Monday, November 01, 2004

More on Bin Laden diatribe

Posted by Craig Westover | 11:18 AM |  

Both Shot in the Darkand Power Line post comments on this Middle East Media Research Institute report on Osama bin Laden's videotape. Shot in the Dark includes reference to this New York Post article.

The gist of the comments is a significant part of Bin Laden’s threat against the U. S. has not been accurately translated. From the NY Post

MEMRI said radical Islamist commentators monitored over the Internet this past weekend also interpreted the key passage of bin Laden's diatribe to mean that any U.S. state that votes to elect Bush on Tuesday will be considered an "enemy" and any state that votes for Kerry has "chosen to make peace with us."

The statement in question is when bin Laden said on the tape: "Your security is up to you, and any state that does not toy with our security automatically guarantees its own security."

That sentence followed a lengthy passage in the video in which bin Laden launches personal attacks on the president.

Yigal Carmon, president of MEMRI, said bin Laden used the Arabic term "ay-wilaya" to refer to a "state" in that sentence.

That term "specifically refers to an American state, like Tennessee," Carmon said, adding that if bin Laden were referring to a "country" he would have used the Arabic word "dawla."
The Post, Shot in the Dark, and Power Line all conclude that the video is an attempt by Bin Laden to influence the election in favor of Sen. Kerry. Shot in the Dark challenges --

“Tell me again how saying “Bin Laden wants Kerry to win” is wrong?”

It’s wrong because Bin Laden is not dumb. Who wins the U.S. election will no doubt alter his tactics, but it will have little impact on his strategy, which is keep the U.S. divided against itself.

There was a lot of speculation that there’d be a terrorist attack before the election, which hasn’t occurred with a day to go. We, and I number myself among the “we,” have credited the President’s policies, which I still believe are the best available course. But think about it. What would have a more powerful effect if you were Bin Laden. An attack before the election or after?

An attack on U.S. soil after the election creates instant buyer’s remorse on the electorate and deepens the divide of the American people. If Bush wins, an attack “proves” his policies have failed to keep us safe. If Kerry wins, an attack “proves” the terrorist have been emboldened by Kerry’s weakness. In either case, an attack virtually ensures four more years of division and partisanship. Even for a new President Kerry, there’d be no unifying spirit that Bush experienced.

And that’s precisely what Bin Laden is after. We underestimate our enemy and play into his hands when his words lead us to attack each other rather than focus on just how smart and sinister he is.

UPDATE: King Banaian at SCSU Scholars applies game theory to the notion that a post election terrorist attack, at least in theory, makes sense. I’m not “moving my office,” but I pray both King and I are wrong.