al Qaeda pipes up again

AL QAEDA PIPES UP AGAIN…. I guess one of these was bound to come out this week.

An al Qaeda leader has called for President George W. Bush and the Republicans to be “humiliated,” without endorsing any party in the upcoming U.S. presidential election, according to a video posted on the Internet.

“O God, humiliate Bush and his party, O Lord of the Worlds, degrade and defy him,” Abu Yahya al-Libi said at the end of sermon marking the Muslim feast of Eid al-Fitr, in a video posted on the Internet.

Libi, one of the top al Qaeda commanders believed to be living in Afghanistan or Pakistan, called for God’s wrath to be brought against Bush equating him with past tyrants in history.

This news, of course, comes just a week after al Qaeda supporters stated their support for a McCain victory on a password-protected website, citing McCain’s support for the Bush administration’s foreign policy. The al-Hesbah site, closely linked to the terrorist group, added that al Qaeda “will have to support McCain,” and hoped that a McCain foreign policy would “exhaust” American resources.

Now, to reiterate what I said last week, we’re talking about the rantings of homicidal lunatics, and it’s ultimately foolish to try to vote with terrorists’ motivations in mind. Neither the al-Hesbah message nor the Abu Yahya al-Libi video are what a reasonable person might describe as “sensible political analysis.”

But that, I’m afraid, doesn’t matter. The al-Libi video is now the top story on Drudge, and it will likely soon be the main topic of conversation on the far-right blogs and talk radio.

The response from Democrats is pretty obvious. Richard Clarke, Ron Suskind, and others have written extensively on the fact al Qaeda prefers Bush’s foreign policy — it helps with terrorist recruiting and fundraising, undermines America’s global stature, and costs us a fortune — so it stands to reason that the terrorist network would support McCain, since his foreign policy is largely indistinguishable. Indeed, as Clarke, the former counterterrorism coordinator for the National Security Council, explained earlier this month, al Qaeda wouldn’t want an Obama victory, in large part because the terrorist network wouldn’t want a U.S. president who enjoys popularity on the world stage.

Jonathan Stevenson, a professor of strategic studies at the U.S. Naval War College, told Spencer Ackerman, “Bin Laden surely would vote for McCain. Bush, whose foreign policy McCain pretty much supported, has been a recruiting sergeant for Al Qaeda and its kin.”

The smart move for conservatives is drawing attention away from this fact, not towards it. And yet, I suspect we’re about to hear a bunch of unhinged voices screaming, “See? Al Qaeda hates Republicans!”

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.