THE ZAWAHIRI VIDEO….The latest from Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s #2 (assuming Osama bin Laden is still alive, of course):
Al-Zawahri, shown seated before a bookshelf in a white robe and turban, addresses legislation pushed by Democratic leaders, and vetoed by Bush, that would have required the first U.S. troops in Iraq to be withdrawn by Oct. 1 with a goal of a complete pullout six months later.
“This bill will deprive us of the opportunity to destroy the American forces which we have caught in a historic trap,” al-Zawahri said, according to a transcript released by the monitoring group SITE. The bill is evidence of American “failure and frustration,” he added.
“We ask Allah that they (U.S. troops) only get out of it after losing 200,000 to 300,000 killed, in order that we give the spillers of blood in Washington and Europe an unforgettable lesson,” he said.
Does he really mean this? Who knows. It’s propaganda, not a Brookings white paper. And in any case, if we left Iraq he’d claim that as a great victory too. In fact, I daresay that no matter what we do, Zawahiri will claim a great victory. Bottom line: His statement should be read more for what it says about his intended message to domestic audiences than for any insight into his real beliefs about the war. Ditto for whatever he says when we eventually withdraw.