by McQ | January 25, 2009 6:19 pm
I get a hoot out of things like this. Matt Yglesias:
For years now, liberals have had to put up with basic points about the value of not doing stuff that’s hugely unpopular around the world caricatured as the idea that if we just act nicer, al-Qaeda leaders will lay down their arms. The reality, as Joby Warrick reports for The Washington Post is that when American leadership is popular and respect, al-Qaeda keeps on keeping on. But they have a much harder time getting anyone to follow them:
The torrent of hateful words is part of what terrorism experts now believe is a deliberate, even desperate, propaganda campaign against a president who appears to have gotten under al-Qaeda’s skin. The departure of George W. Bush deprived al-Qaeda of a polarizing American leader who reliably drove recruits and donations to the terrorist group.
With Obama, al-Qaeda faces an entirely new challenge, experts say: a U.S. president who campaigned to end the Iraq war and to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and who polls show is well liked throughout the Muslim world.
Although we’re constantly reminded that Obama has only been at this a week, and we should give him a chance, apparently a week is all that is necessary to watch al Qaeda fall apart.
Prattling on, Yglesias says:
The post quotes Paul Pillar, formerly a CIA counterterrorism analyst, as saying that “For al-Qaeda, as a matter of image and tone, George W. Bush had been a near-perfect foil.” With Obama, things are different. Or, more to the point, with Obama we get a chance to make things different. Absent the right policies, Obama’s appeal will fade. But moving back toward the rule of law, and appointing George Mitchell were steps in the right direction. Moving forward with plans to take our troops out of Iraq will do more.
Obama’s appeal has nothing to do one way or the other with the part of the Muslim world from which the Islamic militants recruit their fighters and suicide bombers. Most of them won’t know or care who the US president is or what he stands for. They certainly don’t care about the rule of law. And the only reason necessary to hate Obama is the fact he is President of the US. Remember, the 9/11 attackers weren’t recruited, trained and deployed after George Bush became president, they were from Clinton’s era when supposedly we were “well respected” around the world.
Despite the Yglesias strawman, the reason that al Qaeda has been reduced to shouting insults is they have had their rear ends kicked for 7 years and have absolutely nothing to show for it. It’s not because of a week of Obama that they’re reduced to that – its because of that so-called “perfect foil” George Bush and the 24/7 war he waged against them that they’re reduced to sitting in caves and shouting their insults.
[Crossposted at QandO]
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