The effects of reading from the wrong script

THE EFFECTS OF READING FROM THE WRONG SCRIPT…. After the failed Christmas terrorist plot, Republicans and conservative detractors of the administration worked quickly to characterize the unsuccessful attack as a “success” — a word both Brit Hume and Bill Kristol used soon after the decidedly unsuccessful incident. The point, of course, was to try to further undermine the administration.

Adam Serwer noted this morning that the rhetoric has, not surprisingly, bolstered terrorist propaganda.

Alleged underwear bomber Umar Abdulmutallab didn’t hurt anyone but himself, and he was quickly subdued by unarmed civilian passengers. But the Republican reaction — hyping the failed bombing as a victory — was so successful that Osama bin Laden claimed the failed operation in a recent videotaped message.

Marc Lynch added:

Osama bin Laden has released a new tape to al-Jazeera claiming responsibility for the attempted Christmas Day bombing, linking it to Gaza and declaring that America would not be secure until Palestinians were truly secure. Bin Laden’s ability to frame an entire tape around a failed bombing attempt demonstrates how badly the American public’s over-reaction played into al-Qaeda’s hands. It should not be surprising that bin Laden would claim responsibility on behalf of al-Qaeda Central or threaten new attacks, whether or not it’s actually true. [emphasis added]

The point isn’t to characterize the Cheneys and other GOP attack dogs as terrorist sympathizers; it’s to note that, in their zeal to weaken Obama’s presidency, they’re inadvertently giving U.S. enemies exactly what they’re looking for.

As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jay Bookman recently explained, “Cheney, Kristol and a lot of top Republicans in Washington are acting as unpaid PR agents for al Qaida, trying to turn even its failures into successes.”

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation