As Congress considers a $700 billion way out of the current economic crisis, it’s hard not to notice that this sum closely resembles the amount that the U.S. has spent so far in Iraq. (We will have spent far more than that by the time we withdraw.)
Many will remember Osama bin Laden’s November 2004 straight-to-video release where he discussed Al Qaeda’s stratey against the United States, saying it was “easy for [Al Qaeda] to provoke and bait this administration“:
All that we have to do is to send two Mujahedin to the farthest point East to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qa’ida in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human economic and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits to their private companies. [...]
So we are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. [...]
And even more dangerous and bitter for America is that the Mujahedin recently forced Bush to resort to emergency funds to continue the fight in Afghanistan and Iraq which is evidence of the success of the bleed-until-bankruptcy plan with Allah’s permission… And it all shows that the real loser is… you. It’s the American people and their economy.
Anticipating the likely release of a new Al Qaeda video starring either bin Laden or Ayman al Zawahiri — both of whom remain at large, more than seven years after George W. Bush promised to bring them in “dead or alive” — we should remember that, as Ron Suskind reported in The One Percent Doctrine, the CIA’s strategic assessment that “bin-Laden’s [Nov. 2004] message was clearly designed to assist the President’s reelection“:
At the five o’clock meeting, [deputy CIA director] John McLaughlin opened the issue with the consensus view: “Bin-Laden certainly did a nice favor today for the President.”
McLaughlin’s comment drew nods from CIA officers at the table. Jami Miscik, CIA deputy associate director for intelligence, suggested that the al-Qaeda founder may have come to Bush’s aid because bin-Laden felt threatened by the rise in Iraq of Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi; bin-Laden might have thought his leadership would be diminished if Bush lost the White House and their “eye-to-eye struggle” ended.
But the CIA analysts also felt that bin-Laden might have recognized how Bush’s policies – including the Guantanamo prison camp, the Abu Ghraib scandal and the endless bloodshed in Iraq – were serving al-Qaeda’s strategic goals for recruiting a new generation of jihadists.
“Certainly,” the CIA’s Miscik said, “he would want Bush to keep doing what he’s doing for a few more years,” according to Suskind’s account of the meeting.
John McCain has been very clear that when it comes to national security, he would like to keep doing what Bush has been doing for a few more years. That is, he would like to keep jumping at the bait. Remember that when that new AQ video drops.