He’s baaaaaaack! And what a nuisance he is. Osama bin Laden appeared out of the ethereal reaches of his less than cave-like digs last week to opine on how Americans could avoid another attack at his behest, and which candidate he thought would make a less-threatening president–for him and his terrorist legions, that is.
Was he crazy to do so? More likely, he’s crazy like a fox is crazy. With an appearance timed as deftly as a Terry McAuliffe “gotcha” ad for the Democrats, bin Laden wins no matter who wins on Tuesday.
In appearing as he did, bin Laden worked on the assumption that American voters can be intimidated. And that is why the American people must send him a resounding message in return: We will come after you no matter where you hide, no matter how long it takes, and no matter what it costs. There will be no change in the policy of the United States when it comes to defeating Islamist terrorism.
A Kerry victory would only return Clinton-era retreads, officials who first fueled bin Laden’s rise to a hydra-like monster: Susan Rice, Sandy Berger, Richard Holbrooke–all softer on terrorism now than before, all devoid of new ideas on how to confront the mutating terrorist threat, and all genetically incapable of understanding why the terrorists hate us so much. A Kerry administration would serve bin Laden well because it would give him the much-needed time and reprieve to regroup and reconstitute his jihadists, who increasingly show signs of internal chaos and confusion.
A Kerry victory would also give power to the growing idea among jihadists that democracies and their constituent voters can be intimidated. No commuter-train bombings were required, the arch-terrorist would argue to his cadre of supporters; a mere appearance was enough to scare the American voter into changing governments. And then he would stake his claim on a messianic cult-like vision that he has been sent by his God to rule the earth and bring the likes of George W. Bush to account for their misdeeds against Muslims everywhere.
If George W. Bush wins, the policy of preemption will continue, giving bin Laden the fuel of anger, hatred, and division throughout the world and allowing him to continue recruiting unabated, even if his new recruits don’t know what they are doing and can’t pull off a 9/11-style attack. Martyrdom is blind to experience, and bin Laden’s marketing slogans are all wrapped in martyrdom.
By the sound and look of his video, bin Laden is counting on a Bush victory, and hoping it doesn’t come to pass. Kerry would change the political equation rather dramatically with the two states, Iran and Pakistan, where bin Laden is believed to have, or recently have had, sanctuary. Pakistan would be ratcheted down several levels as an important U.S. ally, and therefore allow bin Laden’s thriving Pakistani-based enterprise freer movements and planning/staging grounds. Iran would be coddled once again in an attempt to persuade the Mullahcracy to make nice and stop enriching uranium or extracting plutonium while al Qaeda’s dirty bombers refine their craft for the next attack.
Al Qaeda does not have the capacity to strike out at the United States on our soil with the precision and uniformity of a September 11 attack–a function largely of the Bush administration’s strategy to hotly pursue terrorists where no other nation will go. The vicious attacks on children at Beslan and the mendacity of Abu Musab Zarqawi’s Iraqi terrorists to kidnap even the most benign well-wishers of Iraq’s future are proof enough that soft targets are all they have left in their arsenal to terrorize.
And so, it is time for the American people to send the terrorist a strong message on Election Day: We will never be intimidated by him, and to even try to intimidate us is to give us all the more reason to pursue the strategy that is working in tearing down al Qaeda’s increasingly decrepit terrorist franchise.
Bin Laden’s global vision of jihadists crawling from the cracks in every enemy state to strike out at infidels with weapons of mass destruction is drowning among senior jihadist ranks in a swamp of confusion and chaos about whom to attack next, how to do it, and for whose benefit. In short, global jihad has turned on itself and is being destroyed from within, one botched and wretched attack at a time.
Thank George W. Bush for that. Iraq may be a mess, and one that he will have to clean up in Redux II, but the chaos among Muslim mercenaries must be increased to the point where Islamist terror evaporates in the heat of their internal confusion and dissension. Islam’s civil war is not of America’s doing, but America has no choice as the leader of the civilized world to engage Muslims everywhere and raise them up so they don’t one day become so desperate to tear us down.
We are locked in a confrontation of good vs. evil that is at the very heart of mankind’s concept of justice and morality. John Kerry and George Bush are moral men who clearly have the best interests of their nation in their hearts. But one of them, John Kerry, does not understand the evil that drives our enemy, or that our enemy is cleverer and more patient than all of America put together.
George Bush understands this simple equation, and its impact on America’s future. Most of all, he understands that if we don’t get the jihadists now, we may never be able to. The choice is clear.
–Mansoor Ijaz negotiated Sudan’s offer to share intelligence data on Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda to the Clinton administration in April 1997 and jointly authored the cease-fire plan for Kashmir in 2000. He is chairman of Crescent Investment Management in New York.