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Does Al-Qaeda Care About Our Elections?

February 11, 2007

And, should we care if they do? 

 I always considered this “a vote for X is a vote for the terrorists” rhetoric to be repugnant.  Never mind the obvious implication that someone is speaking for Al-Qaeda when they make such a statement, they’re probably wrong anyway.  Nevertheless, we got this comment today from one of our friends Down Under: Australian leader: Al-Qaida wants Obama .

If I were running al-Qaida in Iraq, I would put a circle around March 2008 and be praying as many times as possible for a victory, not only for Obama but also for the Democrats.”

To which he was smacked down by Obama’s spokesperson:

“If Prime Minister Howard truly believes what he says, perhaps his country should find its way to contribute more than just 1,400 troops so some American troops can come home,” he said. “It’s easy to talk tough when it’s not your country or your troops making the sacrifices.”

Is Howard right though?  Upon further review, it looks like Osama may be inclined to disagree with him.  For example, here are some excerpts from a tape bin Laden made in 2004:

All that we have mentioned has made it easy for us to provoke and bait this administration. All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qaida, in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies.

hmmm.  It kinda sounds like they want us to stay in Iraq, doesn’t it?  Wasn’t the point of 9/11 more about provoking a response, and less about killing American civilians?  The Iraq invasion was al-Qaeda’a dream come true, a cause célèbre’ to unite Muslims who wouldn’t have otherwise listened to them, right?  Why would al-Qaeda want to Bush to leave office at all?

I think the larger point that gets missed is that we shouldn’t really care about who they want to win anyway.  Why would anyone base their voting decision on what al-Qaeda wants?  (or rather, what the Australian PM says al-Qaeda wants).  Unfortunately , however, people obviously fall for this.

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7 comments

  1. Mr. Howard is grasping for straws because he is well behind his opposition in his bid for re-election. Notice how this coincided with a new poll that highlighted that fact.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070212.waustob0212/BNStory/International/home

    “The issue overshadowed the results of a new opinion poll published Monday showing Mr. Howard, who will attempt to lead his conservative coalition to a fifth term at elections expected later this year, is lagging badly behind Labour opposition leader Kevin Rudd.

    In a nationally televised interview on Sunday, Mr. Howard said Mr. Obama’s plan meant al-Qaeda leaders in Iraq should “be praying as many times as possible for a victory, not only for Mr. Obama but also for the Democrats” at presidential elections in November 2008.

    Mr. Rudd said Mr. Howard’s comments amounted to calling the Democrats “the terrorists’ party of choice” and could harm Australia’s future with a possible Democratic U.S. administration.

    “I’m doing nothing of the kind. I don’t retract anything I said,” Mr. Howard told Parliament in Canberra.”

    Nice site, btw…


  2. Stignasty is correct, the Australian prime minister has been under significant pressure recently on issues ranging from climate change to Gitmo to water shortages. Kevin Rudd has become surprisingly popular for an opposition leader and Labor actually has a chance to defeat Howard. However they still have some way to go, I’ve always believed that people aren’t going to kick out governments when times are good, and times are pretty good here in Australia.

    With more relevance to the topic, two points:

    1) The opposition not only in Australia but around the world has criticised and attacked George Bush so I find Rudd’s whining about Howard’s “interference” in US politics useless. What people need to realise is all the political systems are intertwined, Australia is part of the American imperial system and we have a stake in what happens in 2008.

    2) The larger point here is that Howard is right. What gives life to insurgencies is the idea that the attrition will eventually force the occupation out, by pressuring the occupiers domestic political forces into calling for withdrawal. If that hope evaporates, guerilla wars are unsustainable, as we saw in the earlier days of the 20th century and 19th century when Western armies would just crush native insurgencies because they were either immune or backed by jingoist public opinion, and they also used any means necessary to attain victory and that obviously cannot be done by today’s governments who puport to uphold human rights.

    It does the anti-war movement no good to deny this. We need to accept the fact that withdrawal means a defeat for the United States government and its allies, and a victory for Al Qaeda. That doesn’t mean the occupation is justified, it just means that people need to realise the interests of their government are not always in line with the interests of the greater social good in both Iraq and the US.


