Did the bin Laden video surprise any of you in any way in particular? I pondered that thing every which way virtually all weekend. The most obvious initial reaction was that his implicit endorsement of Kerry was calculated to have the opposite effect with Americans, helping to ensure a Bush win and a continuation of the clash of civilizations that bin Laden has championed since before 9/11.
But it seems to me that if he really wanted to ensure a Bush victory, he’d have one of his followers blow himself up in a crowded mall in America on a Saturday afternoon. Let’s face it; Americans have short memories. The chief aspect of this struggle that hurts Bush, believe it or not, is the fact that we have not been attacked since 9/11. He is a victim of his own success, and now more than ever, I believe the evidence is in—in the form of that video.
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) gives some clues as to what it’s all about.
Another conspicuous aspect of the tape is the absence of common Islamist themes that are relevant to the month of Ramadan, which for fundamentalists like bin Laden is the month of Jihad and martyrdom. Noticeably absent from the Al-Jazeera tape was his usual appearance with a weapon, and more importantly the absence of references to Jihad, martyrdom, the Koran, the Hadith (Islamic tradition), Crusaders, Jews, and the legacy of the Prophet Muhammad on the duty to wage Jihad against the infidels. For the followers of the Al-Qa’ida ideology, this speech sends a regressive and defeatist message of surrender, as seen in the move from solely using Jihad warfare to a mixed strategy of threats combined with truce offers and election deals.
Perhaps bin Laden sees the enthusiasm for democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq and sees the ultimate writing on the wall. I don’t know, but he certainly can’t be pleased that these countries may just have started themselves on their own long road to sex, drugs & rock-&-roll as rebellious teenager rites of passage.
But no matter the glimmer of hope such speculation may offer, this is exactly the time to increase the pressure on bin Laden and his bands of psychopaths, not back off. The difference is that when Winston Churchill led the British and eventually the US and the world to abandon the Kerryesque “Chamberlain Doctrine” to expunge the NAZIs, and was thanked for his correct vision and steadfastness in 1945 with a landslide defeat by his “grateful” countrymen, the NAZIs were at least still gone. They had been utterly wiped out.
In this case, Al-Qa’ida is utterly demoralized if bin Laden’s video is any indication, and rather than go in for the kill, we’re about to possibly put Neville Chamberlain II in office in America, and if by some miraculous chance he blunders his way into success in finishing off this menace, he’ll get the credit for it.
That bin Laden tape is the best evidence yet that Bush has done exactly the right thing. Not without mistakes, but creditworthy nonetheless.
(I saw so many links to the MEMRI analysis that I have no idea whom to credit, so I’ll credit everyone with a date/time stamp prior to mine.)