Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Why would Al-Qaeda support John McCain?

WaPo reports on posts that have been appearing some Al-Qaeda websites:

"Al-Qaeda will have to support McCain in the coming election," said a commentary posted Monday on the extremist Web site al-Hesbah, which is closely linked to the terrorist group. It said the Arizona Republican would continue the "failing march of his predecessor," President Bush. . . .

In language that was by turns mocking and ominous, the newest posting credited al-Qaeda with having lured Washington into a trap that had "exhausted its resources and bankrupted its economy." It further suggested that a terrorist strike might swing the election to McCain and guarantee an expansion of U.S. military commitments in the Islamic world.

"It will push the Americans deliberately to vote for McCain so that he takes revenge for them against al-Qaeda," said the posting, attributed to Muhammad Haafid, a longtime contributor to the password-protected site. "Al-Qaeda then will succeed in exhausting America."

That is Al-Qaeda's overall global strategy in a nutshell. Al-Qaeda doesn't want a cool headed US president who is not trigger happy. Al-Qaeda needs McCain.

In fact, both organizations' aims are in alignment. Polling data indicates that the one concrete hope for the McCain campaign victory on November 4 would be if McCain could find some enemy to make a last-minute stand against: Al-Qaeda, Iran, Russia, China. Any will do.

But preferably, the terrorists. Engaging in tough-talk about terrorists would be a far less complicated affair than justifying war with Iran. A pre-election terror attack would likely boost the McCain campaign considerably. Back in February I blogged that an Al-Qaeda attack would be a godsend for McCain. And I wrote that Obama had better prepare for this scenario:
Obama would be well advised to position his campaign to meet the challenge of the unexpected.
Unfortunately, Obama does not appear to have effectively positioned his campaign to counter this eventuality. Obama has done little to differentiate himself from McCain on foreign policy issues generally. One obvious example: Obama has not exposed the dangers posed by McCain's reckless statements concerning Russian aggression. Far from it, Obama later mimicked McCain's position on Russia. Obama has not sufficiently exposed, challenged, and countered McCain's impulsive and potentially reckless hawkishness. Obama has not made the case that McCain is dangerous.

As a consequence, even at a time when Obama is leading by a big margin in the latest polls, most Americans continue to view Obama as "Hawk Light." That is a pity. The advantage to Americans -- and the world -- of having Obama instead of McCain occupy the White House cannot be measured on a simple "scale of relative hawkishness." McCain does not possess various qualities one would seek in a warrior-leader. By contrast, a far stronger case can be made that Obama exhibits characteristics of a successful "Commander in Chief." More on this here.

For the next two weeks, the world may well stand one major terror incident -- or act of war -- away from a McCain presidency.


  1. One of the most unfortunate posts you've ever written.

  2. I suppose if you honestly believe that McCain will make America stronger, make intelligent decisions, appoint the best minds to positions of leadership, and think that Palin will never be called upon to take over the presidency, the idea that Al-Qaeda wants John McCain to win would be hard to accept.

    But keep this also in mind: Militarizing the fight against terrorists inevitably creates new venues for asymmetric warfare -- something the US is not especially good at fighting. Thus, war levels the playing field. Chaos always brings advantages to terror groups because terror group leaders such as Bin Laden understand the language, religion, culture of Mid East societies far better than John McCain or Obama ever will. Terrorist soldiers will always understand the local terrain better than any US marine. Terror group leaders cannot win the peace, but Iraq and Afghanistan show how they can turn chaotic situations to their own advantage.

    If you think McCain is the more likely of the two candidates to resort to war as a means of problem solving, then it's easy to see why terrorists would want him to win.

  3. Obviously an Al Qaeda attack would be great for the Republicans because, for some unknown reason, they are viewed as being tougher than the Dems on defense. I guess many Americans were not alive when JFK turned back the Soviets in the Cuban missile crisis. The Dems are tough when they have to be but not just for the sake of being tough, or a bully. But we might want to be ready for an attack, if not by Al Qaeda then by the CIA pretending to be Al Qaeda. The military/industrial complex does not want an Obama administration or an America at peace. Hopefully, the American populace will not be conned by any attack and change their votes from Obama to McCain.

  4. There is, of course, the idea that Al-Queda doesn't want McCain to win, and so they try to manipulate us by supporting him.

  5. Obama would make the US much more popular in the world, and will find it easier to enter into alliances.

    This is why Al Qaeda is pulling for McCain.

  6. Mark,

    I agree with the points you make.


    If this report concerned a public declaration of support for McCain, then I think a far better case could be made that "reverse psychology" is what's going on here.

    I think the "reverse psychology argument" does not apply to the WaPo report as it is based on information from SITE Intelligence Group, which has reported that there is a "pattern" of comments by Bin Laden supporters wishing for a McCain victory.

    I know that if I standing in their shoes, I would hope for a divisive president, someone likely to continue the Bush pattern of taking unilateral military action.

  7. Concerning JFK in the Cuban Missile "Crisis" -one should remember that he was fully under the sway of his Pentagon advisers,and most assuredly not a 'Dove'. It was his policies that had precipitated a Soviet response to putting US nuclear armed missiles in Turkey, aimed at the heart of Moscow. It's also pretty much a given, in light of recent declassified NSA and CIA documents that the 'Cold War' was a fiction created by the US military-industrial complex to keep the US on a wartime economic policy. The Soviets, according to our best intelligence, didn't have ICBM capability until the late 60s, at the earliest, and in any case only had one or two nuclear bombs that they could deploy (in total) and no working ICBMs, until the domination of the Politburo by the Russian Army and their build up in the 70s. This was directly the result of JFK's refusal to enter into disarmament talks with Khrushchev, throughout his term. Khrushchev lost face and status in the Communist Party as a result of his moves toward detente, and a collaboration of hard-liners and the Army generals took charge. While Kennedy, and his advisers,might have been willing to start WW3 (which they knew the US would 'win') we are all lucky that Khrushchev was bluffing,and blinked first. I don't see much difference between McCain and Obama in terms of their domestic or foreign policy. The Obama advisers are the same old bunch of neocon sycophants that have been hanging around DC since Nixon. Corporate Capitalist Globalism and a permanent wartime economy (at least until the money runs out), at which point they will cut and run to their next victim, taking the assets with them. In 10 more years,the US will be sucked pretty dry, at which point I expect to see them sleaze off to China or India, where the 'pickin's are better'.


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