ROMNEY’S WAR….Since I was picking on Mitt Romney over stylistic issues last night, I’ll pick on him over substantive issues this morning. I didn’t see this part of the debate, but Spencer Ackerman notes Romney’s answer to a question about how important it is to capture Osama bin Laden:
I don’t want to buy into the Democratic pitch, that this is all about one person, Osama bin Laden. Because after we get him, there’s going to be another and another. This is about Shi’a and Sunni. This is about Hezbollah and Hamas and al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. This is the worldwide jihadist effort to try and cause the collapse of all moderate Islamic governments and replace them with a caliphate.
Unfortunately, almost nobody seems to really care about this stuff, but as Spencer points out, this is completely wrong and demonstrates that Romney doesn’t have a clue what we’re up against. Yes, there’s a violent jihadist movement, but it doesn’t include the Muslim Brotherhood, which is Islamist but not terrorist. It’s not about “Hezbollah and Hamas and al Qaeda,” which have completely different goals. Spencer:
Mitt Romney’s War: the total conflation of all Islamist movements. Not only is the Muslim Brotherhood not a jihadist organization, but its very lack of jihadiness is what spawned Ayman Zawahiri’s Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Suffice it to say that there is no caliphate on heaven or earth that will simultaneously satisfy Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, which goes a long way toward explaining why there is no concerted “worldwide jihadist effort” by these groups to establish one.
Unfortunately, like I said, nobody seems to care. Romney sounds like he’s being tough on the bad guys, and he managed to mention a whole bunch of Middle Eastern-ish stuff without mispronouncing any of it, which probably gets him points for being on the ball. But gibberish is gibberish, no matter how good your haircut is.