Friday, October 29, 2004

"The Streets Will Run With Blood"

Today's al Qaeda video (which warned America that its "streets will run with blood") played only in part on ABC news after The Drudge Report broke the story of its existence. The tape reportedly warns of retribution should America reelect President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Ace of Spades notes that the only newsworthy part of the tape is the (at least implicit) endorsement of John Kerry by al Qaeda. Without the embargoed threat of retaliation for America's reelecting Bush and Cheney, the video, showing the rantings of a jihadist who claims to be an American citizen, would have no news value at all. Yet, Ace of Spades notes, ABC was careful to leave out that endorsement and instead chose to highlight the portions that show terrorists to be "angry at Bush and Cheney personally, rather than America, the West, and modernity generally." The political implication of the tape, that terrorists prefer Kerry to Bush, is a message that the network news regards as too explosive to air in the week before the election without further corroboration of the tape's authenticity. (One could only wish that they had a similar reluctance to corroborate stories that might give Democrats a last-minute edge.) Yet, is it not because this story obviously makes a case for reelecting President Bush that network sources admit that they are "struggling to find a correct journalistic 'balance'"?

In fact, the videotape leaves little doubt how we should answer the question I asked last week in this space: Which candidate do you believe the terrorists would most like to see win, two weeks from today? I asked that question to make the case for reelecting George W. Bush. The argument was this: the war on terror is by far the most important basis upon which to base one's vote; the terrorists would prefer to see Bush lose; our conflict with terrorists is approximately zero-sum (i.e., we share no important interests in common), and consequently, that we should prefer to see Bush win.

The interests of the West and the interests of the jihadists are in direct opposition. We prefer the survival of our civilization to its extinction, and they prefer their own death to settling for less than our extinction. The lesson of the al Qaeda video is not that jihadists hate us because Bush is President, but that they hate Bush because he is dedicated to killing the jihadists before they kill us.

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|| headland, 12:46 AM

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