Yes, I know it wasn’t an “endorsement” in any official sense. Just a report that alQaeda- supporter websites were reflecting pro-McCain views.
As an Obama supporter my initial thought was that this would actually be bad for Obama, because if alQaeda really wanted to influence the electorate to vote for McCain the thing they’d do is make it seem as if an Obama victory would put a smile on Osama’s face.
So I wondered if this might be a kind of double think game going on: that they thought if those foolish Americans think we love McCain they’ll vote for our real choice Obama.
But then I thought, no, that’s too crude. People will see through this double think. It must be triple-think . They’re trying to make people think they’re secretly for Obama (by going public for McCain) in order to conceal the fact they’re really for McCain. (On the other hand “triple think” could also give the same result as “single-think”, aka “sincerity”.). Triple think is where super-sophsitication meets simplemindedness
Could they have broken through to a new realm of complexity–qaudruple think!?
But let’s look at the question in itself without attemting to psyche out some alQaeda websites.
Who would they actually favor? Well, “neither” is the easy answer. There are downsides to both candidates from an alQaeda point of view
Short term McCain might, with his outspoken hawkishness seem more threatneing. But now that there’s not much difference between the two of them on a withdrawal time table and Obama has issued enough vague pronouncements on the end game in Iraq to cover just about anything necessary to preserve the stability Petraeus hath wrought, and indeed, might be the catalyst for Iraqis to solve their internal political problems before we leave, the short term advantage might not be a mjor one.
Obama on the other hand could be a long term disadvantage to alQ. We have yet to wtiness (and, who knows, we still may never will) what I think would be the transformative effect on world opinion of having a non white with African and Asian chapters in his biography as president of the U.S.
For alQ to strike the U.S. right after it’s elected such a President might once again make them the pariah they were in much of the world after 9/11 and before Abu Ghraib turned the world against us. (The impact of the A.G. photographs has grown in retrospect to become an almost ineradicable stain on our image. However disproportionate it might seem to some, it’s a geopolitical reality.)
I’d venture to say that an alQ attack on a U.S. ruled by Obama is far less likely than on an America ruled by McCain however unfair to McCain this might sound. (Life is unfair). I think the global anti-Americanism on which alQ has fed, and survived like the sea that suported Mao’s guerilla fish, would tend to dry up considerably.
Of course it’s lamentable that people make judgements based on skin color, but the thinly disguised but oh-so-obvious racism of so many of those who leave anti-Obama comments on this blog prove it’s a fact of life.
So while it’s really a futile exercise trying to read the mind of mass murderers, that doesn’t mean those minds are incapable of calculating the public opinion effect of who they decide to kill. Zarqawi had to to scold alQaeda in Iraq (when it was too late) because they’d made so many enemies killing Muslims they were hurting the cause locally and world wide. They think it’s a long war too and the election of Obama will mean they may no longer have the atuomatic support of the Third World people who tolerate if they dont cheer for them. It might make all the difference, even if only that a tipster in Karachi, in on an alQ 9/11 scale terrorist plot, might be more likely to want to save the lives of those who live under an Obama presidency than otherwise.
So if the website “endorsements” mean anything at all I’ll go for the triple game: make it seem like they’re playing a crude trick (endorsing McCain to boost Obama) when they’re really engaged in a more sophisticated (but still not very) strategy: endorse McCain to make us think they really like Obama, so we’ll favor McCain, who is the one they’d really prefer.
It’s as simple as that.