With the release of last week’s tape from second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri, the collapse of al Qaeda is now complete. In what’s become an uncomfortably familiar spectacle for antiwar activists, authors and politicians, Zawahiri took the Dems’ anti-war talking points of last week and made them his pro-surrender screed this week. Nothing could be more damaging to the causes of both the Democrats and al Qaeda.
This follows on the heels of the latest audio tape from “Osama bin Laden,” who is almost certainly dead. After all, why would he be making audio tapes, which are much easier to fake, when he’s always preferred video to get his message out? Come to think of it, Zawahiri’s tape was also audio-only. Hmmm.
But however damaged their senior leadership is, al Qaeda still has the ability to harm the antiwar left while helping George W. Bush. In his latest single, “Bin Laden” says “The wise ones know that Bush has no plan to achieve his alleged victory in Iraq,” among them the wise John Kerry, whose “no plan” argument he stole.
Referring to the prisoner abuses at the Abu Ghraib penitentiary, the voice continues, “there is no significant difference between these crimes and those of Saddam.” There is no significant difference between that statement and Senator Ted Kennedy’s assertion that “Saddam’s torture chambers reopened under new management: US management.” He manages to discredit the key arguments of the two most powerful voices in the Democratic Party while warming up. Neat trick.
Nor does he limit his plagiarism to politicians. Authors and activists also discover that they’ve been retroactively recruited into al Qaeda’s communications department. When he mentions Bush’s “false and stupid show-like announcement from an aircraft carrier on the end of the major operations,” he sounds exactly like the posters on the Democratic “Daily Kos” blog. When he refers to “the flow of hundreds of billions to the influential people and war merchants in America, who supported Bush’s election campaign with billions of dollars,” he sounds like an International ANSWER press release or a Cindy Sheehan photo op.
These echo tactics are nothing new to al Qaeda. They’ve been making the same huge miscalculations since the Presidential election of 2004, with the same consequences. Just weeks before the election, bin Laden released a new video to his label, al Jazeera, which played like an incoherent teenager channeling the most paranoid corners of the left.
All the favorite tropes were there: Referring to the morning of 9/11, he says, “it seemed to [Bush] that occupying himself by talking to the little girl about the goat and its butting was more important than occupying himself with the planes and their butting of the skyscrapers.” This is a scene lifted straight out of Michael Moore’s latest movie. Moore himself gloated about it on his website, not realizing that bin Laden’s is the last endorsement on earth that he needs. Now, Democrats can’t stay far enough away from him.
Bin Laden also referred to Halliburton by name, neutralizing another favorite target of Bush’s opponents. He even went so far as to speak directly to the American electorate when he said “every state that doesn’t play with our security has automatically guaranteed its own security.” In other words, he created the appearance that a vote against Bush was a vote for himself. This spectacular misreading of the American character may well have handed Bush the election.
The Soviet Union was never this stupid. Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev and Co. knew that if they referred approvingly to the U.S. Communist Party in their speeches, they would destroy it. Similarly, they never compromised the actions of their “useful idiots,” in Lenin’s famous phrase, by quoting pro-communist or anti-capitalist Americans to make their points. They understood that these idiots were much more useful to them if they appeared as unconnected with Moscow as possible.
This essential truth of propaganda has completely escaped the notice of what’s left of al Qaeda’s leadership. When they borrow from Democrat Congressman John Murtha’s antiwar speeches, they make him look like a traitor. Every time they refer directly to scenes from Fahrenheit 911, they make Michael Moore look like their own personal Leni Reifenstahl.
And bin Laden discredits sympathetic journalists just as effectively. When he mentions Peter Arnett’s work with approval, Arnett loses whatever shreds of credibility he has left. He says of Robert Fisk, “.the latter is one of your compatriots and co-religionists and I consider him to be neutral.” What could possibly be more damaging to a Western journalist than to receive the stamp of “neutrality” from a movement that murders even antiwar reporters?
It seems like every time someone comes up with an argument against the war, al Qaeda co-opts it and in doing so, neutralizes it before it has a chance to gain traction with the American public.
All of this plays directly into the hands of the Administration, by discrediting Bush’s domestic opponents. They probably can’t believe their luck. With enemies as stupid and self-defeating as these, who needs friends?