On Syria, former CIA officer says ‘Take the Russian Gift Horse’s Gift’

Former CIA officer Michael Scheuer rarely agrees with status quo Democrats or Republicans on foreign policy, and he is roundly dismissed by some because he is harshly critical of US policy towards Israel.

Scheuer is now weighing in on Russia president Vladimir Putin’s eagerness to take on the Syria problem, in an essay titled  “Take the Russian Gift Horse’s gift and run like hell to North America.”

I  highly recommend everyone read Scheuer’s essay.

I’ve read Scheuer’s writings for years—his books, blog posts, and various media interviews. He is fascinating and regardless of your opinion of him, we can’t deny he knows a great deal about foreign policy. He was the chief of the CIA unit monitoring Osama bin Laden, and had President Bill Clinton acted on Scheuer’s assessments, the Democrat commander-in-chief would have taken advantage of more than half a dozen attempts to kill the world’s most iconic jihadist.

It is possible September 11, 2001 would have been just another day in what is left of our republic.

Media keep their distance from Scheuer for two reasons. First, his stance on Israel wherein he believes the US often acts against our own interests on behalf of that tiny nation. Second, he is neither a Dem nor a GOP loyalist despite what the wingers at sites like Media Matters claim. Scheuer’s outspoken commentary has led largely the left to engage in smear campaigns despite the fact the expert has no fondness for presidents and policy on either side of the aisle.

Scheuer lays out the case on Syria and ISIL in a series of blog posts at his website Non-Intervention.  His arguments include acknowledging President George W. Bush’s folly in going into Iraq and President Barack Obama’s follies in the Libyan mess as well as policy on what media called the “Arab Spring” that turned out to be more like an Arab disaster.

Scheuer wrote: http://non-intervention.com/

“[U]nder Mr. Putin’s auspices, all of the following enemies of the United States will soon be killing each other in the Syria-Iraq theater: Russia, Syria, Lebanese Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, other Syrian Islamist groups, the Islamic State, Turkey, Iran, and Iraq. The killing will be applauded and temporarily supported by the EU’s taxpayer monies, aircraft, and an accommodation with Assad, while it simultaneously and desperately tries to stave off the need send any of Europe’s tiny — except for Turkey — and antiquated armies to the war. Israel’s deal with Russia — which implicitly approves Moscow’s military plans for Syria, as well as Iran’s in Iraq — is surprising because no matter how the approaching disaster ends, it will render terrible news for Israel’s security.”

An ongoing theme in Scheuer’s writings is that when it comes to war, if the US engages, the US should fight to win. As many of us do, he sees the governing class in our country as a direct obstacle to winning any war because war is not, for that class just for self-defense, it is a useful political tool routinely misused.

Scheuer’s writing style is densely packed, and he is notoriously frugal with paragraph breaks, but for the serious reader, his arguments are worth exploring. In a longish passage, he hits on a major difference in how the US waged World War II, winning it, and how we wage war now, as well as Russian folly:

“[T]oday’s Russians wage war much more mercilessly than the West, but these Russians are not Stalin’s boys. They ran out of determination, money, and patience in Afghanistan and gave up after racking-up high but not sufficient kill totals against both Afghan insurgents and civilians. In the first Chechen war they simply were beaten. To defeat the Islamists in Syria-Iraq, the Russian military will have to kill at least as well as the Red Army did to win its war against the Wehrmacht or as the United States Marine Corps did against the Japanese imperial forces. Indeed, the latter probably is the only method of military operation with a good chance of success in fighting the mujahedin. The Marines learned quickly that Japanese serviceman gave and expected no quarter. The Marines mastered that code of behavior and mercilessly killed as many Japanese fighting-to-the-death for the glory of their god-emperor as was required. And even with the Marines’ success, two Japanese cities were rightly incinerated to prompt Tokyo’s surrender and avoid what would have been for both sides a bloody invasion of Japan, an invasion with attendant fighting that would have killed far more Japanese — not least because of their eagerness to die for the emperor — than did the nuclear attacks.”

Whether you agree with Scheuer on every point shouldn’t keep you from reading him. The man is a mine of information about war, foreign policy, and politics. Another theme—I wish younger voters would consider this—is Europe’s weakness when it comes to defense. So many youth, moved by the inane Occupy Democrats misleading propaganda, see Europe as Unicorn Land because of various countries’ social welfare giveaways. Those same youth forget had it not been for the strong military of the US, all of Europe would still use a Nazi salute to greet one another.

Scheuer concludes his essay with this:

“There is not much chance that the current bipartisan governing class will learn a lesson and act appropriately, but an observant American public will watch and recognize that from the beginning of the war in Syria to how and whenever it ends, the genuine national interests of the United States were never once at risk. They can then use that knowledge and vote for the most genuinely America First candidate they can identify in 2016.”

If you’re curious about Scheuer, there’s a fairly well-sourced bio of him at Wikipedia, except for the inherently worthless Media Matters link.

In various interviews Putin did with US media, Obama experienced the same outcome as his predecessor Bush 43. Putin dominated the optics, coming off as a stronger leader who easily neutralized the reality of his KGB past. US media are putty in Mr. Putin’s experienced hands.

(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Sept. 30, 2015)

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About Kay Day

Kay B. Day is a freelance writer who has published in national and international magazines and websites. The author of 3 books, her work is anthologized in textbooks and collections. She has won awards for poetry, nonfiction and fiction. Day is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Authors Guild.
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