Well, Michael Scheuer certainly doesn't pull his punches. As a former CIA officer, he was in a position to know a lot more than most people about what was going on before and after 9/11, in the Middle East and in Washington and Langley. He also reads widely in world history and politics (A favorite author is Machiavelli). His verdict, delivered with a pen often dipped in acid, is discouraging. Basically, he finds all our recent presidents failing their prime duty to (a) understand reality in foreign affairs (b) focus completely on what serves America's interests and ignore anything else. The wellbeing of other states, for instance Israel, is not our concern, and we certainly have no role in trying to export our political system to other countries.
His diagnosis of our current troubles is clearly accurate. I've always been astonished that Bush could get away with claiming that Muslim activists hate us because they don't like out freedom or social structure. As Scheuer points out, they have made it perfectly clear that are not really interested in what kind of society the infidels choose to live in - in fact they are somewhat ambivalent about it, liking some aspects but considering it decadent - but they are infuriated by the presence of non Muslim troops in their own countries. They also feel their oil has been sold off cheaply and the profits have benefited only rich, decadent and corrupt rulers like the House of Saud. And of course there is the one-sided US support of Israel.
However, his prescription is one that many will find far off track. He has a good analysis of some of our military problems as being related to the hangover of a "Cold War" mentality - hostility between well-defined, technically advanced, nation-states, and how this does not fit the Middle East. Well, that's convincing - who was it said that generals are always ready to fight the last war, but not this one? But he thinks that the only way to win the "war on terror" is to apply rapid and overwhelming force. Anything less, he feels, causes an opponent - especially those who are accustomed to living with much violence and respect force - to think you are weak and step up their efforts. In this he considers civilian casualties, while regrettable, of minor importance. For instance, his approach to Afghanistan in 2001 would have been dramatic - reduce Kabul and Kandahar to rubble and strew salt over the remains. Strong hint of using nukes for this. He fully approved of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
He optimistically thinks this kind of action would be a knock-out punch that would save us from further troubles. It's surprising that he doesn't consider what an incredible reaction of horror in the whole world - including our allies - this would provoke. That, he may not care about: but what about the fury throughout the Muslim world, which as he well knows, contains over a billion individuals - three times the population of the US! Also, in 2008, where would you aim such a blow anyway? The Iraq and Afghanistan insurgencies are widely-based and it's hard to see a defined target.
Other weird ideas include sealing off some Middle Eastern borders - has he ever seen those mountains? and our Mexican and Canadian ones, with no particular evidence that these two countries are terrorist entry points. Besides, making the land entry difficult will just make it more attractive to send that little old cargo ship into a major port with something very nasty in its hold.
To me, because there is really no practical defense against that last kind of attack, it makes much more sense to do what Scheuer cannot bring himself, in his macho attitude, to consider: actually address some of the reasons that Muslims are so angry with the US. He seems to understand them well enough. He has just read too many mailed-fist writers in the ancient and modern military fields.
But read this book, because whether you agree with him or not he gives a consistent viewpoint and much fascinating information.