Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lazy thinking

So, who would Al-Qaeda vote for in the US Presidential elections? Well, apart from democracy being an abomination in the eyes of Allah and all that. Bin Laden made his preference quite clear last time - canvassing furiously, albeit counter-productively, on behalf of John Kerry - but BBC correspondent Justin Webb appears to have spotted a change of heart on the part of crazed Islamic terrorists.
Islamic terrorists want war. They want suffering - among others and their own people alike. They would surely surmise that McCain will give them what they want. Bin Laden himself intervened with what many thought was the effect of keeping President Bush in power in 2004 with that weird tape just before the poll. I think al-Qaeda would back McCain - that is not an argument for or against America backing him, but it seems to me that the vague assumption that the terrorists would back a lefty is lazy thinking...
I have to say that this itself looks rather like lazy thinking to me. What Al-Qaeda want is not war per se but victory - or at least the possibility of claiming victory. A President whose policy is to withdraw American troops from Iraq in the short term would present a much better chance of proclaiming victory than one who wants to go the distance. And while it certainly was the case that Bin Laden's endorsement of John Kerry ended up helping George W Bush, I'm not sure how sophisticated psephologist Bin Laden is, or whether he's got a big swing-o-meter in his cave.
In any event it's a stupid, or as Sir Humphrey would say courageous, thing to say if you're a BBC journalist - it's simply far too easy to misinterpret. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see this ripped out of context over a lot of blogs over the next few days.

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