Sunday, October 26, 2008

Why al Qaeda endorses McCain

The endorsement of John McCain by an al Qaeda-affiliated Web site isnt a surprise to security specialists Richard Clarke, the former White House counterterrorism director, and Joseph Nye, the former chairman of the National Intelligence Council. Both have suggested that Al Qaeda prefers Mr. McCain. Why? The same reason Osama bin Laden wanted Bush in '04:
"From their perspective, a continuation of Bush policies is best for recruiting," said Professor Nye, adding that Mr. McCain is far more likely to continue those policies.
Al Qaeda has simply outsmarted the feeble narrow minded alarmist and arrogant foreign policy of the Bush Administration. Al Qaeda welcomed the war in Iraq as a way to drain America's military resources and economy while building their real base in Afghanistan. Due to this Bush Administration blunder, they have been successful.

Bush obsesses about Islamic terrorism, understandably since he allowed the nation be attacked on 9/11 through gross negligence, he inclines toward military solutions and his antagonistic approach to other nations is an excellent recruiting tool for al Qaeda. In contrast, an African-American president with a Muslim grandfather and a penchant for building bridges rather than blowing them up would give Al Qaeda recruiters much less fertile ground.

McCain represents the cold war mentality, where the American ideological fear of communism led us to mistake every leftist for a Soviet pawn. This myopia helped lead to catastrophe in Vietnam. In the same way today, an exaggerated fear of Islamofascism leads us to overreact and damage our own interests. Perhaps the best example is one of the least-known failures in Bush administration foreign policy: Somalia.

NYT Nicholas Kristof explains:
Today, Somalia is the worlds greatest humanitarian disaster, worse even than Darfur or Congo. The crisis has complex roots, and Somali warlords bear primary blame. But Bush administration paranoia about Islamic radicals contributed to the disaster.

Somalia has been in chaos for many years, but in 2006 an umbrella movement called the Islamic Courts Union seemed close to uniting the country. The movement included both moderates and extremists, but it constituted the best hope for putting Somalia together again. Somalis were ecstatic at the prospect of having a functional government again.

Bush administration officials, however, were aghast at the rise of an Islamist movement that they feared would be uncooperative in the war on terror. So they gave Ethiopia, a longtime rival in the region, the green light to invade, and Somalias best hope for peace collapsed.

"A movement that looked as if it might end this long national nightmare was derailed, in part because of American and Ethiopian actions," said Ken Menkhaus, a Somalia expert at Davidson College. "As a result, Islamic militancy and anti-Americanism have surged, partly because Somalis blame Washington for the brutality of the Ethiopian occupiers."

"There's a level of anti-Americanism in Somalia today like nothing Ive seen over the last 20 years," Professor Menkhaus said. Somalis are furious with us for backing the Ethiopian intervention and occupation, provoking this huge humanitarian crisis.

Bottom line:

The only winner has been Islamic militancy. Thats probably the core reason why Al Qaeda militants prefer a McCain presidency: four more years of blindness to nuance in the Muslim world would be a tragedy for Americans and virtually everyone else, but a boon for radical groups trying to recruit suicide bombers.

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