OK, so who does al-Qaeda really want to win the U.S. election?

Dennis Hastert’s latest comment – http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/09/19/hastert.remark/index.html – has brought up this issue again, if issue it be. I’ve seen a lot of political cartoons slanting it both ways. Osama bin Laden, of course, is not available for comment. My thinking is, he would rather have Bush continue in office because Bush’s policies help his recruiting. OTOH, despite Edwards’ protestations, I don’t think he’ll be quaking in his boots if Kerry wins it because, after all, what can Kerry do to hunt down AQ members that hasn’t already been tried?

Neither. They don’t see or don’t care about the difference between Bush and Kerry, like an American during the Cold War wouldn’t see / care about the difference between Krushchev, Brezhnev et al. They’re both the enemy.

I tend to agree with those who say that al Qaeda probably cares a lot less about the U.S. election than we do.

That said, I also agree that in the last two years of the Bush Administration, Bush’s policy with the Iraq war has done more to recruit for al Qaeda than Osama could ever have dreamed of. After all, Osama sure doesn’t have a $125 billion recruitment budget!

I don’t see the point of all this speculation about who al-Qaeda, or North Korea, or whoever else would want to win the election. Are we somehow obligated to do exactly the opposite of what we suspect our enemies would want? Doesn’t that open us up to a Brer Rabbit maneuver?

No, of course we aren’t. Even if it’s not a Brer Rabbit maneuver, it’s just as stupid to do the opposite of whatever our enemies want as it is to take orders from our enemies. But a lot of Americans are treating this as a relevant question, and they’re not entirely wrong to do so. It does relate to the really important issue of whether Bush or Kerry would be the best choice to deal with the terrorist threat – or at least not to make it any worse.

Diplomacy will do more to harm AQ than our bullets alone. And Bush seems a little light in the diplomacy area. If Kerry were able to garner a little more international support, life would be a more difficult. And international cooperation might not be in AQs best interest.

Beyond that, I suspect they admire John Edwards boyish good looks.

Were you not paying attention to the threads that appeared after the train station bombings in Madrid? If we vote the way Al Qaeda wants us to vote, it’s letting the terrorists win!

</sarcasm, for those who need the pointer>

Probably get myself into hot water here, but I think the subtleties of US politics are mainly beyond AQ…and a large percentage of the world. Whats the real difference between Bush and Kerry from AQ’s perspective? If you get beyond the knee jerk “I hate Bush/Kerry” screed and look at both men from a dispassionate and objective perspective (which I figure AQ has, hating both equally), I think you will find that to an outsider they really don’t seem that different.

Both have said publicly that they will continue the WoT, both have a ‘plan’…and even BEING an American I have trouble differentiating the two plans. AQ wouldn’t care about domestic issues, so thats a wash. I doubt AQ gives a shit who is the next president, unless they want to try an attack in November to disrupt the election…and that would be to demoralize and terrorize, not to change the outcome because they want one candidate over another.


Hastert’s latest comment, along with the general Bush Administration attitude that if you don’t support them you must be a traitor, will do well to further divide the electorate and general population, and actually make it easier for terrorism to flourish overseas, if not also strike again in America.

AQ will not take advantage of the divisions in America because they don’t understand the subtle nuances of American politics, nor should they care. But the black/white divisions Bush & Co keep creating will not escape western educated terrorists who just might convey such dissention to their leaders.

The neo-cons will continue to wrap themselves in patriotic fervor, but fail to understand a fundamental aspect of our true colonial patriot history – united we stand; divided we fall. We are more divided than ever, thanks to Bush & Co.

I think the burden is on the OP to provide evidence that AQ cares. Has AQ ever condemned a specific administration? Any evidence that the change in 2000 mattered a whit to them?

The only specific US policies I’ve ever heard them address were support for Israel (which all US admins do) and US troops on Saudi soil (which, IIRC, are gone). It’s not like they’re demanding the US do something; they object to who we are.

Why don’t we put the burden on Dennis Hastert? He’s the fathead who brought the whole thing up.

According to emails found on the harddrives of two computers bought from AQ operatives fleeing Afghanistan and published in the Atlantic Monthly (“Inside Al-Qaeda’s Hard Drive.” September 2004), Al Qaeda wants Bush to win. Bush has done more to mobilize Muslim extremists than anything else in the past, including Israel. 9/11 was staged as a recruiting tool, specifically in order to goad the US into attacking a Muslim country. Bush is dancing, step for step, to OBL’s tool.

They don’t want Kerry to win because Kerry will be able to work with moderate Muslims, who outnumber the extremists. If Bush were turned out of office, Muslim moderates would be more able to work with the US diplomatically, and might perhaps even be able to deal with the extremists themselves. But Bush has given the entire Muslim world a common enemy, which of course has unified and strengthened them.

OBL’s tool.

HA! Sorry. Funny brainfart. OBL’s tune.

The following interesting article mentions the emergence of what would seem to be Islamist think tanks and propaganda organs associated with al Qaeda, and a message from one of them:

Although some scepticism remains regarding the Abu Hafs al Masri brigades and their relevance and connection to al Qaeda, their take on things is fairly interesting. A search revealed more of the message:

It isn’t a badly flawed argument really. The “cunning to embellish infidelity and present it” would be Kerry’s various promises to engage the world in general, and the Middle East in particular, in improved multilateral diplomatic relations, trying to smooth over the mess caused by the current administration and solve problems by dialogue and negotiation first rather than the foolish unilateralism and aggression that has been such a boon to the terrorists so far.

Bush made it easy for al Qaeda by making the Iraq invasion the top priority, and made it even worse by systematically fumbling the diplomacy in the process. The contention that Kerry could somehow do worse than the abysmal performance to date is nothing more than negative Republican propaganda, very similar to the childish “flip-flop” accusations that have found traction in the hearts of so many lowest common denominators. It’s a sad world where cheap propaganda holds sway over so many.

Much the way they were making such progress before Bush was in office?

And I’m definitely buying that a radical Muslim group was attacking Bush for his “religious fanaticism” :rolleyes:

Seems perfectly likely to me. He’s a fanatic on the opposite end of the scale from them, which makes him twice the fanatic in their eyes.

But that is utterly absurd language for them to use; to call someone a “fanatic” is to attack their fervor, and is what you’d expect from a secularist or a religious moderate. Another fanatic would call him an “infidel” or “spawn of satan” or some such. Saying he takes his religion too seriously is the last thing they’d say.

I can assure you from considerable personal experience, not to mention common sense, that fanatics never consider themselves or their ideologies fanatic. Other groups, even those less extremist, may be freely labelled fanatic, but I have yet to come across a self-styled religious fanatic or fanatic group.

Well, of course. But my point is that the objection the ObL crowd has is not that westerners are too religious; it is that we are either religious in the wrong way, or (far more often in their rhetoric) not religious enough. We’re godless heathens who worship money or sex or something.

What they find most repellent is not western religiosity but western secularism. To the extent and in the ways that Bush is religious – opposing abortion and gay rights, say – those are traits a Muslim fundamentalist would actually agree with. Indeed, if we wanted to mollify them, we’d bring back prohibition and start executing homosexuals and sexually active unmarried women. IMO, an ObL type sees Bush’s failure to do so as proof that he isn’t really a religious man.

YMMV of course.