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Jewish World Review May 28, 2004 / 8 Sivan, 5764

Dick Morris

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Al Qaeda's presidential campaign


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | The election for president is a three-way race. No, its not Ralph Nader I'm talking about. It's al Qaeda.


The terrorists have always shown a proclivity for participation in the democratic process by distinctly undemocratic means. From the bomb that shattered the prospects of the favored and ruling pro-Aznar Party in Spain to the terrorist attacks on the West Bank and in Israel that doomed the Labor Party and inaugurated Benyamin Netan-yahu's party in Israel, the terrorists are well aware of the political implications of their mayhem on democratic elections. They follow the polls and time their interventions with a skill any American political consultant would envy.


Their capacity to disrupt elections in the United States was evident in the destruction of President Carter. Furious at the former president for sheltering the Shah of Iran, the Iranian militants seized American hostages and used their more than 400 days of captivity to make Carter appear even weaker and more vacillating that he was. Only when the Georgian was soundly defeated did they finally consent to the release of the hostages, ending the crisis along with the Carter presidency.


Now it is evident that the terrorists in Iraq are trying to do to Bush what their Shiite brethren did to Carter. By manipulating the pace and ferocity of their guerrilla war, they are moving the poll numbers in America more surely than the combined efforts of the Kerry campaign and his allies in the 527 community. If George Soros himself were orchestrating their timing, it could not have a more profound effect on the U.S. election campaign.


Since the Iraqi terrorist offensive started in earnest, Bush has lost 15 points in job approval and 10 points in the head-to-head vote share. And still counting.

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The history of intervention in American political campaigns on behalf of insurgents and against the incumbents who wage the war goes back to the Viet Cong's Tet offensive of 1968, which animated Eugene McCarthy's surge in the New Hampshire primary against President Johnson and impelled Robert F. Kennedy's entrance into the race. Two months after the offensive was soundly defeated by the U.S. military, Johnson was, nevertheless, forced to withdraw from the race for president.


It is clear that the Iraqi insurgents are playing American politics with their military actions. Sworn to get Bush, they are keeping their eyes clearly focused on U.S. polls and our political process as they kill, behead and destroy our forces and civilians in Iraq.


It is not the Governing Council in Baghdad that they wish to topple. It is the Bush administration in Washington. Their goal is not to assassinate the would-be rulers of Iraq. That is just a means to their end. Their objective is to defeat George W. Bush.


The president and his advisers are kidding themselves if they believe that a handover of power in Iraq will quell the ferocity of the enemy. Free elections in that bedraggled nation will likewise have no impact on their determination. It is the free elections and handover of power in the United States that catalyze their efforts more than anything else.


What this means for Bush is very simple: As long as he is president, Iraq will continue to boil over. There will be no shortage of suicide bombers waiting to take American lives at the cost of their own in the hopes that their action may strike back at the leader of the "Great Satan."


Bush's only way to frustrate their efforts is to deny them a target. He needs to get our troops — and therefore himself — out of harm's way. Decreasing the likelihood of American casualties in Iraq is not a means to the end of pacifying the nation. It is an action that, by itself, will remove much of the incentive for the violence. It is precisely to kill Americans and, through them, to destroy Bush that these attacks take place.


By limiting American intervention and deployment, to drive down the daily toll of casualties, Bush can achieve the one goal that will demonstrate, more clearly than anything else, American resolve — his own re-election. Nothing would be so clear an affirmation of American willingness to fight terror than his victory at the polls. He must not deny himself — and our nation a second term by giving the Iraqi insurgents targets at which to shoot.


If killing Americans will hurt Bush, Iraqis will continue to try to kill them. It is only by orchestrating our military presence in such a way as to minimize their opportunities to do so that Bush can deny them their ultimate triumph on the American election day.



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JWR contributor Dick Morris is the author of, most recently, "Rewriting History", a rebuttal of Sen. Hillary Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) memoir, Living History. (ClickHERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) Comment by clicking here.

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