Not many American authors can say their book has the approval of Osama bin Laden.
“If you want to understand what’s going on, and if you would like to get to know some of the reasons for your losing the war against us, then read the book of Michael Scheuer,” bin Laden told Americans in 2007.
Americans do not have an understanding of the threats they face from terrorism, according to Scheuer, adjunct professor at Georgetown University and former intelligence officer in charge of the Central Intelligence Agency’s hunt for bin Laden between 1996 and 1999. The career intelligence officer spoke to students at the College of William and Mary Wednesday evening in the Sadler Center’s Commonwealth Auditorium.
Scheuer is the author of the novel “Imperial Hubris,” the book that bin Laden endorses. It highlights his thoughts on the United States’ misconception of current threats and explains why he believes we are losing the War on Terrorism.
“Washington’s Islamic enemy is the stuff of Hollywood farce,” Scheuer said. “The Islamic radicals are the minorities, and they are not the most prevalent threat that we face today.”
According to Scheuer, the three main threats that face the United States in the Persian Gulf today are Iran, Saudi Arabia and organizations like Al Qaeda and its allies. Iran will acquire nuclear capabilities, Saudi Arabia continues to purchase American national debt and has an increasing lobbyist presence in Congress, and Al Qaeda is developing cells all over the world in places such as Nigeria and Mexico.
Throughout his presentation, Scheuer argued that the main problem is America’s lack of understanding about the motives behind its enemies.
“Every president from George Bush Sr. to Barack Obama has told Americans that the terrorists hate us because of our democracy, but this is simply a lie,” he said. “They really hate America because of our past 50 years of intervention in the Middle East.”
To fix this problem, Scheuer suggested that America should take care of its own problems: adapting a new alternative energy program, electing a Congress that is willing to stand up to the wishes of the various presidents and their cabinets, and abstaining from entering foreign wars.
“Foreign policy need but do one thing — protect America and promote the domestic expansion of democracy and the freedoms that we hold dear,” Scheuer said. “This doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t need to fight terrorists and extremists somewhere in the world, but it would prevent us from having to fight them everywhere in the world.”