why won't the CIA just make it easier on us and take him down?" (The aide meant politically; he didn't mean the Agency should just cap Bush.) I told him that's just not what the CIA does -- if Bush won reelection with a CIA in actual open revolt, it would be screwed. (It was screwed anyway.) But Scheuer's op-ed goes a long way toward demonstrating the aide's broader point: how difficult it is for people with Republican or conservative inclinations of a Reagan-era vintage to break with the party, even on the most important issues they themselves believe are out there.
--Spencer Ackerman