Has it occurred to anyone else that Al Queda may have an election strategy for the USA? Maybe a string of mass-casualty suicide bombings, ŕ la Madrid, six weeks or so before the presidential election?
What would be the likely political impact on the electorate? Rally behind Bush & Co.? I don’t think so, really. Here’s what I think might happen:
1. Public shock.
2. 24/7 media replays of the carnage for weeks on end. There’s a symbiotic relationship between terrorists and the media; they depend on each other to a degree. In this case, the NYT, WaPo, LAT, CNN, etc, would view it as a political godsend, in addition to its being a ‘good’ news story. Sad – even pathetic – to say, but true. Traitors.
3. Interviews with victims’ families, friends, former school teachers, co-workers, witnesses, clergy, etc. on network TV.
4. Questions will be raised about continued failures at the intelligence agencies and the Department of Homeland Security.
5. Questions will be raised about the ‘relationship’ between a rise in US terrorism and the war in Iraq.
6. John Kerry will ask, “Are you safer today than you were four years ago?”
7. France, Germany, et al will say in somber tones – crocodile tears streaming down their faces into their cabernet sauvignons and lagers – “See! We told you so!”
8. Our Middle-Eastern allies will tell us it’s our own fault. Graphic posters of the event will go on sale within days throughout the PA territory and in bazaars in Pakistan. President (for life) Mubarak of Egypt will recite platitudes about US “failures” to resolve the Israeli/Pali conflict and our imperialist imposition of foreign ideas on the traditional Arab societies. He will explain this to us as our ‘friend’. Nothing like being lectured on political morality by the dictator of a failed state. He will do it for our own good, you see.
9. Al Queda will issue a truce offer to the US: Withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan and the martyrs will no longer strike at the US.
10. Ted Kennedy will demand we accept.
It could be enough to throw the election. Especially if there’s a simultaneous uptick in suicide bombings in Iraq. We know how AQ likes simultaneity. A coordinated campaign like that might just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. From AQ’s point of view, it’s the smart move. A strategic move. Personally, I’ll be watching for it. And waiting for it.