| Monday, February 06, 2006
| A STRANGE SYMBIOSIS...
|BIN LADEN, BUSH BOTH WANT IRAQ WAR TO CONTINUE
A DOZEN DAYS before the 2006 State of the Union Message, Osama bin Laden reached out from some cave halfway around the world to give the president a much needed public-relations boost for the sedonc time in about 15months.
This new appearance by the leader of Al Qaeda came as the president's polling numbers are at a low ebb and he is under serious pressure to pull at least some troops out of Iraq. Bin Laden's earlier appearancd helped re-elect Bush.
BUsh and bin Laden each will get exactly what they want from the latest message, reinforcing the view that both halves of this odd couple really need each other -- and neither wans to quit the other.
The fact is, each plays the role of organizing symbol for the other, strengthening respective political bases. Nothing helps a political leader really his troops more than having a clearly defined enemy.
The American invasion and occupation of Iraq have done more to discredit the United States worldwide than any other acion in our history. From the first shock and awe carpet bombing of Baghadad to the "mission accomplished" speech through the last two years of blood and blundering across the land, most of the world condemned us while more and more of Islam rallied to bin Laden's side.
There are two wars going on in Iraq: a multipronged revolt and a guerrilla style civil war that is partly ethnic and partly political. Even granting the potential salutary effects of democratic elections, we have not even been able to define a victory in either wa.
Rather, the occupation turned Iraq into a new nexus of terror providing a far more fertile training ground and launching pad for the TalibaN. The insurgencies in Iraq continue, while worldwide acts of terrorism are on the increase.
All of which enhance the stature of bin Laden, clearly expanding his base.
'Stay the course!'
There can be little doubt that he wants us to remain there -- and he wants Bush to keep telling the world that this administration will continue to "Stay the course!'
So why would bin Laden make public an audio clip Jan 19 saying, among a host of provocative statements (as translated by the BBC) , "What prompted me to speak are the repeated fallacies of your President Bush in his comment on the outcome of the U.S. opinion polls, which indicated that the overwhleming majority of you want the withdrawal of the forces from Iraq, but he objected to this desire and said that the withjdrawal of troops would send a wrong message to the enemy".
Here and elsewhere in the speech he balsts Bush and endoreses the postion of the U.S. peace movement, then -- boasting of the insurgents successes in teh guerilla war - he proceeds to the ultimate threat:
"As for the delay in carrying out similar operations in America, this was not due to failure to breach your security measures. Operations are under preparation, and you will see them on your own ground once they are finished, God willing".
But he later offers, "We donot object to a long term truce with you on the basis of fair conditions that we respect."
The administration and its right wing echo chamber seemed to take the speech at face value. They gloomed on to it as a vindication of their own "Stay the course" position and used it to attack anti-war Democrats as witting tools of the enemy.
An editorial in the Tribune said: "The reaction to the tape Friday in much of the European press wat that bin Laden , with his boasts of terror sucessess in Iraq and promises of more attacks, did a favor for George W. Bush. The president's critics chafe each time he calls Iraq the central battlefield of the war on terror and not, as many of them believe, a diversion from that war. But bin Laden's relentless obsession with Iraq suggests that he and Bush agree. As Iraq goes, so perhaps, goes that larger war."
So why would bin Laden make such a speecj at this time? Does he really think he is convincing the American public? Is he nuts?
Of course not.
As author Thomas Friedman often points out, nothing in the Middle East dialogue is as it seems, everything is arced and elliptical and sometimes means exactly the opposite of what it says.
Bin Laden fully undertands that he is the most universally despised person in America. He is a master of what used to be called "reverse English" or backspin.
Bin Laden understands that by attacking Bush he enhances him and by seeming to support America war critics he discrdits them in many quarters. In short, he wants Bush as long as possible, he wants Bush to have public support and he wans the occupation to continue for all the reason stated above.
Why do you think he make a video public on Oct. 29, 2004, fully aware that it was only four days before the presidential election, reminding us that he was alive and kicking and still mighty dangerous?
Because he, and most of the world, knew that the so-called war on terror and U.S. security were Bush strongerst suits, and his appearance would outrage Americans and still enhance Bush on Election Day.
On the Firday the video aired, Democrats Dmocracy Corps poll showed John Kerry ahead by 3 points and possibly growing. On Saturday the tracking poll showed an immediate drop of 1.5 points and the next day an even race. We know what happened on that Tuesday.
Similarly, in the course of the past year Bush has been steadily sinking.
In need of PR boost
Our troops are maimed or killed almost every day in Iraq. His attempt to privatize Social Security was topped dead in its tracks. His prescription drug plan is foundering. The economy is still rocky. Unemployment looms larger as bedrock industries such as airlines and atumotive companies flirt with bankcruptcy.
Hurricane Katrina exposed incompetence and perhaps even a bit of insitutional racism in the administration. The president's vaunted political capital is running a deficit.
The latest polls show the public disapproves of his handling of the war; he was forced tomake a token troop reduction just to reduce the pressure. He is losing on the economy, health care and virtually every other issue except homeland security. On that he is still trusted more than the Democrats -- though for how much longer?
Obviously he needed a little PR. Bush beofre the State of the Union message, and bin Laden was there for him with skillfull backspin.
Bin Laden denounces him, and Bush once again can really his troops, shout "stay the course" and denounce the Democratic peaceniks. Most of all he can again ecxho bin Laden's threat to attack us on our homeland and reassure us all that only he can keep us safe and secure.
Bin Laden's re-emergence was so perfect it might as well have been staged by Bush strategist Karl Rove.
(Source: CHICAGOTRIB by Don Rose. A freelance writer and political consultant who has worked for Democrats and Republicans)
|posted by infraternam meam @ 3:16 AM