Monday, November 27, 2006

bin Laden's Attempts to Influence U.S. Elections

Drum quoting Suskind here. (Costing about 15 seconds on Google.)

Now, though I agree with Myca that this "bin Laden likes you best!" "Nuh-uh--he wants to have ten thousand of your babies!" etc. etc. crap really should stop, I would like to point out that I thought about linking to this when it came out, but refrained from doing so, and am only doing so now because somebody around here (scowls briefly at tvd) has a kool-aidy lookin' moustache on when it comes to this particular subject.

It really does seem to me that the right has a tendency to be there firstest with the mostest when it comes to associating the other party with our enemies. Dems weren't just misguided during the cold war, they were closet reds; they're not just misguided now, they're basically the American arm of al Qaeda. If space aliens ever invade, I'm sure the right will say that Dems were their advance force.

Now, such accusations are annoying enough even if merely false...but when the best available evidence actually seems to indicate that it's the GOP that OBL hearts best...well, at that point the charges become downright infuriating.

Besides, is anybody here really inquiring honestly into this question? I mean, could anything really convince Republicans that OBL is rooting for them? I hate to admit it, but it'd take a hell of a lot of evidence to convince me that he was rooting for the Dems. A lot of this is probably just bias, but some of it has to do with background theories. Believing that Bush's policies have been disastrous, and believing that OBL supports policies that are disastrous for the U.S., it's obvious why I believe that OBL favors Bush's policies. Republicans will reason similarly to the opposite conclusion.

In fact, one way to get an independent evaluation of Bush's policies would be to get OBL's honest opinion of them. Which, of course, is a fairly hard thing to do. His opinions are hard to pin down in part because we face an interpretational Holmes-Moriarty problem. But I've muttered about all that before.

But, all that having been said, those who know the most about OBL have concluded that he released his final 2004 tape in order to help Bush get re-elected.


Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

I suppose you were drafting this when I posted the below elsewhere. You can answer the Clinton-misusing-Clarke at the original. Kool-aid, indeed.


WS, a careful reading of the Suskind passage is probative---bin Laden's apparent support for Bush was not strategic, but tactical: he wanted the US to whack his rival, Zarqawi.

And whack him, they did. But in my view the damage to al-Qaeda that bin Laden feared was done. Their scorched-earth tactics in Iraq may have finished al-Qaeda as the leader of the world Islamic revolution. Even the Sunni tribesmen are fighting them, if you followed the link previously provided.

5:58 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Actually, that's not at all what the passage says, Tom.

What it says is:

1. Someone asserted that OBL had helped out Bush by issuing the tape.

2. Several people at the table nodded in agreement.

3. One person said that *a* reason OBL might want Bush to keep doing what he was doing was because he gained status as against al Z when cast as Bush's main enemy.

There's no suggestion that OBL thought Bush would hit al Z harder--none at all.

So, actually, the passage is inconclusive as quoted, but tends to support my interpretation. Still, it's not as clear as I once thought.

Still, it's way closer to supporting my conclusion than it is to supporting yours, I'd say.

6:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think part of WS's point, TVD, is that although we can't know solidly that Osama favors the Repubs (thanks, in part, to that Holmes-Moriarty problem), and although speaking with certainty about this kind of thing is silly . . . For The Love Of Mike, there's certainly more evidence for him favoring the Repubs than the Dems!

If the claim that Osama favors the Repubs is a 5 on the 1-10 reliability scale, the claim that he favors the Dems needs to be a 1 . . . or a 0.

If you dismiss the first claim as silly (as well you should), you should be decrying as idiot monkey-children those who make the second claim.

Now consider that among those who hint at the second claim are folks like George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Don Rumsfeld.

This is the point. Not that the first claim is so strong, but that it's SO MUCH STRONGER than the second claim.

6:26 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Or bin Laden wanted the hardass Bushies to kill the poisonous Zarqawi, which they did.

But your point is WELL TAKEN, Myca. It could be that the surface interpretation is the correct one. But it's not the ONLY reasonable interpretation.

I expect to convince no one of anything hereabouts. That they are willing to take a second look at their position is plenty for me.

1:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not an issue of surface vs 'mysteriously deeper and more nuanced position that Osama secretly luuuuuuvs the Democrats.'

It's an issue of evidence and support for your arguments.

The evidence for the claim that Osama hoped for a Republican victory may be weak, but it's still much stronger than the evidence for the claims your party's leaders have made over and over and over.

If A is 'Osama wants the Republicans to win,' I'm not claiming A.

If B is 'Osama wants the Democrats to win,' I'm not claiming B.

What I'm claiming is that people who believe B based on the evidence available (none whatsoever) but reject A on the evidence available (some weak evidence) are either morons or liars.

Either way, they shouldn't be running a country.


2:16 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

I'm whole-heartedly with Myca on this one.

8:28 AM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

I'm not as certain as you. Zarqawi definitely could have figured in there. And if we go past Drum's excerpt of a few of Suskind's paragraphs, bin Laden's actual speech, according to the righty blogosphere, echoed many Democrat campaign arguments.

We don't know how bin Laden thinks, except he was against the Patriot Act. Who'd have guessed?

7:17 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

He's also against democracy, secular government, women who aren't covered with sheets, and the Enlightenment.


11:44 AM  

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