John McCain’s campaign is seizing on a Hamas adviser’s recent “endorsement” of Barack Obama[*], trying to suggest that the Democratic front-runner brought the unsavory praise on himself.
In a fund-raising letter sent out Friday, the McCain campaign excerpted the words of Hamas political adviser Ahmed Yousef, who in an interview Sunday with WABC radio and WorldNetDaily said the terrorist group supports Obama’s foreign policy vision.
Aaron Klein on FOX News:
I think it’s very legitimate. I think that it’s important to understand how the enemies of the United States of America…how the enemies of the west view the presidential campaign and who they favor. I think it could be legitimate…I think that this is a very legitimate campaign issue.
John McCain at the same link:
It’s…a fact that the spokesperson from Hamas said that he approves of Senator Obama’s candidacy.
Right Wing News chimed in:
Now that prominent members of Hamas are endorsing Obama, can Hizbollah and Al-Qaeda be far behind?
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.
The Web commentary was one of several posted by Taliban or al-Qaeda-allied groups in recent days that trumpeted the global financial crisis and predicted further decline for the United States and other Western powers. In language that was by turns mocking and ominous, the newest posting credited al-Qaeda with having lured Washington into a trap that had “exhausted its resources and bankrupted its economy.” It further suggested that a terrorist strike might swing the election to McCain and guarantee an expansion of U.S. military commitments in the Islamic world.
[…] [T]he comments summarized what has emerged as a consensus view on extremist sites, said Adam Raisman, a senior analyst for the Site Intelligence Group, which monitors Islamist Web pages. Site provided translations of the comments to The Washington Post.
“The idea in the jihadist forums is that McCain would be a faithful ‘son of Bush’ — someone they see as a jingoist and a war hawk,” Raisman said. “They think that, to succeed in a war of attrition, they need a leader in Washington like McCain.”
The idea that we should care what some hate-filled fringe groups have to say about our election is obviously ridiculous. Stormfront probably supports McCain and I don’t doubt that somewhere the Zapatistas have a humorously written communique that offers tepid support for Obama. The only reason I would give a crap what these people think is if, as with the right over Hamas, there is some short-term tactical benefit from ginning up an outrage party. If rightwingers find themselves sitting on a smoking petard it ain’t nobody’s fault but theirs.
Incidentally, in this case I don’t think that al Qaeda’s internal conversations are faked for American consumption. They did attack America to provoke another Afghan war. Bin Laden’s group did want America out of the mideast, yes, but they saw a crippling occupation fight as a necessary first step. These guys grew up kicking around Soviets and they thought that they could do the same thing to us. That didn’t work out as well as they hoped, but for reasons that future historians will lose hair trying to puzzle out the Bush administration decided to replace an almost certain win with a magnificent, epic fail.
Five years and eighteen torture scandals later we still have over 150,000 American troops in Iraq. We’re broke. Thousands of Americans are dead and the world hates our guts. The question of whether we caused more death and torture per annum than the guy we replaced is a matter of bookkeeping. We took out one of al Qaeda’s least favorite secular dictators and we keep trying to pick a fight with Shiite Iran, a regime that al Qaeda hates even more.
Osama bin Laden will die of old age. In all it is hard to imagine a credible aternative that would have promoted al Qaeda’s strategic goals (insofar as they had any) better than post-Iraq Bush administration. The president’s extreme advisors, who almost always outmaneuvered cautious voices like Colin Powell, relentlessly advocated poorly planned invasions that would leave blood and American bootprints on Islamic holy sites. So did al Qaeda. The “more rubble, less trouble” line that Glenn Reynolds coined, and which accurately describes the neocon perspective on the mideast, dovetails exactly with what al Qaeda hoped to make us do. For Sunni anarchist cults like bin Laden’s ‘creative destruction‘ is practically a mission statement.
The hysterical broad-brush islamophobia typified by Richard Perle and the Malkinites is incredibly useful if you hate America and want to see it fail. Our best bulwark against domestic terrorism is American cosmopolitanism. It is the main reason why not a single muslim American turned to terrorism [Update: or, to be more accurate, extremely few] while more culturally closed European countries continue to turn out radicals in frightening numbers. The extremist preacher doesn’t have much pull on your average teenager when he can step out the door and be just as American as his neighbor from Vietnam. However, enough hate at school, on the television and in crude epithets spray painted on the family house will eventually make him see things differently.
Hysterical islamophobia blinds us to allies and pressure points. For example, Iran hates al Qaeda as much as we do. They convinced the Northern Alliance (an Iranian ally) to work with us against the Taliban. They offered meaningful support after 9/11. Picking a fight with both at the same time is silly. Dirty icky communism did not keep us from wedging China away from the Soviets.
Still, who gives a shit what online takfiris say to each other. Their vote doesn’t count. The only relevant point is the reminder that the Bushist movement that conquered the Republican party and Rightwing blogs, while no doubt putting first priority on the fight against al Qaeda**, has in effect accomplished the reverse.
(*) Hamas revoked the “endorsement” after Obama reiterated his support for Israel.
(**) A less generous observer would note that GOP policies, banking on fear and dishonest liberal demonization, seem better designed to fight the next election.