Listening to Team McCain’s press call reacting to today’s Washington Post’s story about a pro-McCain posting on an Al Qaeda-affiliated website, I think Attackerman is right. Panicked is an understatement.
The Post reported:
Al-Qaeda is watching the U.S. stock market’s downward slide with something akin to jubilation, with its leaders hailing the financial crisis as a vindication of its strategy of crippling America’s economy through endless, costly foreign wars against Islamist insurgents.
And at least some of its supporters think Sen. John McCain is the presidential candidate best suited to continue that trend.
“Al-Qaeda will have to support McCain in the coming election,” said a commentary posted Monday on the extremist Web site al-Hesbah, which is closely linked to the terrorist group. It said the Arizona Republican would continue the “failing march of his predecessor,” President Bush.
Scheunemann responded that “while these jihadists are posting gleefully about the financial crisis, the Post barely found time to mention that it’s only Senator Obama [who has] said for financial reasons we need to withdraw from Iraq. John McCain will spend what it takes to win, in Afghanistan and in Iraq.”
Earth to Randy: Drawing the United States into interminable military conflicts in the Muslim world is part of bin Laden’s stated strategy.
Woolsey wasn’t having it, insisting that “it is ridiculous to believe that in its heart of hearts, Al Qaeda wants John McCain to be president. It’s ludicrous.”
If one takes one individual Islamist blogger from one terrorist Islamist blog who has come up with this statement, that it would be good to have McCain in the White House, I think one has to consider the motives. This individual knows that the endorsement of people like him is a kiss of death, figuratively and literally. So it seems to me pretty clear that by making this statement that it would be a good thing for John McCain to be president he is clearly trying to damage McCain, not speaking from his heart. So I must say the overall structure of the debate as one analyzes it this story taken at face value is quite remarkable.
It’s funny how this sort of reverse-psychological strategery applies only when extremists endorse conservatives.
Asked whether Al Qaeda was actually in Iraq before the invasion, Woolsey said that anyone “would be hard put to argue that there was no connection of any kind in a general way between Al Qaeda and the Ba’athist regime.” No, but of course it would be quite easy to argue that there was no substantive cooperative relationship between Al Qaeda and the Ba’athist regime.
As to the question of whether the invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped Al Qaeda, Woolsey only admitted — presumably with a straight face — that “as a result of the way the Bush administration fought the war certainly a lot of hostility has built up to the United States.” Because the manner which we bombed, invaded and occupied their country was just too intrusive, I suppose.
What was most striking to me is the way McCain advisers James Woolsey and Randy Scheunemann simply refused to accept or even seriously address the idea that policies supported by John McCain could have possibly benefited Al Qaeda. The press call was intended to beat back the idea that Al Qaeda might prefer the policies of John McCain, but I think Woolsey and Schuenemann only succeeded in reinforcing why that could be.
Yglesias, Eric Martin, and Democracy Arsenal have more.