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Jihadists for McCain

By Matthew Yglesias on October 22, 2008 at 11:27 am

"Jihadists for McCain"

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Interesting Associated Press report on al-Qaeda’s thinking about the upcoming election:

The message, posted Monday on the password-protected al-Hesbah Web site, said if al-Qaida wants to exhaust the United States militarily and economically, “impetuous” Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain is the better choice because he is more likely to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“This requires presence of an impetuous American leader such as McCain, who pledged to continue the war till the last American soldier,” the message said. “Then, al-Qaida will have to support McCain in the coming elections so that he continues the failing march of his predecessor, Bush.”

Now of course it would be silly for a voter to base his decision on a desire to spite al-Qaeda. The right thing to do is for everyone to reach an independent judgment about whose policies would best advance the public interest. This musing is, however, interesting:

“If al-Qaida carries out a big operation against American interests,” the message said, “this act will be support of McCain because it will push the Americans deliberately to vote for McCain so that he takes revenge for them against al-Qaida. Al-Qaida then will succeed in exhausting America till its last year in it.”

There’s no telling what al-Qaeda is actually capable of doing at this point. But it’s well-known that al-Qaeda does try to influence western elections. We saw it with the Madrid bombings before the Spanish elections, and then we saw it with the October 2004 bin Laden tape that the CIA believes was designed to boost George W. Bush’s re-election fortunes. Al-Qaeda members will probably be able to come up with something to do between now and Election Day to help push things in the direction they prefer.

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