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Sunday, October 31, 2004

Osama Votes Bush for Halloween

Amazing to me that anyone could interpret Osama’s sudden appearance just days before the election as anything other than a twisted kind of endorsement for Bush.

Of course, Bush is likely to use it as proof that the world is a dangerous place and we need “steady leadership in times of change,” but let’s not forget that if Bush hadn’t outsourced the hunt for bin Laden to the local Afghani warlords instead of using the top US Special Forces units that were there and ready to go in to Tora Bora to capture Osama, we might not be seeing this video three years later to begin with.

But then again, maybe that’s why Karl Rove has publicly said that the one mention that Bush made of the videotape October 30 will be the only time he mentions it during the rest of the campaign. Who knows.

But unlike the moronic “OSAMA VOTES KERRY” stickers and stenciled graffiti I see here and there, based in a fear-mongering Republican marketing idea that Kerry would allow the country to be attacked before doing anything to prevent terror, this “endorsement” is basically a flip-flop of the Republicans’ scare tactics.

Osama is smart. That’s a given. History shows that Americans tend to vote conservatively when they’re scared. It’s well known by anyone who has the most cursory understanding of American politics. Bush has been using it for three years, and now Osama is using it, too, and both for the same reason: to get Bush reelected.

His message was twofold:

One, I believe he actually is speaking sincerely. He is talking to the American people with a clear summary about why Al Qaeda attacked America. America’s policy in the Middle East is to interfere and intervene on behalf of our access to oil. In all the oil-producing countries with which we have a relationship in the Middle East, we have supported oppressive regimes that promise “stability” and therefore access to oil, at the expense of the civil rights of their peoples.

It’s well known and documented that Osama’s beef is with the Saudi Arabian monarchy and the American support for it’s repressive regime. Not that Osama wants democracy, but he wants their religious and military oppression to end.

I personally believe that while there is truth in his representation of Israel vs. Palestine as a reason for his attacks, it’s primarily a convenient metaphor and means of getting support for his agenda from the Arab “street.”

Two, I believe he well knows that a “warning” from him will scare the bejesus out of the American electorate, especially those who are undecided.

And while I’m sure his preference is that voters will take him at his word and pressure the government to stop supporting regimes like the Saudi Royals’ (“Your security is not in the hands of (Democratic presidential candidate John) Kerry or Bush or al Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands and each state which does not harm our security will remain safe”) I’m sure he also knows his adversary well enough to know that Americans will most likely interpret that as a threat and hide behind Bush’s skirt.

So why would Osama want Bush? Simple. Bush is the best thing that ever happened to Al Qaeda.

Cleverly disguised as Al Qaeda’s enemy, the Bush administration has created a membership drive for bin Laden that no amount of bully-pulpiting could have ever gotten him. Bush is the poster boy for the recruitment posters outside each metaphorical Al Qaeda recruitment center. Only in this case, it’s not “exotic lands and military benefits while defending America he’s selling,” but the “Great Satan’s War On Islam and the Arab People.” And given the common-sense evidence of tens of thousands of dead Muslims at the hands of American troops and weapons, his work is already done. (Aside: No, it’s not Al-Jazeera’s fault that there are so many dead Muslims to show on Al-Jazeera. Al-Jazeera wouldn’t show them if they didn’t exist, now would they?)

So short of Americans doing what he wants (getting US foreign policy to change), Osama’s going to create whatever he has to do to get there. And one of the most effective tools is the Jihad, something that the CIA used to train Afghanis back in the 80s to undermine Russia’s occupation. Can anyone say “blowback?” I knew you could.

Bush’s arrogant presence, his polarizing policies, his Christian crusade (he even said “Crusade to describe the war in Afghanistan, remember?), is perfect fodder to create a Holy War between Muslims and Americans/American Christians. And through that, Osama hopes to get what he wants in the first place. The US to stop supporting the Saudi regime.

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