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Saturday, October 30, 2004

President Bush: Bin Laden's enabler.

William Saletan writes:

The only thing that keeps a clear majority of us from recognizing Bush as the worst president in memory is that history has graced him with such an ugly adversary. Bush hasn't had to do anything well. All he's had to do is point out that he's on your side and that the guy on the other side is a mass-murdering lunatic. For a blissful month and a half, we managed to cut through that shtick and notice how badly Bush has run the country. Now Bin Laden has brought the shtick back. Bush can talk about his values instead of his record. He can stop running against John Kerry and go back to running against people who hate America and murder children. . . .

[Bush and bin Laden] turn out to be well-matched. Bin Laden pisses people off and drives them into the arms of Bush. Bush pisses people off and drives them into the arms of Bin Laden. Bush keeps Bin Laden in business; Bin Laden keeps Bush in office. With clear intentions and lousy judgment, Bin Laden has shown up on the eve of our election, full of the same impenetrable self-assurance Pat Robertson noticed in Bush. No doubt Bin Laden hopes to assist, or at least take credit for, the president's defeat. And no doubt the results will be counterproductive. I just hope they aren't counterproductive enough, because this is one codependent relationship the world can't afford.

("Can Bin Laden Keep Bush in Office?' William Saletan, Slate 10.30.04)

Who is Bin Laden campaigning for?

Update 11.1.03: Counterterrorism expert Daniel Benjamin writes:

By putting his bloody fingerprints on the election, Bin Laden has positioned himself for some bold post-Nov. 2 propaganda. If John Kerry wins, the Saudi will surely claim credit for regime change in the United States, much as jihadists have gloated about the fall of the Spanish government after the Madrid train bombings in March. If George W. Bush is re-elected, Bin Laden will crow to the Muslim world that the electoral results confirm what he has been saying all along: The American people are determined to inflict harm on Muslims, occupy their lands, and destroy Islam. They've reaffirmed it, he will say, by re-electing the man who invaded Iraq.

No doubt Bin Laden enjoyed brandishing the threat of another "Manhattan," as he calls 9/11, in our faces, but Americans aren't the primary audience for this tape, however instinctively we imagine that we are. For Bin Laden right now, Muslim viewers are the key targets. He aims to persuade them to recognize his role in the election as a way of bolstering his claim to be the true leader of the umma, the global community of believers. (That helps explain why he showed up in robes instead of fatigues and behind a podium instead of on a desolate mountainside. It's hard to play the role of caliph of 1.2 billion people if everyone knows you're stuck in a cave in Waziristan.)

("Osama's Campaign Commercial," Daniel Benjamin, Slate 10.31.04)

Copyright © 2004 by Philocrites | Posted 30 October 2004 at 4:46 PM

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