After Tom Ridge announced yesterday that "Al Qaeda is moving forward with its plans to carry out a large-scale attack in the United States in an effort to disrupt our democratic process," a reporter asked him peevishly: "Sir, once again you're saying that al Qaeda wants to disrupt the democratic process. There are some, you know, who will interpret that as the administration sending a subtle message that a vote for John Kerry is a vote for Osama bin Laden."
Why do reporters find it so implausible that Bin Laden might prefer someone other than Bush in the White House? Do they think bin Laden is rooting for Bush's reelection? Do they think that al Qaeda's propagandists even as they pour scorn on Bush are meticulously neutral about the outcome of the presidential election? Unless bin Laden and al Qaeda are hoping Bush gets a second term, it is plausible to conclude that they would prefer a non-Bush administration.
The Democrats are the party of national insecurity, the party of quasi-pacifism. John Kerry and John Edwards, as two liberal lawyers with ACLU views, embody these traditional tendencies in the party. Why wouldn't bin Laden prefer them to Bush? They are easier opponents.
Would it have been unreasonable to say that bin Laden and al Qaeda preferred Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to Jose Aznar? Were they hoping Aznar won reelection? Al Qaeda operatives didn't lick campaign envelopes for Zapatero, but they did, according to passages from an al Qaeda textbook reported by Agence France Presse in late June, intend for him to win. They knew that a pre-election Madrid bombing would propel the socialists to victory. "We consider that the Spanish government cannot suffer more than two or three strikes before pulling out [of Iraq] under pressure from its own people," said the textbook. "If these [Spanish] forces remain after the strikes, the victory of the socialist party would be near-guaranteed and the pullout of Spanish forces from Iraq would be on its agenda."
In a taped statement in April, bin Laden spoke of seeking a "truce" with western leaders. Is it implausible for him to conclude that the liberal Zapateros of the world are more open to such talk than conservatives? The left's appeasers have cut truces with fanatics before.
Liberals continue to say that Bush's war has "confirmed" bin Laden's rhetoric against America. Shouldn't this encourage bin Laden? The only thing that confirms bin Laden's rhetoric is the overheated liberal rhetoric confirming it. "This war makes millions of dollars for big corporations, either weapons manufacturers or those working in the reconstruction [of Iraq], such as Halliburton and its sister companies," reads like a press release from Terry McAuliffe's office. But bin Laden said it. If bin Laden were to review Michael Moore's movie for al-Jazeera, what could he pan in it? Not much. Bin Laden should feel entitled to his view of Bush if the wild liberal rhetoric in the Democratic Party is true.
It cannot have been lost on bin Laden and al Qaeda leaders that liberals in America last week called for the release of two terrorists. The left wants Jose Padilla, caught plotting attacks on America with al Qaeda, released because he was seized in Chicago instead of on a foreign battlefield, and Yasr Esam Hamdi, captured fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan, released because he was born in Louisiana. The ACLU applauded the Supreme Court for going so far as to call for his "immediate release." Both Padilla and Hamdi are "citizens," according to the left, whose civil liberties, the liberal reasoning goes, have been so violated that releasing them is more just than holding them even if they are guilty.
Liberals who can extend habeas corpus to al Qaeda are not beyond a "truce," and bin Laden knows it.
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