Of all the weird things that have come out this week on the political front, the one that really got to me was the endorsement of McCain by Al Quaeda. OK, I also thought the Ashley Todd thing was way over the top. Each in it's own way makes a statement about the republican party, as least in it's behavior with regards to this election.
The Al Quaeda endorsement however, makes a much bigger statement about the international perception of McCain's foreign policy, and therefore is something I've taken much more seriously than his campaign's blatant and misguided attempt to use the blatant and misguided hoax of Ashley Todd.
McCain's campaign tried to spin the Al Quaeda endorsement as a form of reverse psychology. In this scenario Al Queada really wanted Americans to elect the more wishy washy limp wristed Obama. A limp wristed Obama, who they could test and manipulate and use to terrorize the rest of the world, was far preferable to the known and tested John McCain. On the surface this would seem to have some merit, but if one looks deeper, it doesn't hold water.
American security analysts, including Richard Clarke, the former White House counter intelligence director, think Al Queada was not using reverse psychology, but in fact stating their preference. A continuance of the Bush doctrine on Islam is exceedingly helpful in Al Aquaeda's recruitment of naive young people who will let themselves be used as human bombs. The analysts cite the Bush machinations in Somalia as an example of how the Bush doctrine fuels Islamic hate.
Since I knew nothing about the Bush machinations in Somalia, I found what actually went on to be an eye opening read. Apparently Somalia was close to finally putting together a workable government composed of extremist and moderate Islamic forces. Bush and company were terrified that a workable Islamic government in Somalia would not cooperate with the US on the terrorism front, and so they gave Ethiopia the green light to invade Somalia.
One result of this is that Somalia is now a bigger humanitarian mess than Darfur or the Congo. Another result is that anti American sentiments are through the roof, and the Islamic population is far more militant than before the Ethiopian invasion. The Bush administration actually brought about the very thing they were trying to avoid, increasing the number of Islamic terrorists in Somalia.
McCain has said nothing that would lead me to believe he would have taken any other decision in Somalia. Our irrational responses to rational fear is exactly what fuels Al Aquaeda recruiting amongst the disenfranchised Islamic youth. I'm sure the last thing Al Quaeda really wants is an Obama presidency, because Obama would represent an unknown to Al Quaeda while putting a completely different face on the American Government.
It's probably why Bush's own counter terrorism experts are refuting McCain's take about this Al Quaeda endorsement. We need to rethink our foreign policy with regards to Islamic terrorism and the Islamic world because all we are doing now is creating more of that which we fear.
Maybe it's time we were as wise as serpents, and as gentle as doves. This isn't the same as being wishy washy and limp wristed no matter how the McCain camp wishes to spin it.
Maybe this is also the time to trust intelligent patriotic experts like Richard Clarke, and quit pandering to the emotional fears of Joe the Plumber and Joe Six Pack--no matter how the Hockey Mom sees it from her porch.
Maybe it's time we voted with our heads and not from our fears....