One basic question emerging from the midterm election is: to what extent did the terrorists win? We will have a lot to say about this over the days to come, but here are a few preliminary thoughts.
I don’t think there is any doubt about the fact that the terrorists, world-wide, were hoping for a Democratic victory. See, for example, this article by Aaron Klein. And the spike in violence in Iraq prior to the election was generally understood as an effort by the terrorists to help Democratic candidates.
Al Qaeda’a happiness at the election results was confirmed by Abu Ayyub al-Masri, leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, in an audio tape released earlier today. If any readers have seen a complete translation, please let us know; so far, I’ve only seen a few quotes in news accounts. But those brief excerpts are revealing:
The terror group also welcomed the U.S. Republican electoral defeat that led to the departure of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and vowed to continue its fight until the White House is blown up.
In the tape, al-Muhajir praised the outcome of Tuesday’s elections in which Democrats swept to power in the House and the Senate, in large part due to U.S. voter dissatisfaction over the handling of the war in Iraq.
“The American people have put their feet on the right path by … realizing their president’s betrayal in supporting Israel,” the terror leader said. “So they voted for something reasonable in the last elections.” He did not explain his logic.
Actually, I don’t think his logic requires much explanation.
Do the Democrats feel at all sheepish at having their victory hailed by al Qaeda? Do they feel any pressure to demonstrate to the American people that they are not a de facto ally of the terrorists? Not as far as we’ve noticed so far. But when the Democrats stop celebrating, they may want to pause long enough to consider a simple question: Why are the terrorists so happy that they won?
UPDATE: The Iranian mullahs chime in:
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday called U.S. President George W. Bush’s defeat in congressional elections a victory for Iran.
Via Power Line News.
A consensus seems to be developing here.
MORE: Check out this Power Line Forum thread, and contribute your thoughts on why the Democrats are the terrorists’ favorite party, and why they–so far, anyway–don’t seem to mind.
STILL MORE: The PL Forum thread is heating up. Check it out here, and add your contribution. Note that the thread is a couple of pages long now; you have to click at the bottom to go to the next page.
THEN THERE’S THIS: Strategy Page has a closely related analysis; read it all:
[T]he media strategy employed by al Qaeda has succeeded. Having failed to disrupt three elections in Iraq, al Qaeda and other terrorist groups fought to hang in there, and shifted their aim to American newsrooms. It was a logical choice.
In this case, al Qaeda exploited what was already an inherent opposition to the war. Some mainstream media outlets had opposed the war from the start. The failure to immediately find weapons of mass destruction added to the media’s growing doubts. As long as al Qaeda detonated IEDs in Iraq and Afghanistan, they could increase the perception of a quagmire. By getting the media to focus on the IED-of-the-day, al Qaeda was able to bury the good news (like the training of the Iraqi Army and reconstruction efforts), and was able to weather the loss of senior leaders like Abu Musab al Zarqawi.
The other factor going for them was the fact that members of the mainstream media generally were not sympathetic to the U.S. government. In the last year, media outlets revealed several intelligence programs