Bush Wrong for America, Right for al Qaeda?
“One clear sign of weakness and failed leadership is when a politician stoops to
the politics of fear. In the last twenty-four hours Dennis Hastert, the Speaker
of the House, has joined the fear mongering choir. Last night, he said something
to the effect that Al Qaeda wants John Kerry to be President of the United
States. Let me say this in the simplest possible terms: when John Kerry is
President of the United States, we will find Al Qaeda where they are and crush
them before they can do damage to the American people."
It would not be in good taste for Edwards or Kerry to bring this up, as we don't stoop to their level, but if al Qaeda has any preferences, Bush is their man. Bush gave Bin Laden exactly what he wanted in his response to 9/11.
Bush gave Bin Laden plenty of time to get out of Afganistan, or go into hiding, before attacking. Bush never gave the amount of attention to capturing Bin Laden as he did to Saddam. Bush left Afganistan before the job was done. Attacking Iraq (which would be like FDR attacking Brazil after Peal Harbor) help al Qaeda to both increase their own influence in Iraq, and improved their recuritment throughout the Arab World. Bush's statements about al Qaeda having influence in Iraq were false before the war, but are certainly true today, thanks to his own actions.
While Cheney is correct that al Qaeda doesn't care about our "sensitive side" (to repeat his misquotation of Kerry), we do need to remain sensitive to how the people feel in moderate Arab countries. Due to the invasion of Iraq we are now losing the battle for hearts and minds in potential allies in the Arab world such as Egypt, Morocco, and Jordan.
While Bush's actions have benefited Bin Laden, I still don't believe it is fair to assume that Bin Laden is backing Bush for reelection. Journalists who have covered bin Laden's statements report that he hates all of America equally and does not differentiate between political parties. That is probalby the most realistic view.