No, this isn’t an April Fool’s Day joke, although one could be forgiven for thinking that they’ve landed in Bizarro World in watching this interview of Michael Scheuer on CNN yesterday. Newsbusters has the whole transcript, which you will want to read in full, but one particular exchange had my head swimming — and it had nothing to do with anyone carrying water:
CHETRY: But they’re very careful to say it’s the American-led West. That NATO is now fully taking over the operation.
SCHEUER: Well, that —
CHETRY: Yes, our firepower was used in the beginning, but that this is a coalition that includes Arab states.
SCHEUER: That may fool some Americans. It’s not going to fool the people who sympathize with bin Laden and other Islamists. This is really a U.S.-led operation. And you talk about Arab states that are involved — the Arab states are tyrannies that are hated by their own people. This is — this is a piece of theater set up by Mrs. Clinton and Mr. McCain and the bipartisan group that loves to intervene abroad. In the Muslim world, this is Americans killing Muslims again and it looks like it’s for oil.
CHETRY: I just want to ask. Are you trying to have both ways in saying that, OK, these are tyrannies that hate their own people, well, that’s why we’re helping because in Libya, it was the people that wanted Gadhafi out, that they were tired of it. So, weren’t we then supporting Islamic democracy, I guess you could say, in these countries where they’re tired of totalitarian rule?
SCHEUER: If we were supporting Islamic democracy, that would be one thing. But if you listen to Mrs. Clinton and especially rather crazed Ms. Rice at the U.N., this is all about democracy in a world where democracy is not going to take hold.
It should be noted that Scheuer was no fan of the war in Iraq, either, mainly for the same reasons. But Kiran Chetry’s sudden devotion to “Islamic democracy” is noteworthy, even apart from being an oxymoron. She seems to mean “Arab democracy,” but even that only makes sense if the rebels are some sort of known force for democracy of any sort — say, like the Green Revolution in Iran. No one knows who or what the Libyan rebels represent.
And on that point, there was a lot more reason to depose Saddam Hussein for “Arab democracy.” The Kurds in the north (not Arabs, of course) had already established a stable representative government, and Iraqis both inside and outside of the country had organized a government-in-exile structure that gave us a much clearer indication that democracy was a viable endgame. For all of that, I don’t recall Kiran Chetry defending the Iraq war on behalf of “Islamic democracy,” or Christine Romans, either, despite Saddam Hussein’s arguably more despotic and cruel regime and our twelve-year standoff with Baghdad under his rule.
All of this goes to Scheuer’s point about carrying water — which is probably what embarrassed Romans into terminating the interview.
Update: Fixed Newsbusters link.