Getting exercised over the mind-numbing stupidity exhibited each day on the cable news networks is easily avoided. Just turn them off. Read a book. Go for a walk. Do something… anything else. But occasionally they’re worth watching (in very small doses), if only for their grim comedic value. Tuesday’s Glenn Beck show on Fox News is a case in point. The conservative blowhard spoke with Michael Scheuer, former chief of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit, about Obama’s proposed plan to send 1,500 National Guardsman to the US-Mexico border to combat drug smuggling. But the conversation quickly went off course, ultimately ranging from Scheuer’s views on gun control (Democrats “want guns only in the hands of the government”) to his aggrieved sense of populism. Scheuer, a highly educated guy himself and one who made a career in the elite echelon of the country’s intelligence service, derided how the federal government is run by elitists who care nothing for the common man. “Now the minority–those folks who go to Harvard and Yale and the prestigious universities who think they know everything and who want the government to control everything–are in power. The majority of Americans… are generally neglected in terms of security by the minority that runs this government.” Music to the ears of Scheuer’s Fox audience.
But Scheuer didn’t stop there. When Beck brought up Obama’s strategy against Al Qaeda, the former CIA man launched into a diatribe you’d expect from Jon Voight’s crazy-patriot character on 24, not from America’s former chief Bin Laden hunter. The transcript speaks for itself:
BECK: Do you really, honestly believe that we have come to a place to where those very senior people in the highest offices of the land, Congress and the White House, really will not do the right thing in the end, that they won’t see the error of their ways?
SCHEUER: No, sir, they will not. Not — the only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama bin Laden to deploy and detonate a major weapon in the United States. Because it’s going to take a grassroots, bottom-up pressure, because these politicians prize their office, prize the praise of the media and the Europeans. Only — it’s an absurd situation. Again, only Osama can execute an attack which will force Americans to demand that their government protect them effectively, consistently, and with as much violence as necessary.
It should be said, Scheuer penned one of the best books on Al Qaeda yet in print and really knows his stuff, but one wonders, well, what the hell he was thinking. Sure, people often play it up for the cameras on cable news. It’s entertainment after all, isn’t it? But left unanswered is whether Scheuer, like Voight’s character on 24, truly believes that another terrorist attack is just what America needs to get itself back on track.