  3. by King February 13th, 2007 at 4:43 am

    1) The opposition not only in Australia but around the world has criticised and attacked George Bush so I find Rudd’s whining about Howard’s “interference” in US politics useless. What people need to realise is all the political systems are intertwined, Australia is part of the American imperial system and we have a stake in what happens in 2008.

    Fair enough, but I think the whole “al-Qaeda praying for Obama”, is a little more charged than usual for rhetoric between allies, don’t you?

    2) The larger point here is that Howard is right. What gives life to insurgencies is the idea that the attrition will eventually force the occupation out, by pressuring the occupiers domestic political forces into calling for withdrawal. If that hope evaporates, guerilla wars are unsustainable, as we saw in the earlier days of the 20th century and 19th century when Western armies would just crush native insurgencies because they were either immune or backed by jingoist public opinion, and they also used any means necessary to attain victory and that obviously cannot be done by today’s governments who puport to uphold human rights.

    I agree that a deadline is always going to have that effect, but we can’t stay there forever either. Perhaps part of what fuels the insurgency is the perception that our stay there is permanent.

    It does the anti-war movement no good to deny this. We need to accept the fact that withdrawal means a defeat for the United States government and its allies, and a victory for Al Qaeda. That doesn’t mean the occupation is justified, it just means that people need to realise the interests of their government are not always in line with the interests of the greater social good in both Iraq and the US.

    I’m still not convinced what constitutes a ‘victory’ for al Qaeda. I’m under the impression that this Iraq war was kind of a bonus for them, and are probably aimed at making us suffer more than wanting us to withdraw. Nevertheless, I don’t know if anyone should claim they speak for AQ.


  4. “It does the anti-war movement no good to deny this. We need to accept the fact that withdrawal means a defeat for the United States government and its allies, and a victory for Al Qaeda. That doesn’t mean the occupation is justified, it just means that people need to realise the interests of their government are not always in line with the interests of the greater social good in both Iraq and the US.”

    Bullshit. We aren’t fighting a war against Al Qeada in Iraq. Iraq was a different fight that the Al Qeada one. They don’t “win” if we leave. We don’t lose to them if we leave. That’s a backwards way to look at it.

    I want to know what “winning in Iraq” would entail. Please enlighten us as to what that actually means. Tell me who we have to “beat” to “win” in Iraq. Tell us how it will be accomplished when we are fighing 20 different groups of people who want us out.

    I am so sick of hearing that if we pull out it means we lost. If you beat the shit out of someone and then walk away from the fight, have you lost the fight? Or have you just done so much damage that you end up looking like the asshole you really are, and then someone else has to take care of the situation anyway?

    And opposed to what you believe, it isn’t the hope that Americans will pull out due to a weak stomach, which motivates the insurgents to kill our troops. It’s deeper than that, and using that as an excuse to blackball people who oppose the war is bullshit and takes responsibility away from the ones who are actually fighting us

    . They are fighting us because we are there. Bottom line. Look at their history. They don’t like westerners meddling in their business. You can’t blame the anti-war crowd for this fact. They will fight us no matter what kind of support we show at home, simply because we are there. If 100% of Americans supported the war, the insurgents would still be fighting us. They will fight us for 100 more years until we leave.

    If “winning” the battle is our only goal in Iraq, then we have already lost. You can’t beat an enemy when it has so many faces because there is no one to raise the white flag…If leaving is what it takes to start to actually rebuild Iraq, then the only way to win is to leave. If electing a Democrat as president opens diplomatic ties to the people of Iraq, then we win. If we leave, and the attacks against Iraqi’s are still up, the people of Iraq will turn on those people, because they won’t have us to turn on and blame for the mass numbers of deaths occurring over there.

    I know I never lose when I “pull out”…


  5. Nice site, btw…

    by Stig X. Nasty February 12th, 2007 at 10:45 pm

    Hey thanks buddy! Don’t be a stranger!


  6. arbitrage-ppc

    Great site and interesting reading


  7. […] September 22, 2008 I know it was a year and a half ago, but I bring this question up again, in light of what I saw on memeorandum today: Spies Warn That Al Qaeda Aims for October […]



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