Al Qaeda Supporting McCain? No, Not Really
Take, for instance, an article published Tuesday by the Boston Globe, where Washington bureau chief Peter Canellos tries to argue that Osama bin Laden's message just days before the 2004 presidential election taunting President Bush and promising to bankrupt the U.S. (in what appears to be a regular al-Qaeda theme for presidential elections) was really a secret ploy to help get Bush reelected:
So one immediate interpretation of the video was that bin Laden wanted Kerry to win, and was already dancing on the grave of his mortal enemy, President Bush. But as author Ron Suskind revealed in his book "The One Percent Doctrine," the CIA analysts who tracked bin Laden felt that the Al Qaeda leader wanted the opposite result: Bush's reelection.
The analysts speculated that bin Laden believed that Bush's aggressiveness in Iraq, as well as embarrassments such as the treatment of prisoners at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison and at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, had devastated America's image on the "Arab Street," sending many young radicals into Al Qaeda's hands.
How was Canellos able to tap into al-Qaeda's secret 2004 presidential election strategy? He explains that bin Laden's statement must be "decoded as a political document than as a national-security threat."
In other words, we are asked to believe that instead of taking bin Laden's message at face value, the media, aided by the always-ubiquitous unnamed CIA sources, was contending that al-Qaeda had pulled off a brilliant stroke of political jujitsu, duping the American public into another Bush term and scuttling the imminent threat to al-Qaeda of a Kerry presidency.
This is all complete nonsense, of course, but it represents what passes as critical thinking among the Beltway media masses.
The quagmire strategy might still make sense to desktop jihadists like Ahmed from Amman, unnamed CIA analysts, along with the Washington Post and Boston Globe. However, the $10-12 billion spent each month in Iraq is barely a dent in the federal budget bucket and not even remotely responsible for our current economic woes. A more solid case could be made that an Obama presidency, along with the crippling tax increases and $1 trillion in new spending he promises, would be much more conducive to seeing the Great Satan brought to its knees than a continuation of the drubbing the U.S. military has delivered to al-Qaeda in Iraq -- which President McCain, Secretary of Defense Lieberman, and incoming Centcom commander General Patraeus would surely extend to Afghanistan.
This "al-Qaeda for McCain" media narrative also errs in taking seriously Obama's bluster about sending U.S. troops into Pakistan to capture the remaining al-Qaeda leadership. Clearly, Osama bin Laden has assessed the intestinal fortitude of Barack Obama no more highly than that of Bill Clinton. Remember bin Laden figured that a few pictures of dead U.S. soldiers would send America fleeing from Somalia. In that instance, bin Laden was entirely correct, and there is absolutely no evidence that Obama would behave differently. In retrospect, the Clinton Administration was a boon for the global jihadist movement, and its inaction in the face of repeated attacks by al-Qaeda (Khobar Towers, the U.S. Embassy attacks in Africa, and the USS Cole bombing) is what made 9/11 possible.
The argument that the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and the countless newspapers who picked up the story via AP, are trying to advance with their "al-Qaeda for McCain" storyline is akin to saying that Hitler preferred Churchill to Chamberlain -- a patently laughable proposition. John McCain made his policy clear just weeks after 9/11 in a Wall Street Journal editorial:
We have a great many interests in the world that were, until September 11, of the first order of magnitude, and the central occupation of American statesmen. No longer. Now we have only one primary occupation, and that is to vanquish international terrorism. Not reduce it. Not change its operations. Not temporarily subdue it. But vanquish it. It is a difficult and demanding task that will affect many other important interests, favorably in the long run, but in short run, in some instances, unfavorably. That cannot be helped, and we should not make victory on the battlefield more difficult to achieve so that our diplomacy is easier to conduct.
Only in the fairy tale world of establishment media newsrooms would such conviction embolden America's enemies. And only in the same would al-Qaeda leaders be shaken to the bone by the very thought of have to confront President Obama and a Democrat-controlled Congress.