Let’s think about that for a minute. The last time I checked those guys who attacked us are sitting snug in their Pakistan safe haven while America spends its blood, treasure and credibility stirring chaos in a country that bin Laden meant to chaosify himself if we hadn’t done it for him. Bin Laden attacked America dreaming that it would tie us down in a bloody war of occupation. He had an outside hope, kind of a three-wall bank shot, that we’d manhandle civilians badly enough to inflame the muslim world.
We could stay in Iraq or we could leave. Either way we have a wrecked army, no credibility and just the kind of chaos in Iraq that bin Laden couldn’t dream of accomplishing without our help.
It’s hard to deny that Republicans and radical Islamists have a symbiotic relationship that bin Laden would sorely miss. When al Qaeda wants to sell the idea that the west is at war with Islam, what could help more than prominent administration figures reflecting and reinforcing the terrorists’ medieval rhetoric almost word for word? Synchronicity! It’s sadly comical that the rightwing screamosphere and their political allies still have not figured out that you don’t effectively oppose someone by joining the fight on their terms.
More than rhetoric, the GOP-al Qaeda marriage of convenience really hinges on fear. Terror, after all, is the point of terrorism. It’s simple psychological fact that fear is a terrible state of mind for decision making. If you want an enemy to make a rash decision that catastrophically hurts their position the best thing you can do is scare the hell out of them. Bin Laden planned to draw America into an Afghan war that could wrap up America’s activities abroad as effectively as he’d done to the Soviets, or just drive out of the mideast altogether, by provoking us into lashing out in fear.
He pretty clearly screwed that pooch on that bet, but after the Afghan setback hits just kept on coming for Osama bin Laden. How could he know that the Bush GOP also thrives on fear in America? Iraq was like manna from heaven. Abu Ghraib a gift. Terrorists don’t really hate America for our freedoms (they usually cite Israel and our support of dictators like Murbarak and the Sauds) but our open, easy-assimilating society is still a problem. Unlike European muslims who live under a constant cloud of suspicion and daily reminders of their own alien-ness, those in America often mix into the melting pot before the ink dries on their green card. Our accomodating attitude makes it much harder to take the radical clash-of-civilizations message seriously. Losing that edge over Europe (thanks, Michelle Malkin!) is great for fundies and very bad news for Muslim, how do you say, liberals.
What is the ultimate policy agenda of fear? Surveillance, unrestricted police power, torture, rigged trials and unlimited detentions. As the famous National Review cruiser put it,
“The liberals don’t believe in the constitution. They don’t believe in what the founders wanted – a strong executive,”
In reality hyperpowered executives usually make stupid or self-serving decisions that don’t serve the national interest in any way. That’s why the founders didn’t trade one king for another. We can even test the point – having had its way without the faintest hint of oversight the Bush admin has acted as the ultimate Strong Executive for six plus years. How is that rightwing utopia working out for us? Every Bush initiative I can think of has turned out no better than if we’d assigned the same job to six or seven functionally retarded chimpanzees. Fear breeds unrestrained executive power, unrestrained power leads to boneheaded ego–driven decisions, graft and endless embarrassing screwups.
So FOX wants to know who al Qaeda supports in the election. The answer should be obvious. They’re terrorists. Al Qaeda wants fear to win.
Four more years.